A Quick Tour of Social Media for Writers

2 minute read

Part of the writing game is marketing (talking about your work) and publicity (getting others to talk about your work). And that generally means using social media tools such as Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and their ilk. Establishing an ‘author platform’ are bons mots du jour.

So which network do you use? Do you have to be on all of them?

The answer? ‘It depends’ and ‘probably not’.

There is little point setting up a social networking profile if you’re not going to commit to working it. You’re better advised to pick a channel and focus on it. Social networking professionally is work. There is no easy button. So, you have to choose.

Twitter is an interesting beast. It has no memory. It’s great for RIGHT NOW. Think of it as a social gathering where many conversations are going on at once. The biggest thing about Twitter (and anywhere, really) is to be authentic. Post ideas, link to your blog, retweet others and most importantly: engage. People who do well at Twitter, do so because it is their primary platform. If you’re not going to commit to the time investment, give Twitter a pass.

Google+ is a platform where you build authority on your topic or subject matter expertise. People there are experts who carefully curate content. If you write a book because you’re an expert in shark-fighting, then you should be on Google+ talking about shark-fighting. It’s also a business tool where you connect with publishers, editors and industry people. It works best if you use your Google+ Profile and stay away from their Google+ Pages unless you have a business or organization to promote.

Facebook is the 800 pound gorilla. Everyone is there, but no one is listening. At least it seems that way with the changes to the Newsfeed algorithm. You probably have have all your friends and family supporting and/or ignoring your writing efforts. Funny how that works. Here’s the thing: Facebook is for people that you know and personal profiles have a 5000 friend limit. Personally, I think that the limit should be much smaller. Monkeysphere, people. Monkeysphere.

But, everyone is there. You just said so! Fear not. You have two choices.

  1. Setup a Facebook Page (www.facebook.com/pages/create). It's not hard and separates your personal and writer personas. If you have a pseudonym, this makes sense. There's a bunch of extra tools, but it's a lot of extra work.
  2. Turn on Subscriptions to your profile (www.facebook.com/settings?tab=followers). This gets around the 5000 friend limit and, if you're diligent about your security, Followers can only see your public posts. Tag all your personal stuff to Friends only.

Personally, I went for Option 2 with Facebook, use Twitter too much and lament over not using Google+ more.

If you’re looking for other ways to connect with your brethren writers, and more importantly, readers, then take a look at Tumblr and Reddit. Particularly, if you’re looking to connect with readers in genre fiction, their communities are there.

So that’s the tour. Did I get it right or miss something? Sound off in the comments.

Resources and More Reading:

Photo by Sharon Rose Mayes

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