Using MySpace as an Author Promotional Tool

by Rick Reed - Date: 2006-12-27 - Word Count: 958 Share This!

Authors are getting on the bandwagon musicians and filmmakers have already discovered to promote their work: the phenomenon that is MySpace. MySpace is rapidly becoming one of the most popular sites on the web (with a reported billion page views per day) and authors have unlimited potential for connecting with readers on a very interactive level. Personally, since starting my MySpace page, I have found many new readers for my work, which have translated into sales I wouldn't otherwise have. I've also found MySpace to be a great tool for networking with magazine and book publishers, film production companies, and editors. As a result of MySpace, I have been interviewed and asked to write for other writers' websites.

Getting started on MySpace is easy…and free. All you need to do to begin is set up a page for yourself. MySpace provides forms for you to fill out which allow you to describe yourself and your work, who you're looking to meet, and to catalog favorite books, movies, and music (a great way to find connections with other like-minded individuals). The MySpace page that results is less than glamorous but there are free sites galore in cyberspace that will allow you to change the entire look of your page with the simple copying and pasting of some HTML code.

And that's another great thing about MySpace. All of the subject areas accept HTML code, so you can customize not only your page with book covers and links for where to purchase (for example, I have the covers for all my current books in print on my page; clicking on each one takes you to their Amazon page), you can also use HTML code to create comments that you can leave on other's pages. These comments can also include books covers and links to sites like Amazon or your own website. Plus, leaving comments is a great way to lead others to your space.

Once you have your page set up, it's time to begin finding an audience. Establishing a MySpace page is kind of like creating a website, you need to promote it to get noticed. MySpace makes that easy through "add a friend." But how do you start adding friends and building a targeted audience for your work? The first thing you need to ask yourself is: who is the audience for my work? For me, the answer was people who enjoy reading horror (so I always check on a potential friend's page the section on books…if they list Stephen King or some other horror writer, I send a friend request; if they ask what books are, I move on). But going through individual profiles takes a lot of time. To speed up the process, access the groups feature of MySpace. I found many groups for fans of horror (both movies and books). I can go through their membership, click on members, and send friend requests, thus building up an audience of targeted readers. I've also found the browse feature useful for targeting people in specific geographical regions, such as my current home town and other places I've lived. You can do searches on your high school or college to yield friends who you attended school with…these people may very well have an interest in your writing. Once you begin adding friends who have an interest in your genre or books, your profile and comments may appear on their MySpace pages, allowing others to see you and what you're about. Once you begin adding friends to your base, you will begin getting requests yourself. It's kind of like a viral thing: once you have made many friends, it's easy to get more…they start coming to you.

But once you build an audience, you have to keep them coming back to your page, so you can clue them on new releases and the like. You do this through blogs and bulletins. Bulletins (which also allow HTML and flash codes) appear on each and every one of your friend's pages. Lots of people use this feature, so your bulletin will be buried relatively quickly. I've found blogs to be a very effective way to keep people coming back to my MySpace page. In my blogs, I can do things like show a new cover design for an upcoming book, announce when I have a free story up on my website, or release of anthology that features my work. One very effective thing I've found with blogs is the quick and easy ability to invite subscribers (once someone subscribes to your blog, MySpace will send them a notification e-mail when you post new content). To invite someone, just click on the link on their blog page that says, "Invite to my blog." MySpace does the rest. You'll be surprised how quickly you can build up a subscriber base.

One word of caution, though: the tag line for MySpace is "a place for friends." Keep that in mind as you write messages, leave comments and bulletins, and post blogs. If all you do is talk about yourself and give people a hard sell for your work, you're going to turn them off.

Which leads me to my final, and most important, point about promoting your writing on MySpace: don't promote too hard. Be a friend. Answer messages quickly and as a friend. Take an interest in other people's lives, even beyond their reading taste or interest in you as an author. When you post a blog, make sure it's not always about your work…use the time in the spotlight to show how well you can write and talk about a topic people can relate to. By showing that you're there for more than beating the promotional drum, you'll actually have more people take an interest in your work.

Rick R. Reed is the author of the horror novels Obsessed, Penance, A Face Without a Heart and the short story collection, Twisted: Tales of Obsession and Terror. In 2007, IM, In the Blood, and Deadly Vision: Book One of the Cassandra Chronicles will be published. Read sample chapters and find out more about Rick at

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