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Thursday’s Post-Publication Post: Seeking Suggestions

Three weeks from today, I’ll be presenting a session on “Social Media Strategies for Writers” at the Manhattanville College Summer Writers’ Week. (I’ll be using a hard-earned vacation day from my day job to do this, and that’s always a sacrifice, so I’m especially eager to make sure that the session adds something valuable to the conference attendees’ experience and leaves me feeling as though I’ve lived up to my own high standards, too.)

The conference director and I have agreed that at least part of the session will focus on the virtual book tour that I planned for my short-story collection, Quiet Americans, and how social media contributed to its success. But I also want to provide an overview of “social media” (starting with a decent definition of the term itself).

I have 90 minutes, total, so there’s no way that I’m going to be able to provide individualized, detailed how-tos for each and every form of social media that’s out there. But I do hope to hit the key tools and techniques (you can bet that Facebook and Twitter will be among them).

I’d appreciate some guidance from all of you practicing writers out there:

  1. How do you define “social media”?
  2. How have you created your own “social media strategies”? Any resources that you’ve found especially helpful?
  3. What do you consider to be social media’s most significant benefits for writers? (Speak only for yourself, if you wish, or opine more generally.)
  4. What do you consider to be social media’s most significant pitfalls for writers? (Again, please feel free to share a general impression or speak directly from your experience.)
  5. Which social media sites that are specifically for writers do you frequent? What appeals to you about said site(s)?

I’d love to incorporate your advice in my presentation–I’ll cite you by your name if you leave it.

Thanks in advance for your assistance!

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7 Responses »

  1. 1. Any online medium that adds to networking with others – mostly Twitter, Facebook and blogging. Used to be on online critique groups and chat boards. The online group folded and the chat board I rarely use – seems “clunky.”

    2. Strategies? Not yet. Except to use common sense when I post or re-tweet (ie, don’t end up on the news in a bad way!)

    3. Twitter specifically has introduced me to a lot of other writers. This has been positive in terms of moral support, and seeing all the new work thats out there. I also follow several literary magazines – again, gives me a better idea of what kind of stories they’re looking for.

    4. I think the pitfall is spending all day tweeting or blogging and not writing. I try to keep it to only a few minutes in the morning and evening. Otherwise, for me, I’ll get sucked in and totally distracted from writing.

    5. Previously mentioned message boards (would prefer not to name) – but I really don’t frequent them anymore. On Twitter, various #writer #hashtag groups have also formed groups on Facebook to discuss meet-ups, share ideas, etc.

  2. #1 Social Media is anywhere online where you can post your own thoughts, experiences, promotions etc.

    #2 I am only just now figuring out how to use social networking to promote projects. I don’t even know if I am doing it well lol. I still have lots to learn in that area.

    #3- I agree with Sheila about Twitter making it easy to connect with other writers. I have connected with writers I’ve never even heard of and discovered their work that way.
    I also love the way writers can promote (or get help with) any project they are working on just by sending out a tweet. That one tweet could end up all over the world thanks to retweeting. I think it is a powerful way to promote your projects.

    #4 Some pitfalls would be not knowing how to effectively use social networking. Also, at times it can all feel very over-saturated. Like everyone is promoting something, or trying to get you to look their way. It feels like a million voices all talking at the same time.

    #5 I don’t really frequent any of those sites.

  3. 1. There are myriad social media outlets. The key for a writer (and not merely someone interested in blah-blah-blahing all over the place) is to choose one or two, and really maser it/them, and leave the rest behind.

    2. Stick to your brand.

    3. Allowing writers to stay home and connect. We forget that not long ago, being a writer outside of Manhattan was very difficult, and did not allow for easy networking.

    4. Nattering.

    5. She Writes.

  4. Kizzy and Marion: Thank you! (I’ll just add, Marion, that being a writer *in* Manhattan can be pretty difficult, too! ;-))

  5. Re #2: No real strategies, aside from honesty. It’s nice to hear someone’s “true voice” in their Tweets — whether expressing something heartfelt or humorous. It’s OK to let folks in via Twitter. My personal Twitterverse has provided comfort, humor, support & inspiration when I’ve needed it … and they have done so b/c I have cultivated Twitter friends through my openness, etc. Don’t underestimate the impact of “strangers.” I have a print-out of inspiring tweets posted by my desk. Even when I’m too busy to dive in to Twitter for new inspiration, I can glance at that list of favorite tweets & be energized.

    Re #3: Great way to connect to writers & readers. Lots of inspiration & cheerleading, as writers post about milestones (# of words, getting galleys, etc.), all of which reminds those who aren’t there yet that they, too, can do it. Also, lots of insight into how / where others do their writing. Plus, good links to good writing. And, online friendships with authors you may not know or who may be heading toward their break-out novel. And finally, some nice bits of writing: metaphor, imagery, etc. I find Twitter great as a way to find interesting blog items. Not a huge follower of anyone’s blogs, but will check out a blog if the tweet is intriguing, and will then follow on twitter the blogger if the blog is worth re-visiting.

    Re #4: Can waste a ton of time. Not bad if Twitter is your only outlet for procrastination, but bad if time spent procrastinating / ruminating / allowing thoughts to merge subconsciously expands beyond reason.

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