Why you should follow other writers

So, I got a huge social media hug this week when an author lumped me together with Joel Friedlander as being part of the future success of her novel (Go, Catherine, Go). Basically, the extra kudos was because I blogged about the publication process of RITE OF REJECTION, including the marketing.
Monkey hugs...almost as good as social media hugs.
It reminded me how much I've learned from following and paying attention to other authors. There is never a ceiling to learning about publishing. I will never sit back one day and think, "That's it, I've learned it all. Read 'em and weep, neophytes."

Besides being rude to our newbies, I could never say this because there is no limit to the knowledge out there. So much to learn and so much that's changing every day. The truth is, we can't learn it alone and there's no reason to. We don't need to reinvent the wheel every time we dip our toes into the publishing waters.

If you aren't following a ton of writers on social media, you need to get on that. Here are my tips for maximizing your learning through social media.

1. Release day master course
Every week dozens of new books hit the market. That means there's a never ending supply of new releases to keep an eye on. I love seeing what other authors do to launch their baby into the world. Not only do I pick up some wonderful tips and tricks, it's really easy to see what not to do. Most tradition books release on Tuesdays, so that's a great day to set aside and study book releases.

2. Newsletter fundamentals
I may be a newsletter junkie. I subscribe to tons of them. Partly because I want to know all about my favorite authors. Partly because I want to borrow, steal and hack what they put in their own newsletter for my own. As a read all these great newsletters, it's easy to see the trend in ones I want to read and the ones that feel like an obligation. It should go without saying that you should duplicate the fun read efforts.

3. Mass attack
Most authors have tons of social media accounts and, for the most part, it's sufficient to follow just one of those accounts. But I suggest picking one author who has a similar audience to your own and following all their social media accounts. Check out what kind of posts they put everywhere and how they are specializing the messages for different platforms. Study what gets the most interaction and then put those same practices in place for your own accounts.

4.  Not everyone's a big fish
Sure, I follow the big names in my genre and target audience. But I also follow the midlisters and the ones just getting their feet wet. My personal favorite is to follow the authors who are just ahead of where I am right now. The ones whose success I can reach out and almost touch. Look, listen and learn from what they do. Pay special attention when they admit to mistakes and when they celebrate success.

5. Understand the rules of duplication
While borrowing (and outright stealing) the marketing tactics of other authors of just smart, you have to do so with a grain of salt. Understand that even if you are able to 100% duplicate another authors efforts, you will never be able to duplicate their success. There are just too many variables, many of them completely outside your control. Maybe you'll try and won't do as well. Maybe you'll try and blow everyone out of the water. Either way, keep in mind that every author has to walk their own path.

Who are your favorite authors to follow online? What are some of your favorite tricks gleaned from the interwebs? What do you wish authors posted about more? Share your thoughts in the comments.
* Pick one author and make sure you follow them on all their social media (see how they spread it out, what they post to different networks, etc.)
* Don't just follow big names. Spread out with newbies and those who are just ahead of where you are