The Relationship Between Social Media & Writing
Social media: a necessary evil in today’s world.
There are great aspects of social media; like allowing us to connect with people we might not meet otherwise or even building businesses. And who doesn’t love a good meme or hilarious TikTok?
On the other hand, social media can have negative connotations or effects It can become addicting, and it is too easy to fall into the “comparison” trap.
Between conversations I’ve had with other writers, and frequent posts I’ve seen on the Scribbler Facebook page, many writers wonder how they can use social media to their advantage.
Instead of wondering How should I use social media? The real questions should be: How can I continue to create in other ways that bring me joy? And, How can I engage with potential readers and share my work with others?
Below are ways to use online platforms to build an online community, engage with others, and promote your work.
Use social media to network
Facebook: While not as popular as other social media platforms, Facebook has some benefits besides helping you remember birthdays. Facebook can be great for joining groups, participating in book launch teams, and sharing events.
Twitter: The writing community is very active on Twitter, and this is a great place to connect with other writers and agents. Popular hashtags such as #amwriting and #amquerying allow you to follow where writers are in their journey to publication, and connect with those on a similar trajectory, or who write similar topics or genres. Look up agents you are interested in querying to find their manuscript wish lists, find out when they are opening and closing for queries, and to get updates on the querying trenches. Although #PitMad came to an end, there are still some Twitter events for pitching your manuscript to agents.
Instagram and Tik Tok: Certain books wouldn’t be as popular as they are now without Bookstagram and BookTok. Even titles that have been on shelves for a while, like It Ends With Us and The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo have gained more publicity from a new generation, with the help of reels and aesthetically pleasing book review posts. I absolutely love finding new books I wouldn’t pick up otherwise through various Bookstagram accounts. Whether you want to share your best book recommendations, or find the next title to add to your TBR pile, these spaces are welcoming and share all of the relatable things we love about books and reading.
Do you have to be on social media to promote your writing and engage with potential readers? Absolutely not. Here are some other ways you can create content and grow your audience if social media isn’t your first choice.
Start an email list
No, I’m not talking about the seven emails you get a day from one store letting you know about the same sale that was going on three hours ago. Email newsletters can be a more direct, authentic way to share content and connect with those who are interested in your work! You can send them out as often as you like, and can provide information on your writing, updates on your publishing timeline, book recommendations, or any other information your readers might be interested in.
Create a blog, website, or podcast
A blog or a website is a perfect place to house all of your content, and to give your community a landing spot to find you. Podcasts are growing in popularity, and are a unique way to connect with your audience and go in-depth on topics that matter to you.
Write reviews to support authors
If all of these ideas seem intimidating, start with a smaller step to get comfortable posting and sharing online. One of the best things that readers can do for writers is to leave reviews of their books. Reviews can increase sales for a book, and on platforms like Goodreads, you can connect with other readers who enjoy the same kinds of books you do. And then when it’s your turn to have your book reviewed, you will appreciate even more how much those reviews mean to an author!
There is no perfect formula for building an online presence, and I don’t think all of these are required steps. Do what you are comfortable with. If you want to be active on all the social media pages, have at it! And if not, that’s great, too.
Finally, engagement is a two-way street. If you want your audience to engage with your content, you have to engage with others’ content, too. Comment on posts, subscribe to newsletters, or retweet a cover reveal. Writing can be lonely, and all of these platforms can help writers stay connected.
Written by Connie Spyropoulos
Connie Spyropoulos is a middle school literature & language arts teacher and aspiring author. When she’s not teaching or writing you can find her reading or fishing. You can follow her on Twitter at @MsSpy95.