Getting the word out

I try to be active on social media (anyone who follows me on Twitter is now laughing hysterically).  Like many, though, I need to get a lot better.

Someone asked me why Twitter and Facebook (etc., etc.) are important – wouldn’t I be better off writing?  True, I do procrastinate a bit more than I should in checking Facebook (I’m sure many of our members can relate), but social media does serve a purpose besides avoiding work.  There’s news and information about contests – and the latest publishing debacle.  The ability to interact with writers all over the world – some unknown and some quite famous.  Moreover, there’s opportunity: Twitter hosts pitch sessions and gives agents a place to list what they’re looking for (#MSWL – for Manuscript Wish List).

To be able to play, though, you have to get in the game.  Twitter.  Facebook.  Blogging. Where to start, and what to do?  For this reason, I’m so looking forward to Saturday’s meeting.  Carol Martin will be talking social media, and she knows a lot.  She had I have had several brief chats to discuss what to cover, and those chats have left me wanting more.  She’ll start out simply (so if you have no idea what a tweet is, you’ll be fine) and let questions from the attendees guide her.

Feel free to bring your laptop or tablet and play along  Rockwell Library does have internet if you’re a Wichita Library patron.  The meeting will start at 1:30, and should wind down around 3:30.  If people are interested, there will be an informal critique session afterwards (bring about 5 pages of your work).

We’re starting to ponder next year’s meetings, so if you have any idea for one of those let one of the Board members know.  What topics would you like covered in a meeting?  In a workshop?  We’ll probably have a social media meeting at least once a year, as the internet is constantly evolving.

I’d be quite remiss if I didn’t mention National Novel Writing Month (   Granted, writing 50,000 words in a month isn’t everyone’s cup of tea, but if you need a kick in the pants it’s a fun experience.  NaNoWriMo starts November 1, so you still have plenty of time to sign up!   We’ve quite a few WriMos on the Board, so you will have company.

We did have our second write-in, which was a blast!  Our next one will be October 24 at McAlister’s Deli on Rock Road.  We totally stole the idea of write-ins from NaNo – it’s a great way to be social and yet get some work done.

Keep the words flowing!



Platform Building: Identify, Engage and Commit to Your Tribe

New home construction framing.Building a strong and successful author’s platform is every bit as vital as the construction of a dream home. It takes the raw materials of discipline and dedication to your tribe, or audience. As a writer, you are the proprietor of Company You, and must take control of your own marketing and public relations. Counting on a literary agent or publisher to handle this for you is antiquated thinking.

Pillars of an author’s platform include: book/blog writing, guest posting on other blogs, vlog/podcasts, published articles in magazines or periodicals, public speaking and networking via traditional or social media.

Identify your tribe/reader. Add value to your website/web presence for the audience. What are their characteristics?

Engage your tribe. Reply to comments and questions promptly. Write a blog. Let them know your speaking calendar. Post daily content on a Facebook fan page, Twitter feed, Google+ profile, or Pinterest page.

Commit to your tribe. Like a skilled juggler, keep the balls of social media in the air with discipline. Make a commitment to your brand and audience. Don’t let too much time go by without connecting with them. As your platform grows, the stronger it will become.

If you are unpublished, Michael Hyatt’s latest book, Platform, recommends you spend 90 percent of your time writing and 10 percent on platform building. This is true for fiction or non-fiction genres; however, non-fiction writers should have a strong online presence. You want to be considered an expert in your field.

The most important thing is to keep your numbers growing. Even if you only have 15 minutes a day, you can use the time efficiently. Post content or ask questions on your Twitter feed, Pinterest or Facebook fan page, then read two or three other’s blog posts, and give feedback.

Write a guest post on other author’s blogs, especially those who share your genre. If you offer space on your blog, most writers are happy to reciprocate. The Biblical adage, “Do unto others…” fits nicely in this case.

My blog’s focus is encouragement, so I post an inspirational quote and Scripture every day on my Facebook fan page. Consider what might add value to your online presence for your readers. Use organizational and scheduling tools like HootSuite. It’s a huge timesaver.

Check out the social media presence of authors in your genre, or one you respect. Glean what speaks to you, and then find your own niche. The time to build your platform is now, before you sell your first book. At least have the structure in place, so you can hit the ground running when your time comes.

“If you want to get a publishing deal, you need a platform to prove your books will sell.”—Joanna Penn, The Creative Penn

Sources: Who Needs a Platform?, Are You Hitting a Bulls Eye With Your Target Audience?, From Blog to Book: Building an Online Platform, Should Unpublished Novelists Be Platform-Building?; The 15-Minute Writer (Part 3): Building Your Platform, Building Your Author Platform Before The Contract, 4 Pillars to Build an Effective Social Media Platform,