Social Networking for Writers: Good, Bad, or Just a Waste of Time?

My iPhone Apps that keep me in the loop 24/7.

t My iPhone Apps that keep me in the loop 24/7.

Some people say good, other’s say a waste of time.  I believe it’s all in how you work it.

Nearly everyone one who has access to the internet has some type of social presence, be it Facebook, Twitter, Goodreads, Google +, Linkedin, Instagram, Pintrest, and I am sure that’s just naming the most popular ones. My point is: readers are online. They chat about what they like and don’t like, what’s the latest trending topic, who’s got the hottest new book, and so on and so forth.

How can that benefit a writer?

No matter what type of new technology there is, nothing works as well as word of mouth. Well, think of social networking as the digital version of the age old form of publicity. The trick is how to use it.

I’ve read various blogs that say they feel it’s a waste: “All you do is try and sell your books to other authors, nobody is gonna buy because we’re all trying to get paid.”

True and false.

First of all, authors are readers, too, not just writers. We like to read a good book, discover an unknown talent, and be entertained. That’s why we write!

And yes, if you’re an unknown author, a majority of people you first connect with on social networking sites are other authors. Why? Because those authors have experience  – some more, some less than you – on how to connect with readers. Networking can teach you the ropes on navigating a new site, the best new advertising technique, where to find the best deals for self-publishing, or publishers who are looking for new material. Not to mention book signing events, (yes, even with eBook’s being the big thing, readers would still like to have their paperbacks and Kindle/Nook covers signed). But when connecting with these seasoned pros, don’t just go in for the help, talk to them, get to know  them, and yes, read their work, make an honest new friend. Support them and guess what…they will support you.Hold up, say what?????Yes, it’s true, other authors can and will help you! But don’t get it twisted, it’s a two-way street!

Networking with other authors is simple and not hard to do. Here are a few suggestions:

  • If you asked to guest post/interview/feature on an author’s blog, be sure to give them the information requested in a timely manner, drop by the post to comment, and, if you have a blog, be willing to reciprocate the favor in the future. After all, when they have you on their site, it’s exposing your work to their followers/readers. You should be willing to do the same.
  • When you have a chance to read their work, do so! Talk to them (via private chat/emails) about what they did when writing, discuss writing techniques. You’ll be surprised by how much you have in common when writing. Also, you may learn a few things not only about the writer as a person, but  something that can help you become a better writer too!
  • There’s nothing wrong with shouting out a fellow author or posting a good review if you really enjoyed the story! Remember when your mother used to say, “If you can’t say anything nice, don’t say anything at all”? The same goes here to. Remember, you want to support your fellow author and in turn, encourage them to do the same for you. Spreading negativity will not only turn them off, but others as well.
  • Remain a professional at ALL times. Your online presence is your digital business card.  Know when to comment on a post and when to keep your personal feelings to yourself. Don’t get caught up in negativity, political, or social issues unless it pertains to your work. Remember, your looking to establish a fan base. Fans follow authors they like wherever they can be found. Possible fans will read your post/comments, etc. and decide whether or not they want to connect with you. Also, other authors your looking to connect with may decide to avoid getting caught up in your drama, therefore cutting you out of the loop. Giving off a negative presence can ruin your writing career, no matter how long you’ve been in the game.

Above all, remember….there are millions of readers, and thousands of authors. Nobody can put out a book a week, so expecting to hog all the readers is very unrealistic. Readers want to be exposed to new writing styles, and stories. Remember, if you write a good story, they will love your work, but while they wait anxiously for your next book, they want to read something else. Expose them to an author you like and they will appreciate you more for it.

And it’s not just something an Indie Author can do….

Take a look at the back cover of your favorite NYT Bestselling Author. Other than the ever popular critique review, you’ll also find comments and shout outs from other NYT authors. Now that’s what you call having each other’s back!

MJ

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6 thoughts on “Social Networking for Writers: Good, Bad, or Just a Waste of Time?

  1. Very nice! You know I’m totally into social networking and without it I wouldn’t have you and so many talented authors who have so skillfully put themselves out there for everyone to read! I think Social Media is where it’s at for so many reasons! Great insight!

  2. Great post, MJ! Although having a social media presence is time consuming, it is SO worth the time and effort. I compare it to being at a book expo 24/7. I may not be sitting at a table behind a stack of books, by interacting with readers online, I am meeting and greeting those who might be interested in reading my books. There’s nothing like it! 😀

  3. I’ve met lots of great writers social networking, and whether or not it’s impacted my bottom line (though for sure it has) the sense of community if priceless. No way would I consider that a waste of time.

  4. Great post and so true. I think the key with social media is to not let it consume too much of your time that you don’t make time to write, too. I focus on two (Facebook and Twitter) and occasionally pop in to Goodreads to see what people are talking about. Mostly I use Goodreads to write my thoughts about books I’ve read and enjoyed. I’d go bonkers if I did much more — I still have to eat and sleep. 🙂

    I agree with your comments about networking with other authors. It has helped me a lot and I’ve learned so much.

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