Buccaneer Blogfest — Social Media for Writers

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My new week­ly lit­er­ary romance ser­i­al Hap­pi­ness: How to Find It has start­ed on Curios­i­ty Quills. My post-apoc­a­lyp­tic decon­struc­tion on faith, Par­adise Earth, has been shipped off to the edi­tor. A super secret com­ic script is in the hands of an amaz­ing artist.  With my writ­ing work-log momen­tar­i­ly cleared out, I was blessed with a two-sec­ond lull where I con­tem­plat­ed which project to tack­le next.  I have oth­er writ­ing projects to (re)start, but my time has been con­sumed by bon­ing up on my social media pres­ence.  The bane of the pub­lished author is that you’ll need to spend your time mar­ket­ing as well as work­ing on your next mas­ter­piece.  If you are an intro­vert­ed writer hunched over a type­writer in your dim­ly lit Fortress of Soli­tude, I’ve got some bad news to share: social media has become absolute­ly cru­cial to get­ting word out about your works. (We do want read­ers, right?)  If you are a pub­lished author you’ll be doing much of your own mar­ket­ing, even if you man­aged to score a deal with one the big six pub­lish­ers.  If you are self-pub­lished you’re even more on your own.

As the final week of the Buc­ca­neer blogfest  sets sail, we’ll start by talk­ing about what social media means to writ­ers. Since this sub­ject is so mas­sive, I’m going to focus on what I per­son­al­ly use, how I use it, and my impres­sions on it.  If you want a more in depth treat­ment I high­ly rec­om­mend read­ing Sell More Books! Book Mar­ket­ing and Pub­lish­ing for Low Pro­file and Debut Authors: Rethink­ing Book Pub­lic­i­ty after the Dig­i­tal Rev­o­lu­tions. (It’s full of awe­some pro-tips like, make sure the title of your book is a mile long with every impor­tant buzz word for what­ev­er sub­ject you are writ­ing about so that it can be eas­i­ly found by peo­ple who are search­ing for cer­tain top­ics on Ama­zon.)

Google+

I’m start­ing out with Google+ because it sim­ply does get not enough love.  At the onset it was deri­sive­ly con­sid­ered a me-too Face­book clone that no one asked for.  Since then G+ has evolved into a dif­fer­ent kind of social net­work, one based on shared inter­ests.  Where­as Face­book tends to be a social net­work for peo­ple you know (no mat­ter how ten­u­ous­ly), G+ is for peo­ple you’d like to know. As a writer, I enjoy hear­ing from oth­er peo­ple that enjoy writ­ing a whole lot more than my dis­tant aunt’s con­stant cries for some­one to water her Far­mville crops.  G+ allows you to arrange and share cir­cles (groups of con­tacts). I pre­fer to cre­ate top­i­cal cir­cles like: writ­ers, com­ic pro­fes­sion­als, and amaz­ing peo­ple.  One of the best things about Google+ are the hang­outs. Think of it like a mul­ti-par­ty audio/video chat ses­sionI have a Google+ cir­cle called “Silent Writ­ing Hang­out”, which is a group of writ­ers that get togeth­er to work on projects in silence.  It sounds weird and strains the term chat room, but it is actu­al­ly a great way to be pro­duc­tive, espe­cial­ly when you screen share your word proces­sor win­dow to keep on task.

Twit­ter   

I have to admit that I don’t get Twit­ter.  I sel­dom have any­thing to say that I can fit into 140 char­ac­ters, or at least some­thing inter­est­ing to say.  (I’m a wordy moth­er–shut your mouth.) Some authors con­fuse con­tin­u­al “Hey Buy My Book!” tweets with some­thing inter­est­ing.  It’s not and it is a sure way to get unfol­lowed by me.  On my feed I offer pithy quips about life, quotes that I like, and oth­er things I find amus­ing. Tonight I took some time to bash NBC for their vin­dic­tive treat­ment of a jour­nal­ist who dared to tweet crit­i­cisms of their Olympic cov­er­age.  Is it inter­est­ingEh, I guess that depends.  Once you become a famous, even your lunch becomes break­ing news to Twit­ter celeb-stalk­ers. I’ve got a long way to go.

