Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Social Media for Writers: Which to Use

What Social Media Should Writers Choose?
There's a LOT of social media out there for authors to pick from.

    Twitter. Instagram. Facebook.     Pinterest. Snapchat. Google+.
Goodreads. LinkedIn. 
    Reddit. Quora. YouTube
    Blogging. WattPad.

It's overwhelming.

What are all these for? How can we, as writers, make the best use of these social media networks? Which social media are necessary for authors? Which can we go without?

**Sidenote: If anyone has any tips for me re: how to be better at Tumblr, or more social at Goodreads, I WOULD LOVE THOSE TIPS, thanks!**

Oh, and in case you are interested here are links to my social media ;)



(yes I am pretending that logo is for Goodreads)

And without further ado, here's my take on the Must-Haves, Maybes, and 'Mehs' of social media networks for writers:

Must-Have Social Media for Authors
Twitter Love
  • Twitter

    Why? It's THE place for writers to connect with other writers, exchange tricks of the trade, find instant accountability (via writing sprints), provide encouragement, keep up with literary agent and editor wishlists (via #MSWL), find calls for submission and participate in pitch contests.

  • Instagram

    Why? It's where young readers are hanging out. In case you hadn't heard, Facebook has, if not died exactly, certainly lost its 'cool factor' with young adults ... probably about the time everyone's moms joined. Meanwhile IG is still extremely popular. And while writing may not seem like a very photogenic endeavor, reading definitely is. Follow other writers and book bloggers and see how they're transforming their feeds into works of bookish, coffeeish art.

  • Tumblr

    Why? Okay, I'll admit. I've only been on Tumblr for a few months, and to be 100% honest, I still don't get the appeal, nor do I understand what I'm supposed to do on there beyond re-blog others' posts. However I do know that, like Instagram, it's one of THE places to connect with young adult readers. So I've taken the plunge. Any tips?

  • Pinterest
    Why? It's easy, fast, and fun. It's also where all the crafty/artsy/DIY-ery/geeky/bakery/fashion-forward/travel-bugged gals are hanging out. If any of them are your audience, you need to be on Pinterest. Set up some writing and writing inspiration boards, follow some people, and spend 2 minutes a day re-pinning things (and/or pinning your blog post if you have one). Super fast.

  • Blog or Website
    Why? It's important to have a permanent location on the web with info about you and your writing. How "social" you get with it is really up to you. Maybe you want to blog several times a week, do lots of bloghops, guests posts, giveaways, and discussions. Maybe you only want to post ocassionally. Maybe you just want a static website. Do whatever suits you. Just make sure you have some way that readers can find you. Blogger and WordPress make it really easy to set up. I know I'm on Blogger, but I think, to be honest if I had to do it all over again, I'd go with WordPress.

    Bonus: If you're really nerdy check out Social Media Demographics from the Pew Research Institute, and a Teenager's View on Social Media (and part 2)

Pretty Important (...but if you're not there yet, whatevs)

  • Facebook Page (or Author Profile)
    Why? It's how you'll connect to your Facebook Friends. If you're anything like me, your FB friends are mostly (with some exceptions), NOT your writing colleagues, fellow bloggers, or target audience. They are, however, your friends "in real life" and as such, they *just might* want to know that you're an author, and/or when your book comes out!

  • Google+
    Why? I don't use it. You don't use it. But someone out there might still use Google Plus, so maybe just chuck links to your other social media up there and set your blog to auto-copy there and forget about it. That's what I did. Easy peasy.

  • Goodreads
    Why? Well if you're a fiction writer, I'm going to hazard a guess that you also read a lot. And if you're trying to support your fellow authors, you're probably writing a lot of reviews (and posting them on Amazon, B&N, Kobo etc.... right??). Goodreads is a great place to keep track of your reading lists and wishlists, and to post ratings and reviews. I don't use it much in a "social" capacity, but I'd like to learn. Any tips?

  • Online Writing Forums and Groups

    • Absolute Write
      Why? The AW Water Cooler forums are a fantastic resource for aspiring novelists, particularly if you have lots of questions about the traditional/self-publishing process, need to find beta readers, or want your opening pages or query critiqued.

    • Reddit
      Why? I'm a  newbie to the YAWriters subreddit, but thus far it seems like a great place for authors to exchange ideas/tips with other authors. I have no idea if there are other subreddits that are equally as good for writers. Anyone recommend any?

    • Facebook Groups
      Why? Well, in contrast to other social media, this is where the old folks hang out. So if you have any of those in your audience, you may want to get on board here. There are a lot of facebook groups out there focusing on a wide array of topics (writing, reading genres, TV show fanclubs, hobbyist groups, blogging groups etc). There's also a wide array of content and quality of content in these groups. Join some, see if they seem like a good fit. If not, then don't bother.

      For me, the ones that have stuck so far are: YA Sci-Fi and Fantasy Readers, Sci-Fi Writers, and Aussie Bloggers.

