When you first started composing your masterpiece, you probably thought the biggest hurdle was actually getting it done. By now, you’ve learned there are many more challenges than just the writing process.
You need to find an editor, a publisher, a peer review group – you need to join the growing writing communities on and offline. And, you need to engage in some serious marketing – of yourself and your book.
With each new task you face, you probably feel there is no possible way to make it all happen. That’s why you are probably freaking out right now. Brace yourself; there is one more thing you need to do…
Why do I need to worry about digital networking?!
Trust me. This new task is a good thing. Really. Your best interests are at stake here.
There are five reasons why digital networking will enhance your writing and your career:
- You’ll meet people you wouldn’t normally connect with. Do you think you stand a chance of running into your favorite author in the grocery store? And even if you did, would she take the time to help you with your writing? Online networking allows you to “meet” people who are outside your geographical region and social sphere.
- You’ll get a wider variety of ideas and opinions. Moms are great for offering encouragement, but their suggestions aren’t always objective! Connect with fellow writers and experts online and get a wealth of valuable ideas, opinions, suggestions and tips.
- You’ll learn about obscure and specific topics. How many friends and family members share your obsession with rare Egypt artifacts? If that happens to be the topic of your book, you could really benefit from the tips of an expert. Where will you find such a specialized expert? Online!
- You’ll connect with likeminded individuals. Sometimes you just need to vent. You want to rage against the publishing process, complain about writer’s block or find someone else who shares your grammar peeves.
- You’ll get real time communication. Do you need someone to review your latest passage right now? There are millions of people online who can help you out with that.
Tips for networking online with traditional social media
Now that I’ve convinced you it’s a good idea to add one more thing to your to-do list, you’ll want to know how to get started.
First, start with traditional social media networks – Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and LinkedIn.
Before you create an account on every one of these platforms, know who is awaiting you there. Each community is different; therefore, it is wise to connect on the one that best suits your purpose.
- Facebook is like your high school reunion and the biggest family gathering you’ve ever attended, rolled into one.
- LinkedIn is like the job fair you attended before graduation. The point is to get your resume into the hands of people who can do something with it.
- Twitter is like a noisy cocktail party. Party goers flit from group to group without making many lasting connections.
- Google+ is like those super specific clubs you were a member of in high school. There’s the drama team, the Spanish club, the band geeks…
(Related reading: Pinterest for writers and authors).
Once you’ve chosen your social platform, take some time to gussy up your profile. If you already have an account, you probably need to purge. If you are just starting out, get everything right from the beginning.
- Use a professional looking headshot…of you – not your dog, your adorable son, or your car.
- Get rid of any pictures that could potentially be damning (that fort you made out of empty beer cans, for example).
- Check your grammar, spelling, etc. You are a writer. Therefore, everyone is going to judge your writing skills.
Lastly, remember that social media is…social. You are there to connect with other people and network. “Selling” yourself and your book should be an afterthought.
Communities specific to writers
If you’ve mastered traditional social media and still have the time, effort, and energy to make even more connections, consider joining these communities specific to writers.
Book in a week
This site has a very specific motto: BIC HOK TAM – butt in chair, hands on keyboard, typing away madly. The site encourages users to work together; other writers can help you achieve your goals. In addition to the strong community, there are also resources, tools and challenges.
If you want to join this community, you must be serious about honing your craft. If you’re committed to improving your writing, this is the ultimate resource. Not only that, but the site helps you connect both online and offline (check out the calendar of local book signings, meet-ups, etc.).
Make new writer friends – just like you would in a real coffee shop. The interactive forum includes a variety of writing and publishing topics.
Just Do It…Now!
Did I convince you? Are you willing to add another layer of responsibility to the writing process? I promise this step will make all the other ones easier! Give it a try. Then, come back and tell me how you fared!
Digital networking image from Shutterstock.