Showing posts with label facebook. Show all posts
Showing posts with label facebook. Show all posts

Monday, October 8

What Is A Writer's Platform?

What Is A Writer's Platform?
This is the first post in a series on the subject of creating a writing platform. 

This is how I think of a writer's platform:
A writer's platform is a way, a vehicle, for reaching out to, and building, community.
Jane Friedman, editor and former publisher of Writer's Digest, tells us that editors and agents are "looking for someone with visibility and authority who has proven reach to a target audience" (Jane Friedman, A Definition of Author Platform).

So I guess the 64 thousand dollar question is: How does one develop visibility, authority, and the ability to reach out to a target audience?

Here are a mix of online and local activities you could use to improve your visibility, build your authority and improve your ability to affect your community/tribe.

Connecting Online: Social Media

There are many ways to connect online so I'm only going to discuss the main ones. For a full list see the wikipedia page on Social Media.

Website and/or Blog
I think having a digital home on the web, a place your readers can go to connect with you and discover your work is the single most important aspect of social media for a writer. Most writers that I know of have both a website and a blog--I recommend this--but some just have a blog and it works out fine for them. I do think it is a must for you to have your own domain name. That gives you control of your virtual home.

For why you probably want both a website and a blog see my article: How To Build A Platform: Why Every Writer Needs A Website.

For more information on setting up a blog see: How To Start A Blog.

Facebook & Twitter
If you want to build a platform I recommend you actively use either Facebook or Twitter. If you have the time, you can be actively engaged with both--and I do think it's a good idea to have both a Facebook and Twitter account--but writers are busy people. It's okay to pick just one to spend a majority of your social networking time with.

Which should you choose, Facebook or Twitter? It depends on you. If you're already engaged with your readership on Facebook then go with Facebook. If you prefer Twitter and have built up a list of followers, then use Twitter. I only actively use Twitter. I have a Facebook account but I rarely visit it unless I'm notified someone left a comment on my wall. (For tips on how to increase the number of followers you have on Twitter see: 19 Ways To Grow Your Twitter Following.)

Video presentation (e.g., YouTube, Vimeo)
I think Video is a vastly underused area. I first discovered Joanna Penn through her YouTube videos and, through them, found her blog. Here is an excellent article on how to get started: On Becoming A Multimedia Creative Producer. Joanna Penn Interviewed By Greg McQueen.

Write articles for popular websites
You probably won't be paid for this, but it's a nice way to build a resume and, if you provide a link back to your weebsite, an excellent way to get new readers. For more on this read: The Secret To Making A Living As A Writer: Work For Free.

Connecting to your local community

Go to book launches and signings
This is a great way to connect with the writing community in your area. While online contacts are wonderful, nothing can replace meeting with other writers on a regular basis.

Also, it can be advantageous to be included on mailing lists. Writers can be a generous bunch so you could get advance notice of which publishers are looking for what kind of books, upcoming contests, and so on.

Do public readings
Check with your public library. Sometimes they're open to writers, self-published or otherwise,  giving readings of their work.

This can be a great way to get publicity, but I wouldn't want to take this step myself unless I had already developed a following a local following, however small, or I had made connections with local writers whose readings I had attended.

Teach a course
In my city, individuals can submit course proposals to community centers. If you've written for a number of years, or are a publisher, editor, scriptwriter, or if you know something about blogging, or website design, and so on, why not create a course around what you know and offer it to the public?

I'm sure it wouldn't pay well, but it would be great for your writing resume and it would increase your exposure to your local community.

Be prepared when you meet potential contacts
Print out business cards. This is especially helpful at writers' conventions, anywhere you'll want to give out the address of your website or yoru email adress. For instance, I attend SiWC every year and have found it's been a great way to make contacts within the writing community, local and otherwise. Nearly everyone there has been friendly and eager to talk about their latest project and--amazingly!--eager to hear what others are doing.

Often pleasnt chit-chat ends in the exchange of email addresses and it is much more professional to offer your new acquaintance of buisness card than a scrawled address on the back of a napkin. (Been there, done that!)

Also, the back of a business card is a  great place to put a bar code that encodes a URL and can take someone right to either your website or the launch page of your latest book.

Other articles you might like:
- Jane Friedman: How To Build An Awesome Twitter Bio
- How To Become A Full Time Indie Author
- Penelope Trunk Discusses Time Management

Photo credit: Aleeir

Saturday, July 7

WorldCat: Find Books In A Library Near You

This is a fantastic idea! Ever wondered if a certain book was in a library near you? I know I have. Here's a page that takes the pain out of your search, and it doesn't just work for books, you can use it to locate things such as CDs, DVDs and Articles. (If you'd like to try it out for yourself, go here: WorldCat: The World's Largest Library Catalog.)

To try it out I entered the city I live in and typed in the title of one of my favorite books, Lord Of The Flies, by William Golding. After hitting the enter key I was given a list of links to various editions and formats. I clicked the first link and was presented with a list of libraries in my area that have the book, what format the book is in, the distance to the library, and a list of links to information and services the library provides.

As if that weren't enough I was also presented with links to Amazon, Barnes & Noble and Better World Books in case I wanted to purchase the book.

