The Value of Micro-Communities

So, right after I get back online, Google+ launches. (Yes, I did slurp up an account.) The whole concept of Google+ is very similar to how we interact in real life, because it effectively creates cliques. Yes, putting people into circles is a form of cliques, whether we want to admit it or not.

Quite frankly, I don’t have time to do the deep dive into Google+ because I am taking a wildly different approach to what I want to do online. It has been a lot of fun connecting (and re-connecting) with other authors and whatnot, but the bulk of my marketing efforts are going to start taking on a much, different shape in a longer-term fashion.

I’ve been willy nilly on Facebook, Twitter and whatnot the last week, and while my project management is firmly in place, I know I’m going to have to cut back from being a frequent butterfly-er to something a little more manageable.

One of the points I talked about, was how content was more valuable than interaction. This post entitled Book Blog Tours and Review Sites with Adrian Phoenix is a great example of how an author used content marketing to attract fans. If you want to know why I guest blog and guest write for so many different sites, this would be the reason. It’s a good article and I’d recommend giving it a read.

The other interesting thing, though, was that this article reminded me of something I neglected to mention. That is: micro-communities have been extremely beneficial to me. When I’m on social media, I’m there to either a) share or b) broadcast. It’s one or the other, and I never know who I’m going to reach at the time. The more followers I add? The less confidence I have of reaching them. After managing social media for so many businesses, the data is really all over the place. Not only do you have to worry about what you post — but when.

Micro-communities, which for me have taken the form of a publisher’s website or forum, have made one of the best impacts on my career because I’ve gotten to know people and have been more comfortable with the readers that are engaged there. I feel that writing guest blog posts (or doing book tours, etc.) is a form of tapping into these micro-communities. It’s not a generic: “Oh hey, buy my book.” It’s the action of establishing a connection with a pre-existing audience that has a vested interest in that website’s (or forum’s) content.

We started offering guest blog posts on a few years ago, and these types of posts really help our readers get to know an author. On the flip side, when I release a game that fits the darker genres, I often blog about my game design notes there, too, because that audience is engaged. (Our door is open to authors/game designers who want to write a guest post, provided the book/game is an editorial match for the website.

With the over-saturation of the market, some authors are developing micro-communities around their work BEFORE they do any more marketing. I think this tactic is pretty smart, though, I’m pulling back on assertively marketing my own work until early next year. I am still going to guest blog, but I’m not ready to pull the trigger on a full-scale marketing plan right now. There are some things I’m doing behind-the-scenes, so if you want to get the skinny on that be sure to sign up for my monthly newsletter.

If anything, though, micro-communities is where an author will have to eventually go — unless they are lightning in a bottle. I’m not banking on Thor helping me out in that arena (Though, if he wanted to… I certainly wouldn’t complain… Would you?), so my world is getting smaller to balance original with tie-in work and other forms of income.

Micro-communities are also valuable for me in the sense that I have a place I feel at home. I have a sense of humor, albeit dry, and humor isn’t always received well online. The more you get to know someone, the better you’ll be received.

One Response to The Value of Micro-Communities
  1. stacey chancellor

    You are right on this. If we cannot admit that G+ allows us to make our own cliques, we are just lying to ourselves. We have always hung out that way, we just don’t like to admit it cuz then we have to admit how judgemental we are. 🙂

    But it is a win situation for most people. In this day age where everyone is using some form of social networking, it is nice to see some people as human. Even in the gaming industry where maybe people are not “celebs” as compared to some. But for someone like me when I got to add a game designer for a game I want to play. It makes me do a happy snoopy dance. That may seem silly, but meeting new and interesting people should always be a good goal.

Monica Valentinelli is a writer, editor, and game developer. Her portfolio includes stories, games, comics, essays, and pop culture books.

In addition to her own worlds, she has worked on a number of different properties including Firefly, Vampire: the Masquerade, Shadowrun, Hunter: the Vigil, Brandon Sanderson’s Mistborn, and Robert E. Howard’s Conan.

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