August 5 – 11: “Which are your favorite social media outlets and how often do you get to them?”

This week ITW members Amy Gail Hansen and J. H. Bográn discuss social media, “Which are your favorite social media outlets and how often do you get to them?”


butterflysister PB CBorn in the Chicago suburbs, Amy Gail Hansen spent her early childhood near New Orleans. She holds a BA in English from Carthage College in Kenosha, Wisconsin. A former English teacher, she works as a freelance writer and journalist in suburban Chicago, where she lives with her husband and three children. THE BUTTERFLY SISTER is her debut novel.

firefallJ. H. Bográn was born and raised in Honduras. Although he’s the son of a journalist, he ironically prefers to write fiction rather than fact. His debut novel TREASURE HUNT, which The Celebrity Café hails as an intriguing novel that provides interesting insight of architecture and the life of a fictional thief. FIREFALL, his second novel, is scheduled for release in September/2013 by Rebel ePublishers. He’s a member of the International Thriller Writers where he also serves as the Thriller Roundtable Coordinator and contributing editor for their official e-zine The Big Thrill. He lives in Honduras with his wife and three sons.

  1. Facebook and Twitter are my two mainstays as far as social media outlets are concerned.

    I already had a personal Facebook profile when my debut novel, The Butterfly Sister, sold to William Morrow/HarperCollins, so it was fairly easy for me to create an Author Page because I was familiar with the site and how it worked. My Twitter account, on the other hand, came more slowly. While designing the book cover, my publishers asked if I had a Twitter account to list on the back, and I created one because I didn’t want to pass up an opportunity to connect with readers, although I had no idea how to use Twitter at the time.

    For many months, I used Facebook as my sole outlet for interacting with fans and other authors. I tried to post something interesting every day, including posts about my book, but also interesting tidbits about books and writing. For example, I posted a picture of the books on my nightstand and asked “What’s on your nightstand?” Of course, the most humorous responses were made by Kindle owners who said they had 1,000 books at their fingertips. I guess I am old school when it comes to stacking actual books next to my bed. Also visible on my Facebook page are my book signing events, a Buy the Book tab, and a Read an Excerpt tab. I’ve quickly learned that shorter posts including photos or videos seem to get the most likes from my fans. I also try to like and respond to any comments made by my fans on a regular and timely basis. I want my fans to know I value their comments.

    Conversely, Twitter is still new to me, but I am slowly catching on. I try to Tweet every day but it ends up being more like every other day. However, I will be tweeting more often now that I have a “cool” phone—a phone that is more than just a phone—and I can tweet on the spot instead of tweeting from my home computer.

    So far, I find that Facebook connects me more with fans, and Twitter connects me more with other writers or people in the publishing industry. For this reason, it’s been great to have both social media outlets at my disposal, as I build my fan base and my professional contacts as a debut author.

  2. Amy, my journey through the social media echoes yours to some extent.

    Although I began a bit earlier with a then-new site titled MySpace (Remember that one? I hear it is making a comeback, but I’ve yet to check it out. Now that I think of it, I may need to reset my password.)

    So, for being the first one, I guess My Space will always have a soft spot in my heart. I used to connect and make blog entries, and the comments I got there were memorable.
    I opened Facebook in 2010, along with half the planet I recon, and connected with lots and lots of author, and some readers. I post there every day, a comment, a picture it, or I share some other’s stuff that’s appealing.

    I’m also new to Twitter, even when the account is not. It took me longer that I’m willing to admit publicly to figure out how to use it to connect to readers. Then I discovered twitter chats and fell in love with them. I’ve been a guest of #LitChat and #ScifiChat, and the results were a boost on my followers, last time I even got cornered into a challenge to write a short story.

    Of course I don’t live under a rock and I know I’m missing lots and lots of fun from the other social media sites like Instagram, Pinterest, et al. But the hard reality for me is that I get easily addicted to social media sites. Last year my total word output to my new novel reached an all-time low. When I asked myself why, the reason became so apparent that I’m on the verge of founding a local branch of Facebook Anonymous.

    Last May during the Backspace Conference, wonderful person and author Jonathan Maberry gave out a tip that I’m printing, framing and hanging near my desk: “I only spend 10 minutes of every hour on Facebook.” A simple rule, yes, but one that could help me discipline my addiction.

    By the way, Amy, what’s your twitter? Mine is @JHBogran.

    Oh, and here’s my Facebook profile and author page:


  3. JH, that’s a great tip about Twitter chats. I am not familiar with them but I will definitely check them out as a way to boost followers. And I know what you mean about spending too much time on FB and Twitter in lieu of writing. Writing book two has practically come to a halt as I have been on social media and e-mail promoting my book release (which was today!) and my subsequent signings. It’s a good thing I got that “cool” phone, so I am can get some of those tweets and posts done on the go, and leave the quieter moments at home for writing.
    My Twitter is @Amy Gail Hansen
    I love that quote about spending only 10 minutes of an hour on social media. I was thinking of doing it three times a day–Breakfast, lunch and dinner. And then “turning off” at night, But here I am nearing midnight writing this response!
    What about other authors out there reading this roundtable discussion…How do you balance the promotion/marketing/networking aspects of the job with the writing?

  4. Last night, I had my first book signing for The Butterfly Sister with a great turnout for a debut author–about 40 people. The bookstore asked how I was able to get the word out to family and friends, and I told her FACEBOOK. Most of the people who came had already RSVP’d on my Facebook Event Page. Using Facebook, I was able to look at where my “friends” lived and invite them to the signing closest to that location. It has proved to be a huge promotional tool for my events.

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