Ah, yes, the looking glass through which we behold ourselves. Social media – where everyone’s clamouring for fifteen minutes of fame, their flash in the pan, as it were.
It’s a dangerous trap for writers.
What? I can hear you cry, but I’ve got 12K Twitter followers, and I’m voted number whatever on Wattpad, and my Facebook page is booming.
And that’s fine, but –
Here’s the big but – don’t let it take time away from your writing.
Writing well, writing succinctly, writing with strength and tenacity will shine above a sloppy novel hurriedly self-published or thrown to the wilds of Wattpad.
Now, I’m not saying ignore social media completely, and you can now find me creeping around on Wattpad as I test the waters over there, and I truly appreciate all you folks connecting with me through Facebook, Twitter, and good ol’ WordPress – but – and here’s another but – remember my time is spent writing first, and socializing second. Think of it in terms of work.
A writer’s job is to write. Networking (the all important truth in life – it often really comes down to who you know) is important – but – here comes another but – your job is to write.
If you don’t write, you have nothing to talk about, really.
I recall a literary agent saying that nobody cares how many twitter followers you have (it’s highly unlikely even ten percent will put out money for your work – heck, most folks have a had time giving their stuff away). The agent went on to say that what agents really cared about was your writing – the quality of your work, and your previous and upcoming projects
Think about any start-up business using social media.
If they have the staffing, they would hire a person to deal with social media while they dealt with product design, marketing, client relations, etc.
Which is great, but what if it’s just you? The lonely writer with only their laptop and cat for company?
Think of that start up. What’s the point of tweeting about something if you don’t have a product or service to back it up?
Social media is a tool, not an end into itself.
My advice is simple:
Be visible, maintain a presence, and decide on a path of communication that works best for you.
Different media work in different ways – Twitter is more of a flash of a sign along a highway approach, where you need to repeat your message to reach an ever moving audience, Facebook is generally more about relationship building where you get to really know your audience through their comments (rather than the ‘thx 4 RT!’ of Twitter). Wattpad is a great showcasing platform, but, like everything about developing relationships, it’s about developing relationships, and this takes time and effort.
Of course, it helps tremendously if your followers share and spread your message – and that is the power of social media, spreading a message like wildfire. And programs for scheduling tweets and posts are invaluable for maintaining a social media presence when you have other things to do (like sleep, but you still want to reach the folks across different time zones).
But, your message (cute pet videos and weird baby hair pictures aside), better be good. Or nobody’s going to listen, no matter how many times you shout it.
And that leads us right back to writing. Which is what I’m going to be doing now.
Anybody really wanting to reach me can email me directly. Otherwise, I’ll see you around online.
If you’re looking, you can now find me in a few places
Facebook Liz McAdams
Wattpad Liz McAdams @lizmcadams753
But email’s still the best way to reach me firstname.lastname@example.org