How Middle Grade Authors Can Use Social Media & Why Your Persona May Need an Overhaul14
There are gobs of Young Adult authors using social media to interact with their readers and fans, but what about Middle Grade readers? Is there a way to reach them with social media? Absolutely.
Because those readers are using social media too! Or at the very least, they’re using Google to research their favorite authors and reading their blogs. My kids even have their own blog (Kids Write Reviews) so they are involved in social media on their own.
The key is to tailor your social networking efforts to your audience. While YA authors can get away with talking about writing and craft on their blog, middle grade readers won’t be as interested. Instead, they want to see:
- What you’re working on. Give clues to your next project, little snippets, maybe some inspiration.
- Books you recommend. Middle grade readers race through books and are always looking for a recommendation! Who better to recommend than a favorite author?
- Fun facts about yourself. Keep it real and PG, but your readers and fans will love to know about you and funny stories from your childhood.
- Reviews of your books. Showcase interesting reviews of your book. Publicity is always good!
- Multimedia elements: These fans are very into music, videos, and graphics – so include as many as you can! Book trailers, illustrations from your novel, playlists galore.
While tweens can’t sign up for their own Facebook account, there are new social networks popping up (like Everloop) that cater to these social savvy kids – and you may want to explore setting up accounts or advertising there. You may even want to tailor your Twitter account to your readership, since they can easily see your account on Google.
And that leads to the second part of this post. Your persona may need an overhaul. Why? Because it’s very easy for your Middle Grade audience to find your personal blog or website and see what you’re up to. While you may not want to use social media to reach your readers, they may use it to find you! Case in point:
9-year-old Stacy finishes the new Diary of a Glamorous Girl and hops on Google to find out if the author has any more books. She types in the author’s name, Fiona Fancypants, and the very first link is the author’s blog. Score! Stacy clicks through to see what Fiona is saying. Now Fiona has been an aspiring author for years. She’s been writing about craft, talking about the process, and has built up quite the following. Her latest post talks about sexy literary characters and there’s a picture of Jacob Black and how she wouldn’t mind “licking those abs.” Stacy ponders this for a bit and wonders why anyone would want to lick somebody’s stomach. Gross. And then Stacy’s mom walks in the room and asks, “WHAT are you looking at?”
Not a great first impression, huh? Or what if Fiona has done a book review for a YA novel that touches on rape? Probably not a recommendation that Stacy should be asking for in the library.
So I recommend caution. Google yourself. Try to see yourself through the eyes of a tween. Do you need to edit a few of your blog posts? Change up the design a little? Get rid of some saucy pics of you and the hubby?
Of course, you can always use a pen name!
If you’d like to set up a blog for your middle grade readers … I’m happy to help! Check out the social media consulting page for more details.