      And of course I can't forget to plug my own group: Mums Who Write!
      While it was originally formed by Sydney dwellers, we certainly wouldn't turn away any writing mothers who'd like a little extra support and community!

Meh. Only If You Have Time ...

I wont talk about any of these in detail. Some of these I participate in, others I haven't gotten around to trying, and still others I've tried and went "nah, not for me." These can probably all be great resources, but might be tailored for specific purposes.

  • WriterPitch
    This is a new forum for novelists seeking representation. It's kinda cool and flashy! My pitch is here, but I haven't done much beyond posting it and commenting on others' pitches.

  • YouTube (for posting Vlogs)

  • LinkedIn
    Okay, realistically, like Facebook, we ALL need a LinkedIn, but beyond the basics ... meh

  • Quora
    Are you an expert in a particular field, or need one for research? Try Quora!

  • Snapchat
    Snapchat? For writers? I don't know, BUT 50% of Americans ages 12-24 use it. And some people are talking about how writers might tap in: here, and here, and how John Green tried and abanonded it here. Personally, I just have trouble snapping a decent photo without my toddler grabbing my phone, so ...

  • Flickr
    If you're a photographer, you're probably on here already. *Waves* I haven't posted anything in ages, but I'll probably get back to it when my YA sci-fi is released, as there's a photography related element to it that I want to play around with. If you're not a photographer, but you do blog, I hope you are taking full advantage of Flickr's awesome Creative Commons database. You can like sort by color of photo and everything!

  • DeviantArt
    Again, another great place for artist types to share their work, but other then ogling, I know nothing about the social/community side of things

  • WattPad
    I'm embarrassed to say that I have no idea what Wattpad is other than that some writers use it ... for like fanfiction and stuff? I don't know! Anyone?

  • Triberr
    This is a network to help make tweeting about others' blog posts easier. Basically, you join or create a "tribe" and every time someone from your tribe makes a blog post it will all go into one feed where you can schedule a pre-generated tweet about their post with one click. I'm new to it, but to be honest, it seems a little like a dying network. Maybe I'm wrong?

Add-Ons for Social Media Timesaving:

If you're starting to expand your forays into social media, you're probably looking for ways to streamline things. But remember, DON'T do things that take the "social" out of social media. That is to say, be careful not to over-automate. Consesus seems to indicate that automating retweets and/or link-shares/shout-outs is probably okay. But be sure you're ALSO posting conversation-starting, off-the-cuff stuff too, and be available to chat when you do that.
  • Tweetdeck or Hootsuite
    I use Tweetdeck, and it is GREAT and the only way I can handle looking at Twitter and the nearly 1,000 people I'm following. Why? Because I can divide up my feed into columns by "list" and also add columns for certain hashtag searches. I'd be lost without Tweetdeck. Honestly, without it, I'd probably never use Twitter.

  • Buffer
    If you have a set time of day where you sit and read blog posts/tweets etc, but don't want to spam your followers with a whole bunch of shout-out re-tweets or FB shares at once, use Buffer to schedule them in intervals.

    IFTTT (short for "If This, Then That") is like the Mothership of all automation. Bascially you can make your own recipes to automate ... anything. Set up instagram to auto-post to Twitter or Facebook, or Tumblr. Have tweets get saved in a spreadsheet in Google Drive, get Blog posts or Pinterest pins to auto-share on your Facebook Page or Tumblr. Seriously, the recipes are endless. Once you set a recipe, it will run in the background, whether or not you are there. Sign up for the daily emails for a while, as they are filled with good "recipes" you might like to try.
    Just don't go too crazy automating everything. Make sure it's content that makes sense to have on two social media platforms (i.e. the platforms reach different audiences, but both audiences would enjoy the content). For me, I've whittled it down to having my Blog posts auto-share to my Facebook Page and to Tumblr.
Well! After that once again insanely long blog post ...

What about you? Which do you think are the most important social media platforms for writers? Which are the least valuable? Why?


  1. O_O There are soooo many.

    I stick mainly with Twitter and blogging. I do use Tumblr, but mostly for my own entertainment. I don't have the time in my life for all the rest of it. The more I try to do, the less time I have for that really important thing - writing!

  2. Whoa--get to know Wattpad at once. Margaret Atwood and Paolo Coelho are both on it among others, and writers have made huge deals on there as well. It's mostly young folks, but some of us older folks have found audiences and connections there as well. It should be much higher up on your list!

  3. Oh wow, I don't think I realized how many social media platforms there are!! I'm feeling a little overwhelmed! Lol. As of right now, I'm struggling to keep up with a blog, a Facebook page, and Twitter. I would like to get on Instagram, but I haven't taken the time to do it yet. Thanks for this very informative post—I love how you laid all the social media platforms out there and described their relevance for writers!! Awesome! :)



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