3 Ways to Advance Your Writing Career: Part 3

Last week, I spoke about how to advance your writing career while still writing your novel.  You can do this by devoting some attention to 3 important things:

1. Publishing Short Stories
2. Professional Development
3. Social Networking/Promotion

This week we’ll focus on social networking and promotion.

   

          Social Networking and Promotion

Take a look at around you.  Almost everyone is plugged into their phone, tablet, or computer.  A recent study found that Americans spend 27% of their time on social media. In our day and age, if you aren’t devoting time and attention to promotion and networking online, you won’t get much of anywhere.

Now, if your goal is to publish a book just to publish a book, giving it out to friends and family, that’s fine.  But if you have bigger dreams, dreams to reach a nation-wide audience, or even a global audience, you should start building your social media and networking platform now.  It takes time and energy to promote yourself, and if you start while you’re writing your novel, you’ll be experienced and (hopefully) known, by the time you’re ready to publish.

      Online social media and networking

If you want to go super low-tech and easy, make a Facebook page for your book (or for you as an author).  It’s super easy to set up and 100% free.  Facebook, however, is limited.  You can use it to connect with and find new readers, but you are limited on what you can do, and what you can post.

Though a Facebook page is a good first step, I highly recommend making your own blog or website.  Check out my post on how to make your own blog here.  When you have your own website/blog, you have a platform to make whatever content you want available to your potential audience, in whatever form.  Having your own website also puts you a step above the masses of wanna-be’s.  It marks you as serious and professional.

Once you have your own website or blog, you can start meeting people and building contacts.  Reach out to your current friends on your Facebook page (directing them toward your website).  For meeting new people and building a large audience fast, however, your go-to will be Twitter.

Twitter enables you to send short messages to a large number of people at once, sharing information about yourself, your topic, and your book.  It’s a way to keep your audience informed and involved on a daily basis.  Here is a helpful article about how best to use Twitter to promote yourself as an author.  If you’re not familiar with Twitter, or need help to get started, check out this article.

Facebook, Twitter, and your own website are a good place to start.  Get comfortable with these at least, before moving on to other sites.  Once you have the basics down, check out some of the other popular social networking sites that can help promote you as an author such as LinkedIn, YouTube, Instagram, and Google+.

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     Real Life Networking

It still exists?  Yes, yes it does ;).  Though online networking is growing more and more important, face to face contacts are still just as vital.  Hard work and talent won’t do much good if you don’t have personal relationships with people who will get you where you’re trying to go.  This type of networking is more focused on getting contacts in the professional circles of writing and publishing, more than trying to build a fan base (this can be done both online and face-to-face).

Your first step is to join a writing club or organization in your area.  There will be one, or many, go ahead and Google it.  Not only will your fellow writers encourage you, they will also provide feedback, experience, and general knowledge that you’ll greatly benefit from.  I’m a member of the Cherokee Roundtable group based in Louisville, KY.  They are amazing, wonderful people, and I’ll be publishing a short story and a poem in their upcoming anthology (being released in Sept, stayed tuned!)

You should also try to join various organizations online.  I have a wonderful Beta Readers group I’m a member of on Facebook.  It provides a large pool of potential beta readers and experienced writers I can tap for feedback and writing advice.   She Writes is a wonderful writing organization for women.  If or when you have money to spend, consider joining something like the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writer’s of America, a national organization of writing industry professionals.

Look around you, explore your local community, ask fellow writers who and what organizations they recommend, then start getting connected.  Louis Pasteur said “fortune favors the prepared mind.”  Fortune also favors the prepared writer.  Prepare yourself before your book is finished.  Then, on that fine day when the last edit is done, your book will be ready for the world, and the world will be ready for your book.

What about you?  What social media sites/methods have you found most successful? Any tips or advice on how to promote your book before it’s finished?  Thank you for your comments!

Next week I’ll give an update on my novel.  I also plan to post a review on a recently published book by a good friend of mine who was the first to introduce me to the idea of publishing my novel.

Your weekly does of cute (Gizmo is taking the week off.  Do you have any idea how tiring it is to be cute all the time?).  Disclaimer: once you click on this link, you may be sucked into YouTube for a good hour before you escape: Simon’s Cat: Double Trouble