Tweet, blog, and be merry

People, you know I’m a worrier. I worry about whether enough people read my blog, if I have enough followers on Twitter, or whether just posting blog updates to my Facebook page is enough (it isn’t). Then I read a bunch of other writer and agent blogs who tell me all the things I need to be doing to market myself, and end up worring that I’m spending too much time online and not enough time on the really important thing: writing a great book.

We’re all worried. And yet the advice never seems to match up. How’s a writer to separate the wheat from the chaff?

The first thing about using social media well is branding, says Kirsten Lamb. And you do that with the name that’s going to appear on your book jacket, not with a kooky handle like trinigirl_18. The reason is that when you use Twitter, and comment on other blogs, people will get used to your name, so when they see your books, they remember who you are.

This is excellent advice, except, some people who are doing really well at social media and making names for themselves don’t do it. In fact, @inkyelbows on Twitter has a second account by her real name, Debbie Ridpath Ohi, and advices people to keep their personal and professional lives separate (more on that later).

Another piece of advice is to write about what you’re passionate about, i.e. writing, and to keep your posts focused. This applies also to Twitter, says Ohi, who will un-follow people whose primary focus isn’t writing about writing.  Agent Jane Friedman agrees, and even offers some tips on what to blog about. However, Lamb says that you probably shouldn’t focus on blogging/tweeting about writing since pretty much every writer out there is doing the same thing. Rather, she advices profiling your potential reader and writing about the things that they are interested in that also appear in your books. For e.g. if you write fantasy, your blog and tweets should probably be about that, rather than “Top 10 tips for writers” since everyone has posted one of those darn lists.

Friedman also has advice on how best to use Facebook to promote your professional self. In her mind, it’s better to do everything on a personal page, and not force your family and friends to “fan” or “like” what’s basically a marketing page. Well, I already blew that one, though I don’t think anyone felt forced to join. (Did you?) And clearly there are those like Ohi who disagree.

So should you keep your worlds separate? Or make everyone your buddy? Should you write about writing, or the topics your readers like?

The answer to that is: Do whatever the heck you want and quit worrying about it.

I think the point I missed about social media is that it’s supposed to be fun. Something I only remembered this week when I got chased by a rabid groundhog and immediately thought it’d make a funny blog post. So what if @inkyelbows stops following me. (I like her. I hope she doesn’t, but I can’t worry about that.) The operative word is “social.” Writing is hard enough work. Don’t make this hard, too. Just tweet, blog, and be merry.

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6 thoughts on “Tweet, blog, and be merry

  1. Kristen Lamb says:

    Great blog and thanks for stopping by my blog and quoting me, :D.

    I have no issues with writers blogging about writing. But I have been in sales a long time, and here is the deal. You fish where the fish are.

    Too many writers moan and groan that no one reads and can’t seem to figure out where the readers are. Even NY Times Best-Selling Author Bob Mayer (whose built his social media platform off my template) made the statement that Twitter seemed only great for networking with other writers, but was lousy for finding readers.

    Well, I told him to go look at his blogs. For the past year, all he had blogged about was writing, publishing, agents, e-books…all in all, things that WRITERS found interesting. If you want to sell to more than just writers, you have to appeal to the READERS. My mother buys more books than she will ever read…and she really doesn’t give a rip if the e-book means the end of the Big 6.

    So, feel free to blog about writing. I think it makes you stronger at your craft. But, my advise is that you will ALSO need to blog to captivate and convert READERS….and those people are interesting in your topic (not the world of finding an agent).

    Thanks Tracey and good luck!

  2. Tracey says:

    You’re totally right, Kristen. I’m probably going to mix it up more on the blog. Not all about writing, not all about the backyard antics of my insane rodent neighbors. (They are kind of hysterical, and probably deserving of their own blog, though.)

    Thanks for stopping by. You had good quotable stuff. I’m sure I’ll quote you again!

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