Here is another post in my WRITERLY WISDOM series I first ran back in 2013. Five years later, I’ve updated the material and made sure it still applies to today’s writers. I take the stage this week with a look at social media. You can find me on Facebook (www.facebook.com/donasdays), Twitter (www.twitter.com/donasdays). or on my website (www.StoryCatcherPublishing.com).
Choose The Right Social Media For You
By Donna L Martin
I can remember when I first started writing professionally during the winter of 2010. There was so much to learn and one of the things I kept hearing was “You’ve got to build an author platform.” But what exactly did that mean?
Eight years later I don’t feel quite so ignorant about the plethora of social websites a new or established writer have to choose from. Below, I’ve listed ten of the most commonly used platform building websites an author should consider.
1) Blogging…a type of “online journal” supported by sites like Blogger or WordPress where writers can connect with “followers”. Blogging gives the most flexibility to write about whatever might be of interest to you, not just about the writing itself.
2) Facebook…a social media site where you, and millions of others, can connect with friends, family, and potentially unlimited followers from all around the world. You can even create separate “author” pages to promote your books as well as “fan” pages to encourage interaction amongst your readers.
3) Google Plus…a fairly new social website, Google Plus began in 2011 and is used by more than 100 million people per month with a total of over 400 million active users.
4) LinkedIn…this site is promoted as a professional networking social website. Writers can connect with other professionals, join discussion groups, post resumes and clips of their work, as well as go job hunting themselves.
5) Pinterest…one of the newest social sites, Pinterest uses “pinning” and “bulletin boards” to connect it’s 10 million monthly users with similar interests. It can be used to give readers insight to a writer’s other interests as well as a way to showcase a writer’s work.
6) Quora…this is a very useful site for writers, especially of the nonfiction variety. You can post your own research question and allow others to answer it or you can showcase your own expertise in a particular subject by replying and connecting with over 100,000 monthly users.
7) Reddit…registered users of this social news website submit copy or links to be voted on by other users. The larger the vote, the higher the rank, which determines the story’s position on the site’s pages. Not really set up for posting blog entries.
8) Tumblr…this social site is known for it’s picture sharing. Page views are in the billions as teenagers and young adults “reblog” and “like” posted images.
9) Twitter…writers who can condense their message into 140 characters or less will find this microblogging site perfect for them. Writers can use it to keep their followers updated with the latest info about their work and to connect in other ways.
10) YouTube…this extremely popular social network is used primarily for video production, vlogging, movies and music. With over 800 million unique views each month, writers can tap into an almost unlimited source of potential new followers if they understand the video technology.
Looking at this list, a new writer might be tempted to throw their hands up in frustration. Some writers struggle to make time for writing at all and now they are expected to become multiple social media participants as well?
Here are some questions to ask before deciding which social websites to join:
1) What do you want your online presence to do for your platform? Do you want to connect with potential readers? Maybe market your latest book? Even generate additional monthly income? How you honestly answer these questions determine which social media avenue will help you the most.
2) Are you trying to be an expert in a certain area? Your content on a new blog could showcase your expertise. If you’re an illustrator, a Pinterest account or WordPress website can spotlight your best work for future clients to view.
3) Who are you, anyway? The person you are as a writer or illustrator IS your brand or product you are trying to sell to the world. Blogging gives you the most freedom to express yourself through your posts while sites like You Tube provides a way to be even more expressive.
Bottom line is you don’t have to jump onto every social networking site out there. Decide what type of platform and message are you really trying to create before you choose one of these sites or maybe one I haven’t listed. Maybe a Facebook fan page to begin with while you visit some blogs or LinkedIn accounts to get a feel for how things work. Agents and editors who are interested in your work will google your name to see what your platform consists of, but one or two strong sites are much better than a dozen poor ones. And since you will have to find the time to devote to whichever site(s) you participate in, there is only one person who can choose what’s best for you!
International best selling, award winning author, Donna L Martin, has been writing since she was eight years old. She is a 4th Degree Black Belt in TaeKwonDo by day and a ‘ninja’ writer of children’s picture books, chapter books, young adult novels and inspirational essays by night. Donna is a BOOK NOOK REVIEWS host providing the latest book reviews on all genres of children’s books, and the host of WRITERLY WISDOM, a resource series for writers. Donna is a member of the Society of Children’s Book Writers & Illustrators and Children’s Book Insider. She is a lover of dark chocolate, going to the beach and adding to her growing book collection. Donna’s latest book, My Journey, My Journal, is scheduled to be released by Expert Insights Publishing in the Fall 2018.