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Wednesday, April 06, 2011

Five Ways Writers Can Use Social Media Effectively

Today's post is by writer, proofreader and entrepreneur Randall Davidson. Randall has five great tips for writers on how they can use and benefit from social media such as Facebook, Twitter, blogging, and so on.
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In the battle to get your work published, name recognition is everything. Many publishing houses won't even consider a book for publication unless the writer has a substantial following. One of the easiest and quickest ways to build your reputation as a writer and grow your fan base is to harness the tools of social media. These tips will get you started on the path to becoming the next household name.
  1. Use social media to market new projects. There are a lot of ways to use social media to get your name in different circles and to let your readers know what you’re up to. Using your Facebook account, you can create an entirely new page for your book, posting updates about progress and release dates; you can use your Twitter account to follow activity related to your name and/or project and interact with readers; you might even post videos onto Youtube to summarize your upcoming projects.
  2. Let your audience and potential audience know about you and/or your past projects. Maintaining a blog is a great way to convey information about your literary life and your past projects to your readers. You have a lot of flexibility on a blog to decide how much interaction you want with your audience. In addition to posting information about your personal activities, you can talk about or link to other blogs or post older projects on your own blog. Creating a podcast can be a great way to let readers hear your (uncopyrighted) work in an audiobook format; podcasting can also be a platform to talk about your influences.
  3. Build relationships with your audience and other writers. Twitter is a great medium to interact with readers; but remember that you can post on other people's blogs as well. Offer to guest post on the blogs of other writers; they’re facing the same pressure to maintain a lively blog that you are.
  4. Enhance your reputation on distribution sites. If you have a good relationship with readers, you might send out an appeal, either personally or through your blog, to contribute to the consumer reviews section of distribution sites like Amazon. Don’t grovel.
  5. Test the market. You can use a blog to release excerpts of your upcoming projects and ask for input from readers. If you are writing commercially, it’s important to know your market and, with a large readership, you can quickly get feedback.

Byline: Randall Davidson is a co-founder and the lead project manager for the innovative proofreading services company ProofreadingServices.Us. Through leading the marketing efforts for ProofreadingServices.Us, Randall has learned the power of social media to drive traffic to websites. He is committed to providing writers with the tools they need for success, both through the articles he writes and the online proofreading services that ProofreadingServices.Us provides.

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Thank you to Randall for an interesting and informative article. If you have any comments or questions about using social media to promote yourself and your writing, as ever, please feel free to post them below.

Photo Credit: The Harvest Writer by John O'Nolan on Flickr.

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Blogger DW96 said...

This is a brilliant post, mainly for its simplicity and logic. I'm already doing some of the things you suggest, Randall, but not all of them.

The only question I have is how do I find the time and write too? Guess I'll just have to get out of bed earlier ;-)

12:08 PM  
Anonymous Gibson Goff said...

Great post, Randall. I never thought to test the market using social media, the whole thing seems more opinion than fact. But, it is the readers opinion I am after.

Really cool pic at the beginning! the lighting is amazing.

Good worK, everyone!

12:45 AM  
Blogger Nick said...

Thanks for your comments, Dave and Gib. I have drawn them to Randall's attention, although I'm not sure if he will reply here or not.

And yes, I thought this was an excellent post too, concise but full of interesting ideas. I do use social media quite a bit myself these days. I know it helps drive traffic to my blog and other sites, but it can also become a bit of a time sink. I guess the art is getting the balance right, and I'm not sure if I always manage that.

Glad you liked the picture, Gib. I sourced this myself from Flickr, where I regularly find excellent photos with Creative Commons licences. I really liked this photo as well, although I suppose ideally the young woman would have been accessing Facebook on her iPad!

10:28 AM  
Anonymous Randall said...

@DW96: Thanks for your kind words!

How do I find the time to write? Great question! It's crucial to create a deliberate process around one's social media activities. Have goals that give some structure to your approach to social media and also allow you to feel satisfied with your limited efforts, so that you can get back to writing as quickly as possible.

11:43 PM  
Anonymous Randall said...

@Gibson: Thank you! Your comments mean a lot. It's important to experiment with your target audience (though don't give too much away) and social media can be a great experimentation tool for some.

11:45 PM  
Anonymous Randall said...

@Nick: Thanks for your kind words about my post. I'm so glad it has resonated with many people. I certainly agree with your comment about "getting the balance right" when it comes to using social media. It can absolutley be a time sink unless one sets deliberate boundaries/limits (see my comment to DW96). Thank you again for the wonderful opportunity! I would happy to write another post anytime!

11:49 PM  
Blogger Nick said...

Many thanks, Randall. I'd be very happy to publish another guest post from you in due course, not least because this one required so little editing!

Could I suggest you leave it a few weeks, then get back to me with any other ideas you may have?

Thanks again for your valued contribution to my blog.


11:14 AM  

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