Writer Wednesday: Should an Unpublished Writer Bother with Social Media?

A fellow writer shared one of my Darla Writes articles yesterday via Twitter. It’s fun to see how many of my old articles are “evergreen” — I wrote this two years ago and Johanna still finds it useful. With such a nice compliment from her, I figured this would be a good post to share for today’s Writer Wednesday.

I read two articles from different authors that offer good, solid thoughts about the social side of writing. Both point out that many writers view Twitter, Facebook, blogging, book tours, and all that other marketing stuff, as trivial. To these writers, socializing gets in the way of their writing.

And if you’re an unpublished writer like me, social media use may be especially bothersome because you just want to work on your book. Once you finish it, then you’ll think about socializing and promotion.

Many writers burn out from social media expectations. The first article I read along with its comments section were full of this sentiment. Writers are planning to scale back on the use of social sites. They may even quit using some of the social media apps all together. Writers write, they say.

In the second article, I read this:

With 1.5 million books published last year (2012), what we are seeing is that lots of folks are doing just that: writing. Which is why I focus more and more not on getting one’s work published, but ensuring it is read; ensuring it finds a reader who appreciates the work, and is affected by it in a positive way. (From Should Writers “JUST” Write? by Dan Blank via Writer Unboxed)

His thoughts sat well with me. “Focus … ensuring it is read … finds a reader … appreciates … affected by it in a positive way.”

Yes.

Dan says a lot more in his article, but that paragraph sang out to me. He tells how social media (and marketing in general) can move from being a chore to being a sweet connection, genuine, and for the enrichment of both the writer and the reader.

We live in a vastly different world than our beloved writers of old (and not so old). Advances in technology have created a living, growing space for millions of writers to share their craft. We can connect with readers in numbers and ways our writing forefathers never imagined.

If you are an unpublished writer, don’t wait to have your name on a book before stepping into the social media stream. Now is the time to discover who your readers are, to find out what your peers think, to seek the advice of people you respect.

Socialize on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn. Use them for well wishing, photo sharing, and research. Share your hobbies on Pinterest. Subscribe to and comment on blogs. Find a great recipe or learn a new craft. Join a writing group. Follow an agent. Get your mental floss.

Use the amazing wealth of tools available to learn about writing. Share about writing. Read other people’s writing. Give people opportunities to read your writing.

Sure, my goal is to be published one day. But more important to me is that my writing gets read, now in my beginning stage, and once I have a work published. And I believe social media use is that bridge for me. It is time well spent.

And, if you’re careful, you’ll also have a lot of fun.

You can socialize as little or as wildly as you’d like. But do it, not because you think you have to, but for the joy of what you’re giving and getting.

(Thanks to Carrie Mumford for her post Is Social Media Mandatory for Writers? which I reference here.)

Updated. The original article was posted in February 2013 on DarlaWrites.com

Want more? I’ve gathered hundreds of my writer articles, favorite websites, and other helps for you on my Resources for Writers page.


Darla McDavid

I'm Darla, a writer of stories about family, friends, goodness, and God. I love cats, coffee, gardening, and tall stacks of books. Click here to subscribe to my blog. You can also find me on Facebook and Instagram. In my other life, I'm an administrative professional, a Sunday School teacher for preschoolers, and the proud mother of Dan.

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