These days, with ever-changing algorithms limiting the reach of your posts, fake accounts spreading dubious facts, and the predominance of confrontational attitudes, should writers even be on social media? At Web Design Relief, our marketing experts know that social media platforms offer an easy way to gain new fans and connect with readers, other writers, editors, and literary agents. But social media can also be a distraction and take up time that you could be using to write. Here are some pros and cons to help you decide if social media is right for you.
Writers On Social Media: Yes Or No?
Social Media: Heck Yes!
Reach new fans and readers: Platforms like Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter require different approaches, but can be extremely useful for writers. Facebook allows you to post images, create live videos, create closed groups for followers, and more. Instagram focuses on photos, “stories” that are viewable for a limit of twenty-four hours, and lets you “go live” the same way Facebook does (no surprise, they’re both owned by the same company, Meta). Twitter is fast-paced and focuses more on words and interactions with others. When you find the approach that works for you on each social media site, you’ll be able to connect with your audience and grow your fanbase.
Get attention for your writing: Spoiler alert—many literary editors consider work featured on social media as previously published, so tread carefully. Don’t post anything on social media, a blog, or anywhere on the Internet if you also want to submit that work to literary editors for publication.
That being said, you can still feature your writing on social media—if you do it right. You can write a short story, essay, or poem specifically for online use and not submit it for publication elsewhere. You can also post works that have already been published once the rights have reverted back to you; just be sure to credit the original publisher. Or you can post excerpts or teaser snippets, rather than the entire work.
You might also consider writing a short story or novel to serialize on social media. Again, this would be considered previously published by literary journal editors. But some works serialized on social media have gone on to be traditionally published!
Go viral! While getting a social media post to go viral isn’t easy (they’re more the exception than the rule), it’s always worth a try. Create posts that are shareable and that connect with your audience—funny posts are always a popular choice. If you know someone who has a larger online following than you, be sure to tag them in your post or reach out to see if they would be interested in sharing your post to their social media following.
Get more experience working on a schedule: To be successful on social media, you need to be consistent. If you post sporadically, you’ll lose the interest of your audience—however, you also don’t want to bombard your followers with too many posts every day. It’s important to attain a smart level of dependability.
Keeping to a schedule will not only make your social media more effective; it will help you be a better writer! You can use the scheduling techniques you use to post consistently to also write and make submissions on a schedule.
Social Media: Heck No!
Rather than spending your time on social media platforms, you may prefer doing this instead:
Focus on your author website: If you’d rather be blogging or simply want to have an information hub on the Internet, use your time to build or update your author website. When readers, potential new fans, editors, or agents search for you on the Internet, you want them to find a well-maintained author website with links to your published works and details about you as a writer. Use this author website worksheet to get started.
If you’re ready for an author website, the experts at Web Design Relief can help you create a professional website that suits your budget. Schedule a free, no-obligation consultation today!
Pursue contests and awards: One way to get your name out there is to submit your work to contests and win awards. These organizations usually promote their winners on their own websites and social media. Winning contests and awards can grow your readership and may even lead to increased sales!
Send out an author newsletter. A newsletter sent out on a regular schedule can be very beneficial to you as an author. A newsletter is a great way to offer your readers exclusives they can’t find anywhere else. You can offer a reader magnet in exchange for subscribing to your newsletter. Your subscribers might also enjoy engaging with you by taking surveys or answering questions about your books. And unlike social media, where access to your follower list can vanish if the platform shuts down, your email list of newsletter subscribers is yours alone!
Write and submit your work! Instead of endlessly scrolling through social media, write new work and send out submissions. Having your writing appear in a literary journal will put your name in front of a new audience. If you’re a book author, you can submit excerpts as stand-alone stories! The more publication credits you have, the more people who will see your writing and be interested in your work. And if you need help with researching markets for those submissions, check out our Writer’s Relief division!
Ultimately, the decision of whether or not you spend time on social media for your writing career is up to you. As long as you don’t let yourself get too caught up and distracted, social media can be an excellent resource for writers who want to build their audiences.
Question: Do you use social media? Which platform do you like best?