Writer Tools: Social Media

“Networking”

Everyone needs a bit of help getting together their network of writing buddies, readers, and potential agents. It’s no easy task either, assured book popularity is only granted to existing stars, and even that doesn’t guarantee it’ll be read. The great big web has made networking a little bit easier through the use of great big sites full of users, generally called…

Social Media

To get straight to the point, here are some of my thoughts on the different sites available out there:

– Facebook: Everyone has one, so if nothing else you have a huge pool of potential contacts by promoting yourself on Facebook. What’s more, they have “Pages” that you can create and operate from so that you can have a separate business area just for your writing. My personal issue with Facebook is that it seems clunky and I can’t customize the page much. You’re limited to how you present information, and the rest just gets sorted by date and time posted or commented on.

– Google Plus: This site can be great for sharing reviews, links, and connecting with other Authors. Unlike Facebook, it doesn’t have the personal feel of family and friends, so the discourse often seems more businesslike. Additionally, many people have accounts with Google of some kind, but Google Plus never seemed to get much use itself or take off with general users so the audience is not as broad.

– Instagram: I would use Instagram if you have image-rich content related to your book, or if you enjoy taking photos that relate to your life. Readers can enjoy a feed of your daily world or any interesting viewpoints you may have. There’s a pretty large userbase and you can link from within posts which can help with driving traffic.

– Pinterest: This site can be wonderful for connecting together your own ideas and finding bits of inspiration to help with your work. Additionally, you can share those things you find interesting with followers so that they can gain insight into your process or enjoy similar preferences and mindsets. Not hugely useful for personalized and customized posts, but great for brainstorming and seeing other creative processes.

– Reddit: For large scale interaction with potential readers, Reddit is a great site that allows for comments, voting on content, and link sharing. Direct self-promotion isn’t that welcome on most of the writing parts of the site, but you can become involved in great discussions on authorship, publishing, and a vast array of topics. Becoming part of those discussions can pull together groups of friends that will help each other out along the way. However, expect a huge expenditure of time and getting vested in the culture. The interface and ways of interaction also take some getting used to.

– Tumblr: Perhaps you already have a Blog somewhere, but Tumblr is less about your personal blogging experience and is often more about sharing things you find interesting. Reblogging on this site is very similar to Pinning on Pinterest. The site can be useful to share your inspiration sources and random thoughts. It also allows you to write and post anything you want, so it can be a great place to test ideas or just to store things online somewhere. There is a bit of a Tumblr “culture” that may take some getting used to, and getting followers can be very random.

– Twitter: Short, to the point, and with a huge following around the globe. It really does work well in driving traffic, even if most of that’s only click-through. If I share a link on Twitter I generally see about 25% of the number of followers I have visit the link. Getting someone to stay or read after clicking through still depends on the content. Use hashtags almost always, though I tend to leave them off if a post is more personal. My main issue with Twitter is that it is full of bots or accounts automated to some degree. You’ll see plenty of accounts that just post the same links over and over again, but that seems to be part of the streams. Follow everyone and mute the ones you don’t intend to interact with.

Time

One thing I’ve had to remind myself is that every site takes time and effort to use. Building a community anywhere takes your energy and maintenance. I want to put my work out everywhere in case someone likes it, but I also only have so many hours in the day. Focus on the ones that are most effortless to you, and on the things that you most enjoy doing. That mindset has kept me doing pretty well, as those times when I forget I can quickly become overwhelmed.

That said, everyone takes a different journey to the top. Your surest bet is to try often and repeatedly, learning more along the way. Feel free to let me know if anything in this article is wrong, off, or needs an update of new wisdom! Thanks for reading!

-J.A.

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