The era of social and digital media has changed a lot of things for professionals of all kinds. Writers, in particular, have been able to cut the middleman out (publishers) and have begun finding better ways to promote their work in our growing digital media.
Writer and micro business advisor, Anora McGaha, says that establishing a platform is key for writers everywhere to build the necessary relationships to succeed.
“You’re an investment,” said McGaha. “You can self-publish, but unless you’ve built an audience, it’s really hard to sell books.”
But where does one even start to build an audience? Here are some ways writers can promote their work in a digital age:
The Perks Of Using Social Media
Freelance writer and editor for hire, Victoria Shockley, uses social media and other digital media to share a lot of her work and market herself as a writer. “I’ve built my Twitter following to around 3,300 people, and I frequently tweet links to new articles or interviews I’ve published,” said Shockley.
Shockley also uses LinkedIn to share her work, though not as frequent as she does on Twitter. “LinkedIn is an invaluable promotion tool because I’m able to list projects and link samples of my work directly from my profile,” said Shockley. “I also use it to reach out to other writers and editors in case they have any projects for me, and I actually landed an internship for the summer this way.”
Current intern for online magazine, Women Writers, Women Books, Rachel Lewis uses social media to promote her professional brand. “As a writer, I recognize that the best way to get my writing out is to make a name for myself,” said Lewis. She’s created her professional brand by running a Twitter account, as well as other online tools.
The Importance Of Blogging
For Shockley, guest blogging and blogging for her own site, has helped increase her exposure as a writer. “Periodically I will offer to comment on someone else’s blog if they do the same for me, which affords me the opportunity to have them visit my website,” said Shockley.
However, the rise of blogging has made it easier for anyone to self-publish content, which has made it competitive for writers everywhere to stand out from the crowd.
“Blogging and incorporating SEO into what I have to say has been a real learning curve,” said writer and co-author of Interrogation Tango, Victoria King-Voreadi. Though she does not condone sacrificing good content to search engine optimize a piece, King-Voreadi thinks it’s been “very encouraging to see that there is a lot of great material being shared out there.”
Writer and photographer in Scotland, Annette S. Thompson, thinks that updating a blog regularly – as well as social media accounts – are things all writers should put some time into.
“Blogging is my ideal platform. Although I take my writing very seriously, I don’t take myself at all seriously and blogging lets me show more of my personality and sense of humor in a way I find much more enjoyable,” said Thompson. “Judging from my blog comments, other people seem to like this, too. I blog about everything, not just writing, and I believe this attracts a wider range of readers.”
Engage Your Audience
The goal for every writer is to build relationships with their audience. Following online etiquette, among other things will engage readers and get writers more readership, promotion and even new friendships.
“Being courteous online is vital…[such as] not expecting others to retweet you, but first and foremost see how you can help others, said writer in practice, Barbara. By liking a writer on Facebook, or retweeting that person’s book, or even recommending that writer to others via direct messaging, these are some of the new ways writers can build relationships with others.
Some of the challenges that come with engaging your audience in a digital age is the fact that everything is fast-paced and keeping a reader’s attention is hard to master. “If you do not appeal to your audience in the first ten seconds or so, they will and do close the page and move on to something better and more interesting,” said Lewis.
However, though living in a digital age where there’s a lot of pressure to keep a reader’s attention, and quickly, Lewis went on to say that this disadvantage can also be an advantage for writers.
“I am able to get the same information out into the world in dozens of different ways that are tailored to my audience,” said Lewis. “We have so much opportunity to reach out to people that are even beyond our intended audience – our communication truly has the ability to be worldwide… Our communication is unlimited. To me, that is a huge advantage of the digital age.”
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