Facebook and Writing
What is Social Networking?
Two major writing magazines came out recently touting the necessity for writers to arm themselves with the proper social networking skills. Social networking is the buzz whether you want to be a writer, or you want to be successful in other areas of business. The Writer Magazine, author Elfrieda Abbe, suggests that even the most reluctant but pragmatic social-media users realize editors, publishers or publicist want them to use tools like Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn. While Writer’s Digest, author Christina Katz in her article “50 simple ways to build your platform in five minutes a day” list using these social networking outlets as the basic building blocks to your platform.
What about the more than reluctant social networker though? Networking and building a platform is necessary, for anyone who wants to be a successful author. There is no arguing that point, however for someone who sees Facebook or Twitter as a the high school hangout; or the space to college students to compare notes on who is a better professor it is hard to see the necessity of either platform. Linkedin on the other hand and Google plus can have their draws for the professional with the down side being they do not carry the same notoriety as the first too. This leaves a reluctant writer having to choose between getting involved in Facebook and Twitter or sticking with lesser known and more professional sites, neither of which can be desirable for some authors who do not enjoy the social networking scene.
Another argument that these same authors make is if they are spending all of their time on Facebook and Twitter promoting their writing, when will they actually write. In the Buzz on Social Media, Elfrieda Abbe, interviewed six successful writers, on how they social network. Her results showed that not one particular method fits all writers. Can you be a good writer without having to update your Facebook status or tweet your latest work? In this recent digital age some of the old time authors say probably not. It used to be that when an author became big time he or she would have a publicist who promoted their work, now though writers are beginning to take on the marketing aspect themselves as publishing houses are downsizing.
Competition and Publishing
Abbe suggest that the competitiveness of publishing makes social networking a necessary way to get attention from publishers, however with as busy as publishers are, do they really have people trolling Twitter and Facebook to make sure that some unknown but brilliant author doesn’t get snatched up by another publisher? It is doubtful, the best way to get the attention of publishers still requires face to face platform building and networking. Writing, networking, and building a platform should not solely be focused on social network sites.
All in all the advice in Katz lists in the Writers’ Digest article for building a platform is solid advice for any author to review including listing some very helpful sources, like Amazon, and Google. Responding to comments, and connecting with people, all of which can be done while writing for sites like Hub Pages, where you have a profile, make good writing friends, good contacts, and are still primarily writing, versus Facebook where you are more socializing than writing. Promotions via Hub Pages, is a better way to promote ones writing than social networking site, because along with the social aspects and the networking there is also writing. You write a hub, about a topic, and you might find that the right person with the right connections will read it which can help you build your platform better than any tweeting or status updates on Facebook.
Tips for Social Networking
There are a lot of tips out there for social networking; I have narrowed it down to five.
- Be Consistent: Keeping up with a network is a lot of work. But it is also important once you build a fan base, to keep up with it. You don't want to lose them because of a lack of information.
- Oversharing and undersharing: Sharing too much or too little with your audience can be detrimental. Instead do some research to determine the perfect amount.
- Relationships are important: Set a time every day to respond to e-mail and snail mail correspondence, comments on blogs or social networking posts, and of course the occasional criticism.
- Niche Writing: When it comes to networking on sites like twitter you will want to stay in your own niche. Followers follow you because they like that particular topic, changing and writing about a lot of different things may land you a lot of different types of followers. If that happens then you might find more people losing interest simply because you aren't always posting what they like.
- Be a writer: Obviously you are, and you may join Facebook or Twitter to keep up with friends and family, to follow your own interests, etc. However it is important that you are still a writer and you should share that information with your fan base. Do not be afraid to express this because you never know where the next big break will come from.
Perseverance is the key
Regardless of whether you choose to use social networking sites to build your platform the key to being successful is really perseverance. Build a solid platform and continue to network with writers, editors and of course your audience. In the end marketing your work is going to be almost as hard as the writing itself but now more than ever it is important for writers to be as good at the marketing aspect as they are at writing.
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