Social Media tips for writers

Social Media TreeAt LONCON3 I attended a panel for writers on the use of social media. This post is my way of sharing my notes with you and adding some observations of my own. Please do drop me any questions / comments. I believe this is an important aspect of the overall business of being a writer, particularly if you are an indie author. The panel consisted of a range of commentators, which really added to the quality of the discussion.

The panel

This consisted of Danie Ware from Forbidden Planet (London) who works with their social media channels, Julie Crisp from Tor Books plus writers Max Gladstone, Emma Newman and Wesley Chu. I thought this was a decent mix and all had plenty to say.

Key points made

These are in no particular order:

  • Writers must be on twitter
  • Writers need at least a basic blog but it doesn’t have to be all consuming
  • Writers should write first and use social media second. Tor found that even fortnightly updates can be enough
  • Social media can help you establish your identity
  • Remember social media is near-time; producing a book could be a 9 month project which is glacial by the attention span of your social media audience
  • Have a Facebook page but it doesn’t need to be your focus
  • Google+ didn’t get mentioned for a long time. It is relevant for Google search result precedence. Google Hangouts did get some praise
  • Use twitter to network not to push your latest product at people
  • Be honest
  • Do you need multiple accounts – one as a writer one for everything else?

My thoughts

I have been guilty of several failings listed above. I spend too long blogging when I could be writing (such as now!) and I did rather shout out when I released The Oxford Occultist. I future I will control how / if I tweet new releases beyond the tweet with a posting. I liked the idea that social media should be treated as though you are going into the pub. You should say something interesting to start conversation or respond to someone else. Would you walk into a pub (bar) and shout ‘I’ve just published XXX, you should read it!’

Many people I follow end up on mute due to their insistent over-tweeting or the fact that they are only tweeting to promote themselves.

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