Using Social Media as a Tool—The RIGHT Way

Listen to this podcast episode and author interview here!

Something I hear a lot about when talking with other writers is there seems to be a similar fear of social media at first. I’m not sure if it’s just certain age groups who aren’t used to using different sites like Twitter, Instagram, Tik Tok, etc. But the general consensus is that—it’s scary! Not only are we putting our personalities out there for people to see, we’re also sharing one of our biggest vulnerabilities—our writing! It can like laying our deepest, darkest secrets out in the wild for everyone to see. And if you’re not the type of person to do that, it can be a huge hurdle to overcome.

I know I talk a LOT about how important the writing community is, but I just want to focus on how to use social media platforms as a tool in your writing career.

Yes, it can be helpful if you’re trying to sell your books, but if you don’t use social media the best way, it’s not going to turn out very well.

One important thing you should keep in mind is that people on social media are looking for connection. Something familiar, something they can relate to. So if you’re scrolling through your Twitter feed and you see a fellow writer who’s asked a writing-related question that you can relate to or have advice on, jump in the conversation. That’s the great thing about social media platforms like Twitter—you can literally join in on any conversation you’d like.

The more you can engage with your peers, the more respected you’ll be. And when you can gain someone’s respect, they’ll recognize you. When you have a book coming out, and you’ve already established a peer relationship with them, they’re going to support you. And the other side of that is once you’ve connected with others, you can support them.

Social media relationships are very much a two-way street. And I don’t mean this in the “you scratch my back, I’ll scratch yours” kind of way. Agreeing to promote each other’s books just to promote them and get exposure is the wrong kind of exposure. No one will want to buy your book if all they ever see is advertisements trying to entice people to buy your book.

And keep in mind that, even with big publishing companies, you’re still going to need to do the majority of the marketing for your book. This is why it’s important to have a presence on social media so you can prove to agents and editors that you’re ready and willing to take on that responsibility. Getting a head start on building your platform and interacting with a) other writers and b) the general public is never a bad thing.

Engagement. Is. Key.

Don’t be afraid to jump into those conversations. Talk with other writers. Get your name out there. Follow other writers whose interests you share. Even if they write in a totally different genre, but you like their personality or their writing advice or whatever it is, you can still connect with them over a shared love of creativity. Even if you traditionally publish your books and don’t have a need for a graphic designer to make you a book cover, but you really love someone’s work, make sure you suggest them to a writer you might come across who’s looking for book cover artists.

The writing community is full of so many different creatives—it’s not just about the writing. It’s writing, it’s editing, it’s graphic design, it’s screenwriting, it’s poetry, it’s horror, it’s romance, it’s critique groups, it’s group chats, it’s agents. The possibilities of connections are endless, and the more connections you make, the more engaging you are, the more chances you’ll have at succeeding on the marketing side of things when it comes time to promote your books. Because at the end of the day, of course that’s what we all aim to do: sell our books. But who are we going to sell them to if we haven’t made those connections and forged those important relationships already?

So, yes—I do ask many of my guests about their experiences with the writing community and social media as a whole because I’m interested to see what their opinions of it are. In this day and age, we couldn’t survive as creators and artists without some sort of social media presence. And the greatest thing about it is that it’s never too full at the inn. There’s *always* room at the table for you.

And as long as you put out positivity, you’ll get it back. I’ve found it to be such an amazing tool to not just learn about writing techniques and meet other writers in my genre and discover new books. It has grown my confidence as a writer by leaps and bounds. It’s grown my confidence as someone who can talk to others by leaps and bounds. It boosts me up when I’m having a down day because of a rejection or running into an obstacle in my current project.

Here are some tips to make sure you can glide in smoothly:

Make sure you have a bio in your profile that introduces who you are and what you do. If your main purpose for that account is to learn about writing and share your publication successes, make sure your bio reflects that. If you want to connect with other writers and artists who share similar interests and personalities, put something in your bio that you think will attract those people. And remember, if you’re trying to get published, it’s quite possible that an agent or editor could either stumble across or look for your account, and you want to make sure your bio is professional yet hints your personality. Some of my favourite bios have a little splash of humour in them. If I see an instant connection, I’m going to follow that person. A writer who is owned by a cat or a dog? Done. A writer who loves coffee and wine? Done. A writer who likes Tarot and is obsessed with Outlander? DONE.

Don’t be afraid to click that follow button for superstar writers. Remember, they were once standing right where you are. Unsure of what to do, not confident in their skills, scared to put themselves out there. But they did—and now look at them. You can show your support by following them, but you also never know what you might learn from them in their posts. You never know where you’re going to end up down the road.

Have a professional looking head shot if you can. Some people aren’t comfortable with showing their face for various reasons, and that’s ok, too. If you don’t want your face on social media, use your logo, or use a photo of your pet, or some cover artwork for your book. Something that tells us something about you without revealing your face.

If you’re really not sure what to do, just hop online. Create that account and start surfing around the feed to see what others do. Reach out. For the most part, we don’t bite! And those that do… aren’t worth being friends with anyway. And that’s really what we are—friends. Social media and the virtual world allows us to connect and create friendships with people from all over the world and all different walks of life.

But before you go trying to sell anyone your books, engage. Connect. Form those friendships, learn from your peers, teach others behind you.

So, one of the friends I’ve made along the way is today’s guest author. He’s a shining star in the writing community; always positive and upbeat.

P.L. Stuart was born in Toronto, Canada. He holds a university degree in English, specializing in Medieval Literature. P.L. is a member of the amazing Before We Go Blog blogging Team, headed by the awesome Beth Tabler. He is an avid supporter of fellow creatives and proud member of the greater writing community.

The best-selling A Drowned Kingdom chronicles flawed and bigoted Prince Othrun’s journey towards change, and his rise to power in a new world after the downfall of his homeland, which is based on Plato’s lost realm of Atlantis. A Drowned Kingdom is mentioned in the esteemed Kirkus Magazine’s recent Indie Issue among “Four Great Examples of the Genre” of fantasy. P.L.’s next novel, The Last of the Atalanteans, Book Two in the The Drowned Kingdom Saga, will surface in Spring 2022.

P.L. is an avid supporter of fellow creatives and a proud member of the greater writing community, which includes readers, writers, bloggers, editors, literary agents, and more. He currently lives in Chatham, Ontario, Canada, is married, with seven children and one grandchild. When not writing or engaging in author-associated activities, P.L. is a voracious reader, and loves to review books. He also loves spending time with family, tries to get some exercise time, and watches Netflix. Connect with P.L. on Twitter, Instagram, or on his website.

Published by kathleenfoxx

Author of domestic thrillers and gothic horror.

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