Friday, July 31, 2009

Can Social Networking and Online Marketing Take Over a Writer's Life?

Reaching out to readers and potential readers is important, but don't let it take away from your writing time.

You've written a new novel and it's coming out from the publisher next month. Or maybe you've self-published a collection of short stories online. Or maybe you just like to write for online sites such as Triond.

Under any of those conditions, you want people to read your work. Sure, the money you could make is nice, but you also just want to be read.

To help grow your fan base and to hopefully gain potential readers, you decide to check out some of the social networking sites, online marketing sites, forums and similar places that allow you to promote your work and yourself.

There are tons of these Web sites out there that could be of use to writers. Facebook, Myspace, StumbleUpon, Digg, and Reddit are just a few of the online places a writer to use to toute their work. How do you know which one to use? Trying to use all of them would be time consuming.

And here is where many writers run into problems online. There are so many different ways and sites to promote one's work, it becomes difficult to choose which sites to use and how often to go to them.

It can even turn into a nightmare if you've signed up with 10 or more sites and try to go to each of them every day. You end up spending more time in forums and chatting and promoting, etc., than you actually do writing and editing your work.

That's not good for a writer.

The key is to find the right balance for yourself as a writer. Sure, you can go ahead and join all the different sites just so you'll have some presence there, but I'd suggest not visiting more than a few a day. Otherwise, you'll always be online and never in your word processor.

It's easy to become too caught up in the online world of marketing and networking. Not only could you lose writing time, but if you are promoting yourself too much you could end up becoming annoying to regular users of the sites. That's right, you'd become a spammer, and once you receive that label you've hurt your chances of turning others onto your writing.

Still, using the Web for promotions is a given nowadays. It has to be done. Picking which sites to use regularly is really up to you. Try a few different ones, see which places are the most comfortable for you, then hang out there from time to time.

To get a little more constructive with it, you could even come up with a schedule. For example, maybe on Mondays and Wednesdays and Fridays you will spend an hour a day online at Facebook and Reddit, then Tuesdays and Thursdays you hope on over to StumbleUpon and the Amazon forums.

Just remember to keep it fun and to keep writing.

Other Writing Links

Dealing With Negative Reviews as an Author
Fiction Writers Need to Know Their Weapons
Promote Your Writing by Promoting Others

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