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Members of Texas Authors, Inc., are welcome to post on our blog for other fellow members, or for the general public.

Each blog post will be approved by the website administrator and must not contain promotion of ones book. This is meant as an educational posting program.

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By Stephanie Barko

Originally Posted on San Francisco Book Review March 3, 2016

After setting up a social suite, many writers and new authors stare at their shiny new profiles wondering what to do with them. Although it’s perfectly fine to jump in and get your digital feet wet at this point, it doesn’t hurt to have a social strategy either. Thinking about your own social strategy right now, how would you characterize it?

•Do you bounce around socially?

•Are you so concerned about security that you are super careful about who you connect to? •Are you promiscuous on one social profile and reserved on another?

Regardless of your current social behavior, let’s take a look at what it might be like with more structure. As you skim through these ideas, think about how adopting a unique social strategy might help your readers to find you.

On Facebook, you can deliberately follow a business, organization, brand, product, public figure or cause. Let’s say you choose to follow a product. A user of that product may have a following that could include the readers you’re after.

Example: A nonfiction author who writes about how to run a better nonprofit Likes an organization on Facebook. The organization learns about the author’s book on nonprofit management through her Like and buys it.

LinkedIn is a great place to stick to a specific strategy. Be more selective here than you are on any other profile. Try connecting with folks who could help you run your business or become your customer.

Being discriminatory on LinkedIn makes it easier for you to search for both business partners and readers.

Example: A sci-fi author only connects to book reviewers on LinkedIn who accept sci-fi. When he reaches out to reviewers he is connected to on LinkedIn, they all take his subgenre and so are more likely to accept his book for review consideration.

While the temptation on Twitter is to connect to profiles with big followings, you really want to follow profiles with big followings that are likely to follow you back.

Example: You want to start showing up on podcasters’ radar and decide to connect with some on Twitter as an icebreaker. You like two podcasts equally, but choose to follow @bizbookwriter on Twitter over @NPRFreshAir because the former follows back. Instead of following Fresh Air on Twitter, you sign up to receive its feed instead.

For extra respect on Twitter, remember to have more Followers than you are following.

Whoever you connect to on Google+ take advantage of the G+ feature that categorizes your followers. Customize your follower categories to include readers, prospective book buyers, publishing partners, book bloggers, family, and friends.

Example: An editor starts following your Google+ posts and you follow back, categorizing the editor as a publishing partner.

The coolest thing about Google+ is that everything you do here is indexed by Google. Watch what happens to your page rank when you become a Google+ regular.

In summary, when you’re choosing who to follow, don’t just choose people and pages you like. Choose who you Like by the following they make available to you.

A recent report published in the Publishers Weekly magazine, broke down the United States into eight regions regarding reading activity. Of all the regions, the South Central, which includes Texas, had only a 1% increase in printed books sales. While an increase is good, the sad part is that with the high number of people moving into this region, book sales should have increased at least as much, if not more, than the highest region reported. The Pacific coast, where many of our transplants are coming from, saw a 5% increase in sales.

This is a clear indication that events such as DEAR Texas and the Super Readers program is not only necessary, but should receive overwhelming support from Texas Authors, Texas Booksellers and Texas Libraries. Working together, these organizations and members could significantly turn around the book sales numbers of the South Central region, and help with inspiring more reading and purchasing of books. But, it doesn’t stop with a state wide weekend event.

It is clear that the legislature of Texas does not support Texas Authors, nor the educational systems as it should. They have shown this with funding cuts and legal battles which force school districts to spend money on lawyers and not on students. The end result is that Texas authors, booksellers and libraries must pick up the pieces of a failed education system. This additional pressure and the high expenses can only be met in one way. Team Work!

The library systems need to support their regional and state authors, as does each type of bookseller who does business in Texas. By supporting them, the increased share in market sales leads to a stronger economic impact in sales tax and other financial benefits, which in turn, improves the education system.

Supporting local authors does not mean that booksellers or libraries stop purchasing well known books. It simply means they are willing to open their facilities so that local authors have more opportunities to do speaking engagements as well as display and promote local author’s books, which in turns equates to more sales.

At the same time, it is up to the author to learn how to better market their books and work with organizations which support and help them get their books into various locations. All sides are in fact responsible to the other, no one side can be expected to do all the work. Team Work!

Based on our un-official survey of Texas authors, we saw a decrease in marketing expenses by 17% from 2014 to 2015. This decrease was partially due to the high cost of attending book festival events and the decrease in profits by 7%, thus forcing authors to restrict what events they attend. This, in turn, hurts communities across Texas both in financial impact and lack of new reading material these authors have to offer.

With an estimated 6,000 published Texas authors, and over 120 book stores, there is absolutely no reason why they cannot support each other, which in turn supports the sales tax and donation base for public libraries and schools.

We challenge our Governor and the State Legislature to publicly support the Indy authors, Indy bookstores and Indy publishers of Texas in a large way. Sadly, when Governor Abbot was give three opportunities to do so in 2015, he and his staff chose to ignore those opportunities. This sends a clear signal to Texas authors that they are not appreciated, nor is their financial impact to the state, valued at $188 million, of any concern to the governing body of the state.

Texas has a long and colorful history on so many levels, that it makes sense to support those industries over the long term. Yet, Texas authors have basically been ignored even though they are the ones on the front lines of education supporting and encouraging people of all ages to read more. We cannot afford to ignore these pioneers and educators any longer. Their value to the economy of Texas is strong, as is their value to our education system. It is past time for them to receive the support from our state leaders as the oil companies, railroads, farmers and tech industries have received for years.

Numbers count. If you agree that our government should get behind Indy Authors and the industry surrounding them, in the State of Texas, take a minute to find out who your Legislators and Senators are. Then, write to them, along with our Governor asking for their support. You are welcome to quote any of the statistics listed in this article.

Together we can make a difference. Please click here to sign our petition asking the State of Texas to recognize Texas Authors as they do through their GoTexan campaign for Texas made products.

Did you know that TxAuthors has over 100 videos on YouTube? Most of them are about a minute long and are designed for people to learn more about YOU the author. We ask a simple question: Why Do You Write? The answers are much the same, but the objective to these videos is simple. It is one more way for you to get posted on a search engine, which gives you the advantage over other Authors.

While we may not be able to take the video for you, you can still take advantage of this opportunity and have someone record you on your phone answering the question. Send us the video and we will edit it for you, adding covers of your book to it as well. We will then place it on our channel for you to share with the world.

These videos can also be of help if you are attending one of our book festivals this year. We will connect your web page on the book festival you are attending to the video, and any other videos that you may have. This give people who may attend, or cannot attend an opportunity to learn about you and your books.

If you need any guidance on the video, or just want to see what we have done, go to this link: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC70H7orRlsz4xszIyKwfWqw Take a look at some of the ones done and don’t hesitate to contact me with any questions about how to do them.

About

Texas Authors, Inc. is an organization designed to help Texas Authors learn how to better market and sell their books.

We work closely with our partners DEAR Texas, Inc., and Texas Authors Institute of History, Inc., both nonprofits that have created additional programs and events for Authors.

Texas Authors is a subsidiary of Bourgeois Media & Consulting