At the very bottom of the page I was presented with a smattering of reviews Lord Of The Flies has received and which rate it on a scale of 1 to 5. Which brings up the issue of how useful reviews are.
One reviewer on gave Lord Of The Flies one star out of five and, which may be worse, 102 people agreed with that rating! Let me quote from this review:

See, I would have cared a bit more about the little island society of prepubescent boys and their descent into barbarism if you know, any of the characters had been developed AT ALL
As I say, the mileage you get from the reviews will vary. By the way, I can't give you a direct link to the review I quoted, but you can read it here, it's the last one on the page.

WorldCat: The Site For Mobile devises
WorldCat also has a site for mobile devises (WorldCat: Mobile Web Beta) so I thought I'd try it out on my iPad. This is terrific! It works just the same as the standard website but it seems more streamlined and user friendly.

WorldCat on Facebook
WorldCat also has a Facebook app, to learn more about that go here, WorldCat search plug-ins, or head straight over to Facebook's WorldCat application page.


Monday, July 2

Aherk! Makes Writing App 'Write Or Die' Look Tame

With the writing app, Write Or Die, if you stop typing for too long you can lose your writing, but with Aherk! you could lose your reputation.

From GalleyCat:
The new Aherk app will help you blackmail yourself into meeting your literary goals. The free service lets you pick a goal and save a “compromising picture” of yourself and use it as “knife on your neck” reminding you to finish your project.
Tell us what it is that you want to achieve and set a deadline. Upload a compromising picture that will be posted to Facebook in case you fail to achieve your goal. After your deadline expires, your Facebook friends will vote and tell us if you achieved your goal or not … No boring graphics and calculations, extensive how-tos or cheesy ‘you’re awesome, go get’em!’ texts. It’s just a knife on your neck that will keep you on your toes while your friends are watching.
Here's the complete article: Blackmail App for Writers. Aherk! is still in beta, but it looks as though it is open to the public.

Interesting idea. Perhaps more fans would friend their favorite authors on Facebook if it was known they were using this app. What pictures we might see!

On second thought, that might not be a good thing ...

Thanks to Elizabeth Spann Craig, mystery writer par excellence, for tweeting a link to this article. Elizabeth has a great Twitter feed which you can view here: @elizabethscraig.

Remember, whatever it takes, keep writing!

Related reading:
- Write Or Die: The App
- 4 iPad Apps For Writers
- Conflict Creation: The Needs Of Your Characters

Tuesday, August 2

Building The Perfect Facebook Page

Tim Ware, owner of HyperArts, recently posted on Techipedia about creating the perfect fan page. I have a fan page, but I took the link off this blog because I wasn't happy with how it looked and, as a result, I was wasn't using it.

I've been searching for a great article on how to build a better fan page and I think this is it. Hope it helps you too!

By the way, if anyone would like to leave a link to their fan page in the comments section, please do!

Wednesday, July 20

Flipboard: Best Free App Ever

Actually, Flipboard is one of my favorite apps, whether free or paid, and the one I use most often.

I love the way the app displays twitter feeds like a virtual newspaper, taking the links tweeted and displaying the first part of the article so I can easily scan it to see if I'm interested in viewing the whole thing.

From Flipboard's description in the App Store:

Named Apple's iPad App of the Year and one of TIME's top 50 innovations of 2010, Flipboard is a fast, beautiful way to flip through the news, photos, videos, and updates your friends are sharing on Facebook, Twitter, Google Reader, Flickr, and Instagram. See your social media in a magazine layout that is easy to scan and fun to read. Catch up on the latest stories, videos and posts from popular publications and people such as National Geographic, The New Yorker, Wired, Rolling Stone, Oprah, Forbes, Robert Scoble, and Brain Pickings' Maria Popova. Share articles and photos, comment on posts, and like or favorite anything. Customize your Flipboard with sections created from your favorite news, people, blogs, and topics.

Well said. I know this might sound like a paid advertisement, but I'm not receiving anything in exchange for this review. Truth is, I was going through my feeds on Flipboard and having trouble coming up with a story or topic that grabbed me when it came to me: Blog about Flipboard! It really is, for me, a killer app and the unbelievably great thing is that it is free! Something that is important to me as a starving artist. :)

If you're interested, go check it out at the iTunes store.

Flipboard at the iTunes Store

Sunday, July 10


Circles, hangouts and huddles, oh my!

Writers can be out of the information loop, so focused on their little patch of the news world that big news events can take them by surprise.

Or perhaps it's just me.

Until yesterday I had never heard of Google+. Since then I have diligently read up about it (see the links below for articles I thought were informative) and am very excited.

Facebook never worked for me, perhaps because I have groups of friends with very different interests. My writing friends aren't interested in my personal life and many of my closest friends don't read, so you can imagine how interested they are about developments in the book world!

From what I've heard about Google+ it also seems to be an especially good fit for a writer who has more than one pen-name. Writers can organize their readers into groups and send each group only the information they would be interested in. Less spam might mean more satisfied readers, and that would be great.

The Google+ Project
What is Google+?
Google takes on Facebook with the Google+ project
Google Makes Facebook Look Socially Awkward