Today, for the first “What I’ve Learned Wednesday”, I want to share about the infamous phenomena called “Social Networking.” I started writing my novel in December 2009. It wasn’t until the summer of 2010 that I became obsessed with getting it published. With talking to a few people, they told me a piece of WAY important advice. Social Network. Social NETWORK. SOCIAL NETWORK. Being an aspiring author, no one knows you at all—at least in the publishing industry. Even though I don't have a finished manuscript yet, I can be doing something incredibly important to get my name out there, right now and not later. Therefore when I have a finished manuscript, more people will know who I am than would have otherwise.
I already had a blog that I randomly posted on about my book, but was not consistent with posting. I decided then and there that my book is important enough to take on social networking. I WANT people to read my story, and NEED it to be published, therefore I had to place myself into the industry. I started blogging on a consistent basis, loving every minute of it. I found myself thinking of new things I could post—funny stuff, writing related stuff, etc. Be prepared because you’ll become obsessed with it.
In the process of social networking, you’ll eventually fall into a routine and be thinking of new ways to attract people to your blog. I share my posts on Facebook, Twitter, Google Buzz, and via email. You’ll find yourself revamping your blog to make it attractive and user-friendly. Make sure it screams YOU! You are selling yourself, so be yourself.
But. The key to my social networking absolutely was joining Twitter (emphasis added to express major I-can’t-control-myself enthusiasm). Twitter developed into a writing forum for me. Within a short period of time, I was chatting with people I didn’t even know. We discussed our love of writing and reading, even stuff not related to writing. At the beginning, I was given some valuable advice from one of my “Tweeps.” She said, “Don’t just talk to people, talk with people.” I have tried to implement that advice into my networking, especially on Twitter. Start a conversation, open up dialogue, and be yourself in the process.
If there is one piece of advice I can offer any aspiring author, it is to social network. NOW! Don’t wait. It takes some time to get into the swing of things. You may not have many people follow your blog at first. I am still working on a consistent following. You may not have people commenting on your posts, but keep going! Be persistent. Have patience. And be consistent. If you are consistent, people will wonder what you are going to post next on your blog, or say on Twitter. They’ll be expecting it. Once you have a following, you owe it to them to post, to tweet, and—in the end, have a book people want to read. Social networking has pushed me to get to the point that I’m at now—almost having a finished manuscript in hand.
Last tid-bit of advice from me to you is: Follow. Other. People’s. Blogs. You will learn an amazing amount of knowledge from them about writing and how to present your blog. Make sure that you comment on their posts. This will get your name out to people who follow the blogs you comment on. Comment on other people’s tweets as well.
Social Networking is the way I hope to get my baby—my novel—published, and it’s way fun too!
PS: This can be useful for other things you are trying to promote. It’s not just for writers.