Saturday, April 16, 2011
N is for Networking
In todays publishing world, it is vital for writers who want a successful career to do as much of the networking and marketing themselves as they can. We've talked about this before, and will talk about it in the future, because its important. Personally, I find this aspect of a writing career fascinating, and one that everyone can continually learn about and improve on, which is why I think its worth talking about every once in a while.
Right now I'm working on compiling a list of at least a couple dozen of the best websites writers can use for networking and marketing. I'll probably post that list once the April A-Z challenge is over, so get ready for that. (I'll want some advice from any of you who are familiar with any of those sites, so get ready for that too). I thought I'd start today, though, with what I like to call the Big Five networking sites:
I know these are not author specific sites, (I will get to those in the later post) but authors can still use them to reach the widest possible online audience. Facebook and Twitter are obvious ones, fairly easy to use, with HUGE audience potential. LinkedIn is a bit of a weird one, and I'm still figuring out how writers can best use it. What I've come up with so far is connecting with people in the LinkedIn groups and using your network to connect with editors, agents and publishers. LinkedIn definitely adds a sense of professionalism to your online presence. YouTube and Flickr also seem strange recommendations for people who work in the medium of words, but they are a huge resource that it would be a shame not to tap into. Really, all you need is a camera.
*As a side note, I would not recommend using your personal Facebook or LinkedIn page to connect with people you don't know, though Twitter, YouTube and Flickr could work that way. However, a Facebook Fan page is perfect for gathering a huge audience, and LinkedIn can help you make incredibly useful real life connections.
I'm saying all of this assuming that you are using these sites along with a personal author site or blog. A website or blog is kind of like home base, the place all of these other sites are pointing towards. Like the hive, and the other sites are worker bees bringing in honey (or, you know, readers). Like those smaller dragons on How To Train Your Dragon who had to bring in sheep for the big monster dragon (except the home site is probably a bit nicer and less scary looking). Like...ok, I'll stop.
It takes effort to be successful on one of these sites, let alone all of them. But it can make all the difference, and if you manage your time, energy and resources wisely, it is definitely possible. If any of you have advice or experience on these sites, I would love to hear it.