Writers and book lovers have been using social media as a platform to establish a presence and gain more exposure for their work for years. This concept may seem intimidating to beginning writers or those who are nervous about displaying their creative work for such a wide and public platform. There are some essential ways to not only gain a level of comfort in what is being shared online, but also utilize social media as the perfect track to becoming part of the wider community of authors, poets, journalists, bloggers and more who are working together to raise their voices up through social media.
One of the most significant aspects of your writing identity online is your actual identity. There has always existed a phenomenon in which people felt it easier to share their work while hiding behind a pseudonym. For early female writers, using a male pen name made their work not only marketable, but accepted into a publishing house (S. E. Hinton, for example). This common practice may allow some safety for you to post whatever your heart desires without the fear of personal ramifications, but can limit your ability to validate and claim your work as your own – especially if you are interested in marketing yourself to a larger publishing company.
For those of us involved in the publishing process, the easier it is to ascertain who the person behind a specific piece of writing is, the easier it is for us to feature them on a platform where they can gain even more exposure for their work. Your readers and followers want to know who to applaud for your talent! Check out Platform: Getting Noticed in a Noisy World for ways to ensure you can make a mark on social media and build your own tribe of followers.
However little or much you know about social media is not a deal breaker. Having an account on popular platforms makes it easy to observe what fellow writer are up to. During NaNoWriMo, even Instagram is abuzz with pictures and motivational messages from writers who are busy making their manuscript dreams come true. Author Saadia Faruqi noted on the Daybreak Press Publishing Webinar that writing is a lonely business – so establishing a community and connecting with others who are in the same field is a huge help for those long, slow segments of time in which inspiration is low or the wait time to get published is longer than you had imagined. (Glaciers melt faster!)
To get started on a social media platforms and begin sharing your work, jump in with eyes wide open! Follow writers, publishers, and other people you find interesting and see what posts they have featured on their pages on a regular basis. You’ll notice that the good social media accounts not only display their work, but also include other information like where they get their inspiration, motivational tips, fellow authors and their book promotions, references to writing tools they’ve used, and even personal snippets of their everyday lives. You can mix, match, and decide where your comfort level lies when beginning your writing journey on social media.
Keep in mind some simple Do’s and Don’ts to help you along!
Do ENGAGE with other accounts while you post on your own.
Don’t just post or re-post something without a personal comment or connection
Do FIND writers in your niche or locality: there are plenty of people who can help you get feedback on your work and vice versa. Along with other local writers, you can create wonderful opportunities to network and grow together in writing groups, book clubs, and discussion circles.
Don’t forget to use tags and hashtags to connect your work to larger movements – if you notice there’s a significant day or moment that fits into your writing, connect to it with a hashtag.
Do PROVIDE catchy images and captions to go along your posts, especially on visual platforms like Instagram
Don’t assume all posts and pictures have to be your own – there are free stock images available online that can provide high quality pics for your posts.
Happy writing, everyone!