Social media is everywhere, on computer monitors, on tablets, on iPhone screens. It’s carried around in backpacks, back pockets and purses. You can’t get away from it. And most don’t want to. Most thrive on this virtual reality. Whether it’s to check up on friends, lose time by perusing the photos or simply to tweet something cool, people allow social media to perforate their everyday (and night) lives.
But is this a bad thing?
Some would say yes – the lack of physical communication, the need for instantaneous feedback and the endless searching for things we probably should already know are setbacks of this virtual communication.
There are many good things about social media, though.
For one, it allows people from across the globe to interact with each other, to share ideas and creativity with people one might never have met otherwise.
For another, it’s an awesome launching point for a budding author (or agent, or business, or group… the list is endless). Social media – and the instant connections it brings – allows us to create a platform, one that can extend our reach farther than ever before.
There are multiple ways of using social media to further your writing.
Blogging – This is a simple way of putting yourself out there, but be sure you know what you’re going to blog about so it doesn’t get stuck in the doldrums after a few months.
Websites – This is a bit more complex, not terribly so but before you create a website you really need to have a solid idea of what you do as an author, who your target audience is and what your plans are. Websites aren’t something to be randomly generated and then forgotten (though, like blogs, some are); they are meant to be a showcase of who you are as a writer and author. Put your recent publications (novels and links) on here, a brief bio, plans for your next novel/anthology and anything else that may stir a reader into spreading the word about you (twitter or facebook links, a word-count to your next book, any readings or conferences you’ll be attending or book signings you’ll be doing, exc.). You can also have a blog within your website.
Facebook – Get an account. Yes, that means you. It’s surprising all the stuff you can do with an account – not only post little quips and updates about your life – but it links you to even more people on the internet world. (If you’d like to keep your personal life separate from your writing one, just create an author page and a personal page.)
Twitter – I tweet on rare occasions. I was hesitant at first about getting one, to be honest. It’s a different form of writing, a different platform of getting thoughts out there, but it could possibly gain me more readers so I signed on. Twitter might be a good alternative to a blog, if you’re seriously strapped for time, as you can hashtag and link different sites.
After all that, get chatting! Update the website with any new information, blog about interesting things of the publishing and writing world, and connect with people. (If you live in Alaska check out the 49 Writers Directory, another good way to get your name out there!) Make sure you have a business card with your pages on it; it’s always a good investment.
There are multiple advantages of social media and if you don’t apply those advantages, well, you’ll just be left in the dark.
Have a lovely weekend!