To Tweet or not to Tweet – That is the Question
In today’s world of writing, an author is not merely sat alone at a desk pouring over a typewriter and using Tipex and backspace to make corrections until the lonely hours of the night. No log cabin retreats with hand-written pages by an oil lamp. (As much as I’d like). Today, social media and marketing play a huge part of every author’s journey. So let’s break it down.
Not everyone uses social media. Big name authors who achieved their success before the onslaught of the internet seem to maintain a distance from it. And after all, many of them have a marketing team to help them manage this. Think Nora Roberts, Stephen King, Dean Koontz.
BUT, what if you’re not a big name and want to do as much as you can to get your name and brand out there? That’s what social media is all about;
- developing your brand,
- making connections,
- taking advantage of opportunities.
Here I’m going to break down Twitteras it’s my most comfortable platform.
You may not find many teens on twitter, if you’re writing for kids, who are looking to follow authors, but you will find their parents, and librarians who might put the book into their hands, and book bloggers who will review your book and spread the word. You can also follow agents and publishers to see what they are looking for and learn more about how the industry works. There are pitch contests which can lead to requests from agents and publishers. But most importantly there are people just like you. People writing in their lonely cave looking to find a kinship. I found my amazing writing group on Twitter. (And I was very sceptical when I joined) and I’ve never looked back. Now I have a team of cheerleaders at my back, instant critique partners, and lots of hugs when the rejections roll in. It takes the sting out of it. It helps me to carry on.
Instagram seem to have a few more teens that you might be able to get to. And it’s also a lovely medium. Based on pictures, it’s much more relaxing than twitter to scroll through and look at all those beautiful book covers or inspirational quotes. You can make the same connections as on Twitter, but be artful about what you post.
It’s all About a Hashtag: Until you’ve built up a following of likeminded souls, how do you actually find them? The writing community have several hashtags you can use to connect with people on Twitter and Instagram. Obviously. there is #WriteMentor & #WriteMentorSpark, but other useful ones include:
- #writingcommmunity (I know!)
There are regular chats that you can get involved with and talk to your favourite authors such as #UKTeenChat, #UKYAChat & #Writerswise
BUT – and here is the but. It takes TIME! Just like it takes time to develop relationships in real life, Twitter and Instagram are no different.
So that you don’t fall down the social media rabbit hole, I suggest limiting the time you spend on it. Maybe attend one chat a week and another hour or two tweeting and looking through hashtags to find connections. This is something that is very manageable – but it takes discipline! So many writers now lament the existence of Twitter for procrastination. But if it isn’t Twitter, it will be something else. (Like the games on my phone or playing Minecraft with my kids)
There are obviously other mediums such as FaceBook, YouTube, Pinterest, SnapChat…the list goes on. I’d suggest sticking to one or two platforms and making them really work for you.
Overall, I think social media is a good thing. Once you start getting followers, these will be the first people that will buy your book when it’s available. And if you can get into the 100s or 1000s – that’s a lot of sales. Worth it, right?
And just in case you’re not convinced, here’s a little chart. (The geek inside would love to make this into a pie chart).
|making connections & friends||Time waster|
|getting to know the industry|
|pitching to agents and publishers|
|finding book bloggers and librarians|
|access to free writing advice (Blogs & newsletters)|
|regular writing & author chats|
|advice available from writers further up the ladder|
|finding critique partners|
|sharing the sting of rejection|
|connecting to agents and editors and getting to know them|
This is just my take on it, but if you’re interested in reading more, check out the below articles, and I may well do an extended newsletter on my own site which you can find at www.marisanoelle.com:
Marisa Noelle always has a story or two screaming to get out, but it wasn’t until she completed a few courses, including the acclaimed Curtis Brown Writing for Children, that she nabbed an agent here or there and her books began to get noticed.
Her debut, a YA sci-fi, comes out with WritePlan publishing late next summer. She has been long and short listed in a handful of competitions and was proud to be part of the UK WriteMentor program in its inception year.
She lives in the UK with her husband and three sons.