Should Writers use Social Media?

There’s been a debate recently about how useful social media is for writers. So, should writers use social media?

Yes, Writers Should use Social Media because:

  • Readers and potential readers can find and connect with writers;
  • The writer is part of their work so marketing should include the writer as well as the book;
  • Social media can help search engine optimisation which helps readers find about more about the writer and where to buy the books;
  • Social media humanises the writer, making them more than just a name;
  • Social media enables writers to keep in touch with their audience even when there’s nothing to promote;
  • Social media offers the opportunity for writers to write about topics and issues they care about, becoming more than a name on a book’s spine;
  • If writers are disciplined enough to write a book, they are disciplined enough to ensure that social media does not impinge on writing time.

No, Writers Should Not use Social Media, because:

  • Writers use social media as a vehicle for incessant self-promotion with very tweet or status update or blog article mentioning their latest book with a ‘buy now’ command;
  • Writers want to separate themselves from the book they are promoting and let the work speak for itself;
  • Writers don’t see the point of social media;
  • Writers don’t see why they need to engage with audiences and help publishers promote their work;
  • Writers make a social media faux-pas and think, because they’ve made one mistake, they should stop using social media, even though a book goes through a lot of edits and rewrites before becoming publishable;
  • Writers see social media as a time-consuming distraction, getting in the way of their writing;
  • Writers believe social media myths so attempt to blog daily, be constantly on-line and end up failing to give themselves sufficient time to actually write.

How Should Writers use Social Media?

  • Appreciate social media is a platform, not a destination, and see it as a complementary part of a wider marketing strategy;
  • Research – writers know what publicity they like doing so which social media platforms offer a way of doing what you like? There’s no point creating a blog if you see it as a time-drain that stops you doing your real writing because you’ll discourage readers;
  • Find out where your readers or potential readers are: there’s no point joining Facebook if your readers are on twitter;
  • Commit – set up a blog posting schedule that suits you, set aside time in your writing schedule to catch up with status updates and tweet, but make sure that social media time doesn’t get in the way of writing time. You don’t need to be online when you’re writing;
  • Social media is not a direct sell, but a supplementary sell. By talking about your book, its characters, its topics, linking to interesting articles written by others that touch on themes mentioned in your work or concerns you have, readers and potential readers can connect with you. Some of them may buy your book or commission work from you.

Above all, remember you as the writer are in control. Don’t sheepishly follow myths and guidelines from self-appointed gurus. You don’t have to spend 80% of your writing time on social media, you don’t have to blog every day, but you do have to choose how you use social media to benefit you. A thousand followers may look good, but only a fraction of those followers will buy your book.

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2 Responses to “Should Writers use Social Media?”

  1. Sheenagh Pugh Says:

    I’d go along with all of this, except “you don’t need to be online when you are writing”. Alas, I do sometimes. If I want to check a reference, (as you often do if you’re writing about a historical subject, for instance), or a quote, it’s quicker online than any other way – or it would be, if I didn’t then go on to check email and faff around on FB….


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