Social Media and Writing Part 3

Social Media Writing Part 3

Social Media Writing Part 3? Well, it’s more like┬áSocial Media and Writing Part 3. Good lord, I do write when I get going, eh?

These posts are related to a Chuck Wendig post on these topics.

When we last left, I was talking about some things not to do. Here are a few more.

You don’t have to be everywhere online

Don’t become a one-armed paper hanger online. Just like with athletic training, rest (e. g. taking breaks) is a weapon. Furthermore, too many posts will burn you out and they will probably end up hurting each other.

Now, this does not mean you take three years between blog posts. It does not mean you never tweet! Rather, the idea is to say what you want and need to without overdoing it. You do not need to get back to people in five minutes. Even big-time professionals take some time. And yes, I am including big-time professionals who have people to do all of this for them. If it bothers you, you can always set an expectation on your blog or Facebook page or the like. But do yourself a favor: don’t be too specific, so as to allow for the occasional weird hiccups in life. If your laptop is damaged during a vacation, you’ll thank me for this.

Don’t chase the shiny stuff

Here is a corollary to the previous tip. By shiny, I mean new platforms. Hot platforms are fun and they can be exciting. Furthermore, it can be helpful to get in on the ground floor, as it were. Or that can be a waste of your time. Most of us remember when MySpace was big, and Facebook was an upstart. But here we are now, years later, and we can be killin’ it on Facebook without having been there at the very start. So relax. And do some research. Maybe the shiny thing would fit your work and your readership perfectly.

Timing is everything

We have all heard that expression, and it’s true on social media. But it’s also true in writing. When a big zombie television show stops making new content, for example, readers might be interested in almost continuing the story (I don’t mean fanfiction; rather, I mean similar works in the genre but they do not infringe on copyright). That could be an opportunity to ride the wave. Or maybe people are sick of those stories, and that’s why the show was cancelled. Without further information, either theory is plausible.

Use your spots but don’t be annoying

What? While you should not be a 24/7 advertising channel (nobody likes that, not even born advertisers), you can and should take advantage of certain spots and placements. For example, when you add a picture to a blog post, what do you put in the alt= attribute? Nothing? Sacre bleu!

Excuse me for a moment while I swoon in horror. At the absolute minimum, put your blog post title in there. Even better, add your name or your blog’s name.

Or, are you published and your work is available on Amazon? If it is, then you need to take possession of your author page. Make it so that, if someone clicks on the author name (that would be your name), then they get somewhere. Somewhere with a bit about who you are, and what you are working on next.

When people click on the author’s name, they want information. So feed it to them.

But don’t force-feed them, by providing a Twitter stream that is a nonstop ad for your work. That brings me to my next point.

This is a community. Act like that

Way back, when I was a kid (so, the late 1960s, early 1970s), suburbia was where you could borrow a neighbor’s hedge clippers. Or they would come over for coffee and bring a cake and you would temporarily take possession of the plate it was on. In both instances, you would return the articles as soon as possible, cleaned and ready for reuse. If you broke either, you told the owner, you apologized, and then you presented them with a brand-new one. Or if their kid had a recital and you were invited, you did your best to go. If your dog got loose, they helped find the beast. You get the idea.

People still help each other, of course. And I grew up far from Mayberry. So the concept here is: build each other up. Don’t break each other down. Got praise? Then tell everyone. Got criticism? Then tell the writer privately. Don’t lie on your public reviews, but don’t tear people new ones, either. Even bad writing can be considered unique or ambitious.

And that reminds me: if you get someone’s book, either free or cheap or used or at full price, review it!

Don’t sacrifice writing time for social media

This one is important. Yes, you need to promote, and social media is a part of that. Promotions can also include holding book signings, or donating your book to your local library, or handing out bookmarks. But don’t lose your writing time because you’re out socializing (or in. You know what I mean). I use my calendar program and I just make a weekday appointment with myself. Now, I don’t always keep that appointment. And the one hour I set aside sometimes means 2,000 words and sometimes it means 20. But the appointment is still there. I urge you to make a recurring appointment so that writing is as important to you as visiting the dentist or changing the batteries in the smoke detector.

And finally …

Hard work is everything.

Overnight success stories take years.

You are worth it.

This has been Social Media Writing Part 3. Now back to you, in the comments section. Did I leave anything out? Do tell.