If you have to pick one platform, Facebook is probably your best bet for now. With over 800 million active users a month, Facebook is where you are most likely to connect with your audience. You’ll want to decide between maintaining a personal profile—where you can choose to make some posts visible to the public, and others visible to your Facebook friends only—or a fan page, or both. Either way, you can share updates, links, and photos, as well as engage in conversations with your readers. If you do go the Facebook route, you’ll want to do a bit of online research to bone up on the platform’s privacy policies. The privacy settings can seem complicated at first, but there are many how-to guides on the web to help you navigate. Two great sources of info are GeekMom (“Lay-Geek’s Guide to Facebook Privacy” by Patricia Vollmer) and Mashable (“Facebook Privacy: 10 Settings Every User Needs to Know“). (Disclaimer: I’m a contributor at GeekMom.)
Google+ is growing every day, and it’s an appealing platform with a lot of flexibility. At this point, however, Google+ users tend to be early adopters and tech-lovers; it’s a smaller audience and you may find it harder to connect with readers there. But a point in Google+’s favor is that Google has reconfigured its search algorithms to give priority ranking to G+ posts! Nonfiction writers especially may find that a solid Google+ presence helps topic-searching users find them more easily.
Melissa Wiley is the author of more than a dozen books for children and teens, including Little House in the Highlands and other novels about the ancestors of Laura Ingalls Wilder. Her middle-grade novel, The Prairie Thief, will be published by Margaret K. McElderry Books in the fall. Melissa blogs about her family’s reading life at Here in the Bonny Glen ( melissawiley.com/blog ) and is a contributing writer and social media manager at GeekMom.com. You can find her on Facebook , Twitter and Google+ .