Let’s Socialize! Blogging and Social Media for Writers
“So it’s sorta social, demented and sad, but social. Right?”
Even bad boy John Bender (aka Judd Nelson) from the movie The Breakfast Club seemed to understand the benefits of being social.
That movie came out in 1985, a time when articles were only one-way arguments presented to a faceless audience—an audience with presumably too much Aqua Net hairspray. Now, we can write and get immediate feedback, share, publicize, and see who is discussing our work on social networks in real time. We can publish our own words on blogs and gather a tribe of readers around our content. We can sell advertising or products on our blog to earn a living. We can use social networks to promote our books and our author brand. And of course, we can connect with old friends from the eighties who remember popular quotes from John Hughes movies.
If you’re anything like me, you probably got started on social networks to connect with long lost friends and share photos and news with your family members. As you grew as a writer and started connecting with other writers, you wondered if there was more to it—something you should be doing professionally to take it to the next level . . . something more productive than sharing videos about Gangnam style. Maybe you even achieved a good balance but are still not quite where you want to be.
We’ve all heard the success stories—authors making over a million dollars a year because they promoted their books on social networks or bloggers supporting themselves and their families entirely through their blog. But how do we harness the awesome power of social media and use it to our advantage as a writer and author? And without getting overwhelmed by it all? You’re in luck, grasshopper. Take off your Wayfarers and pull up to the screen. It’s time to get social! This issue is all about using social media to your advantage as a writer.
A big, warm thank you goes to our freelancers and staff members:
When WOW team member Darcy Pattison approached me with a few different ideas for this issue, I responded with “Facebook!” We’ve never covered the topic before, and I am an admitted Facebook-phobe. It’s hard for shy writers like me to share my personal life with the world. It’s kind of like show and tell, but more complicated; I never know if I’m sharing too much, not enough, or marketing too much. But if you don’t overthink it and follow Darcy’s advice, you can successfully make it work for you. The first section of Facebook Best Practices for Profiles, Pages, Groups, and Posts will bring you up to speed with the basics of setting up your profile as a writer, while the next section explores creating a fan page for your author brand, followed by creating a group for, say, your book’s fans or writing friends.
Finally, Darcy helps you figure out what to post and gives you suggestions on how to spark interaction. Oh, and she has help, too! Authors Claire Cook, Susanna Reich, and Tara Lazar share their best tips!
We have a couple of SLAMs this issue, and the first one is about Social Media!
I’m always interested to hear how writers are making social media work for them. We welcome freelancer Jamie Anne Richardson to the WOW family and thank her for sharing her story in There's A Reason They Call It Social Media. Jamie liked and friended every publisher, writer, and editor on social networks in hopes to learn all she could from their statuses and maybe land a nonfiction gig that would help her promote her novel. And one day it paid off! Or did it? Find out the two sides of social media—connecting with the big guys and using social media to gain an audience. Jamie is very funny and has a great voice. Her advice is excellent, too!
We welcome back freelancer Therese Pope and thank her for the second piece of the social media SLAM, Online Reputation Tips for Writers: How to Be Your Own Publicist. Therese covers a lot of ground in this meaty article, including social media netiquette, avoiding hijackers, and how to protect your privacy. Plus, she shares tips for connecting with movers and shakers, finding media, navigating Facebook and Twitter, and researching news articles. I’m not sure which part is my favorite because it is all useful information!
We also have a Blogging SLAM!
As a writer, we already know you have great content, but do you have an audience of dedicated readers? Devon Ellington returns with her article, How to Get Me to Your Blog and Keep Me Coming Back. Learn about the key elements that attract new and repeat visitors to your blog. Devon also interviews author Lori Widmer and literary agent Marilyn Allen who share their advice. My favorite part is a list of actionable tips to drive traffic to your blog today. Give them a try and see if they work for you!
Once you have readers, why not create an additional product you can sell to those readers to generate significant income? We welcome back freelancer Steff Green and thank her for the second SLAM article, How to Sell E-books on a Niche Blog. Steff, an expert blogger with four niche blogs, tells the story of how blogging about her gothic wedding naturally led to writing an e-book on the subject based on the questions she received from fans. She also shares tips on how to sell the e-book on your blog, market it, and how advertising worked for her. It’s such an awesome story you can learn from too!
So what else can you do to monetize your blog? That’s what Margo L. Dill explores in her feature article, Where Are Your Eggs? Create Multiple Streams of Income for Your Blog. Margo interviews bloggers Catherine Caine, Lewis A., Kimberly Gauthier, and Steph Calvert who are making a living from their blogs in various ways. Find out their monetization methods and try them out on your blog! I particularly found Catherine’s outlook refreshing and applaud her for keeping it real.
I love when LuAnn Schindler interviews various guests about the same topic for our 20 Questions column. The viewpoints are always so diverse! And this time is no different. In 20 Questions: Blogging in a Social Media Landscape, LuAnn interviews Samara O’Shea to learn the ins and outs of blogging for The Huffington Post; Krista Canfield, senior manager, Corporate Communications, LinkedIn, about how to effectively use the platform to your advantage as a journalist or blogger; Josie Loza, editor of Momaha, about what sets them apart from other mom blogs across the blogosphere; and Shira Lazar, host and executive producer of What’s Trending, about starting a video blog, or vlog, and enhancing interaction.
So you probably have a blog, but do you really know the benefits of it? Make a mental note and see if they compare to this list in Allena Tapia’s Freelancer’s Corner column, Sowing and Reaping: Are You Getting These Ten Benefits Of Blogging?. Allena takes a practical approach to the topic and breaks it down. She’s not telling you how to do something; she’s sharing what you’ll receive if you stay true to yourself and use your time wisely. Plant it, tend to it, and it will be fruitful! It will make you a better writer and probably a better person.
Ah . . . Pinterest. We’ve all heard of Pinterest and may be a member and loving it, but what in the heck are we supposed to be doing with it as a writer? We welcome back Charlene Oldham and thank her for her fabulous and inspiring article, How to Promote with Pinterest. With more than a million visitors a day, you’ve probably heard that Pinterest is a great source for referral traffic. So how can you use it to bring potential customers to sites that market your books, products, or services without being all spammy with hardcore sales pitches? Charlene interviews social media experts Nicole M. Miller, Morgan Siem, Michelle Shaeffer, and Dana Lynn Smith who show you how to build connections, gain followers, and boost your website’s traffic.
With all this talk about blogs and online media, you may be wondering if there are any places that will pay you to blog or write articles. Krissy Brady answers that question with this month’s markets column, Online Markets: Websites and Blogs that Pay Writers. Online markets that pay (and pay well) can be difficult to track down, which is why writers fall into the trap of writing for content farms. Well, no more! Krissy Brady interviews the editors of five websites and blogs to find out what they’re looking for. Learn how to pitch to Make a Living Writing, Renew Every Day, Sasee, She’s Self-Employed, and The Renegade Writer. Find out their pay rates, writer’s guidelines, what to pitch, submission etiquette, and more!
We’re also proud to announce the Summer 2012 Flash Fiction Contest Winners! A big thank you goes to Marie Lamba for judging this season’s contest. Congratulations to all the winners and those that had the courage to enter the contest as well. You’re going to enjoy reading these highly creative stories!
And last, but certainly not least, I’d like to thank WOW’s editor, Margo L. Dill, for working so hard on this issue from all angles and making it a joy to read. I really worked you this month, Margo! I don’t know what I’d do without you.
On to the issue . . . enjoy!