Face­book

For me Face­book is a nec­es­sary evil.  I despise the site, but if you want to con­nect with most peo­ple this is the only place on the Inter­net where your bat­ty aunt co-min­gles with your high school grad­u­at­ing class, for bet­ter or worse.    I have an author page, but most peo­ple insist on con­nect­ing to my per­son­al page.   I’ve giv­en up try­ing to sep­a­rate the two and sim­ply fall back on the idea that pri­va­cy on the Inter­net is a fool’s goal.  (Pro-tip: If you main­tain more than one page on Face­book it can be con­fus­ing know­ing which you are logged into.  Eliz­a­beth Don­ald gave me a cool tip about using a black and white pro­file pic for your author page and a col­or pic for your per­son­al page to keep them straight at a glance.)  I also have a page for Hap­pi­ness: How to Find It which I co-main­tain with the pub­lish­er, where we pro­vide updates when new chap­ters are released and oth­er cool hap­pen­ings hap­pen.

Oth­er

Google+, Twit­ter, and Face­book are arguably the big three, but there are many oth­er social net­works.  LinkedIn is a decent place for pro­fes­sion­al hook-ups.  As a writer they do have a few dif­fer­ent groups to join for dis­cus­sion, but I haven’t found them too inter­est­ing.  I’ve been enjoy­ing Goodreads, where writ­ers and read­ers get togeth­er to dis­cuss books.  I plan on using it more, espe­cial­ly when I get set-up on there as bona fide author.  (Many of the fea­tures are not unlocked until you are ‘pub­lished’.) The ven­er­a­ble Inter­net dis­cus­sion forum,  the orig­i­nal social media, is still a great place to con­nect with those that share sim­i­lar inter­ests. I’m active on the Jeho­vahs Wit­ness Dis­cus­sion Forum, which works out well because my cur­rent nov­els have a base there to build on.  How­ev­er, make sure you get estab­lished on a forum instead of sim­ply doing a dri­ve by spam assault.

Per­son­al Blog

With so many dif­fer­ent Inter­net out­lets out there, hav­ing a cen­tral nest for the social media spi­der is real­ly use­ful.  For many writ­ers the per­son­al web­site or blog serves this pur­pose nice­ly.  Hon­est­ly it doesn’t have to be elab­o­rate and many writ­ers take advan­tage of the free blog host­ing offered by Blog­ger and Word­Press.  Word­press pro­vides the back­bone of this blog and does every­thing I need it to do and more.  My blog has con­tin­u­al­ly evolved over the years.  I grad­u­at­ed from keep­ing an online diary (that got me in trou­ble with my work) to writ­ing about top­ics about the Chris­t­ian faith (which got me in trou­ble with my reli­gion).   With the release of my new nov­el Hap­pi­ness, I’m using it more as an author por­tal (trou­ble forth­com­ing no doubt).  Because my blog posts tend to run essay length I’m not able to update as often as oth­ers, but I am glad to have some good writ­ing exam­ples here when­ev­er some­one graces me with a Google search.  (By the way, if you are look­ing for the Antho­ny Math­e­nia who is a mis­sion­ary in Africa and are thor­ough­ly con­fused … eh, that’s me … yeah that’s the tick­et … uh … check out my new nov­el … heh, heh.)

As an author there are many options on the Inter­net for social inter­ac­tion with oth­er writ­ers and read­ers.   It can be over­whelm­ing, so it helps to just pick a few you are com­fort­able with and focus on.  Which ones do you use?  Please share!

 

¶ Despatched on Monday, July 30th, 2012 at 10:18 pm and sorted in Writing. ¶ { ReTweet }

2 Responses

Talynn LynnJuly 31st, 2012 at 7:35 am

Thanks for the in depth review of each of the social net­work places. You are right, social media is the best way to get news out, espe­cial­ly for an author:)

Elias BartonAugust 23rd, 2012 at 11:15 am

I find the social media aspect of things dif­fi­cult because it cuts away from time one could spend actu­al­ly writ­ing! Still, I enjoy con­nect­ing with read­ers. I am SO with you about Twit­ter. I just don’t get it… and I keep try­ing!

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