Of Writers and Prose: Writing and Social Media.

I’ve written about this before (at least three times), and apparently I’m not done. I still believe that social media is a great ‘tool’ (note the parenthesis) for writers, and used properly it can have a great influence and help authors sell their books.

There are a few more platforms to choose from, but for this post I’m going to stick the ones I use most; my blog, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, and Tiktok.

Yes, I said Tiktok.

In the beginning there was Facebook. All writers had an author page. I still do, but in the last ten years it’s become less popular due to their TOS, and the few scandals around their algorithms. Their paid promo’s haven’t show to increase anything, no matter what they claim. Ask any author who has paid for their promotion. You won’t like their answer. I rarely use my author page anymore but I’m afraid to give it up.

Enter the New Age of Social Media.

As I stated, there are four I use the most, and while they seem so different in what to post, honestly, they’re all a great way for authors to reach out and connect. One thing you *must* understand; social media isn’t about selling books; it’s about connecting with readers. Writers read other writers, but to really sell you need to step outside of the author/writer/publishing triad and connect with the non-writer. Social media is great for this and you must keep this in mind when you’re using any platform.

#1. Twitter.

Twitter is real-time short conversations. There are threads that go on for post after post, but for the majority it’s short 250 character thoughts. Even Twitter realized how important the platform could be and doubled the character limit. Twitter is great to give a quick shout-out to folks, do a book promo, or engage in meaningful conversations with other writers. It’s typing, and writers are comfortable with this format.

#2. Instagram

The IG is a place writers can express their creativity through photos or short videos. This platform is good for book covers, pictures that inspire you to write, or have inspired you in other ways. I’ve posted pictures of excerpts on my account, food pics, cats, weather. You name it and I’ve probably posted something like it on my IG account. This is one of the places that I can reach out to non-writing folk.

#3. YouTube

Okay, here’s where things start to get a little time-consuming. It’s taken me about ten years, but I think I finally know how to utilize this platform. Right now I’m doing about one video per month, because the amount of work required to get one up is incredible. I can spend at least a whole day editing a thirty minute video down to around five to six minutes. There’s music that I add and I have an opening title and credits as well. The main reason I do the videos is to acclimatize myself to speaking about my work. I can sit at a computer and type away about my books, but *actually* talking about them is a different story. Making videos, watching how I move, how I speak, it’s preparing me for a time when I might have to talk to a lot of people about my books. YouTube is a lot of work, but for me, it’s something I want to invest the time in.

#4. TikTok.

Welcome to YouTube lite. It’s the only way I can explain it. The app has editing tools and you post short vids (about a minute long) about anything you want. I have a video editing program I bought for YouTube so I can do a bit more with my vids, but I try to keep them short and hopefully interesting. I haven’t been on long, and am setting up certain days to post certain videos. You can use hashtags just like you do on Twitter and IG. It’s only three years old, but it’s wildly popular.

The last platform I want to talk about is a blog. I don’t know how many times I’ve read these click-bait articles about how blogging is dead. No, it isn’t, and it never will be because those who use it will always feel the need to express themselves through words. I still recommend new writers start a blog, just so they can get used to the idea of creating new content and keeping a deadline. It’s perfect for the introvert who doesn’t feel comfortable with any of the other platforms.

Well, there it is, my fourth blog post about social media. If you’re interested in the other articles I wrote, I’ve linked them below.

Of Writers and Prose: Five Problems with Social Media

Of Writers and Prose: Are Authors Sick of Social Media?

Social Media for Writers: The New Time-Suck or Time to Connect?

Social media for writers: The new time-suck, or time to connect?

I’m hooked on it. Blogging, Twittering, Facebooking (I can’t believe I just used that as a verb), and I can’t get enough. More and more authors are told they need to have some sort of online presence. To most of us, it’s not that big of deal, but there are some out there who either don’t want or don’t care to follow the rest of us sheep into the world of live updates, tweets and posts. For those of you who are leery, I don’t blame you, but as these tools are becoming an important part of a writer’s life, I’m afraid it may become a necessary evil. I’m not going to get into proper etiquette for these sites. There are enough blog posts out there to satisfy that need. No, I want to explain why writers need to be on.

I’ve been online for eleven years. In that time, I’ve seen digital content increase to the point where it’s more commonplace and convenient to look things up online than any other way. When I do research for a novel, I go online. If there’s something my husband wants to know about, he goes online. Same with just about everyone I know. Books are written and published online, agents and publishers post their wish lists online. Agents and publishers LOOK UP POTENTIAL CLIENTS ONLINE. Readers look up information on an author they like ONLINE.

Did you see those last two? That is why writers need an online presence. It isn’t about book promotion, or retweeting, or cute kitten pictures, or pinning nail art to your board; it’s about how people who are interested in you, can find you. Period. Mind you, all those other things are important too.

By having some kind of a social media page, people can find you when the mood strikes them, and by extension, your work as well. Do you have more than one book? Create a page on your blog so visitors can discover all your published works. It works the other way as well. You can connect with your readers via Facebook and Twitter. Create new or interesting ways to interact with them and they will be appreciative. It’s all about you connecting to your audience, and your audience connecting with you.

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