Too many experts say writers must blog, but that may not be good advice
As writers we’re told that if we want to be successful at publishing our work, then we need an author platform. Yes, this is true. Publishers expect writers to have a platform. In fact, it seems, platform may supersede writing quality. After all, a publisher can fix our writing much easier than they can build up our author platform.
A common example of building an author platform is blogging. At one time blogging was held up as an essential requirement if a writer wanted to land a publishing deal. I think this has moderated somewhat in the past couple years, but there are still many voices saying that writers need a blog if they hope to find success.
So, do you need to blog to build your author platform?
Since I am a blogger, it may surprise you to hear me say the answer is no. As a writer you do not need a blog.
- If logging will distract you from writing, then don’t blog.
- If blogging is something you dread, then you shouldn’t do it.
- If blogging will rob you of joy or suck the life out of you, then you shouldn’t do it.
Don’t let someone guilt you into blogging if you don’t want to do it. Readers will know your heart’s not in it, and they won’t follow you. When this happens your blogging accomplishes nothing. However…
- If you like to blog, then maybe you should.
- If blogging serves as a creative outlet, then go ahead and pursue it.
- If you enjoy connecting with readers through your blog, then blog away.
A couple years ago, I gave a presentation about blogging at a writer’s conference. A few months later I ran into someone who heard my presentation, and she was quick to thank me.
She said because of my talk she decided not to blog. I was devastated and felt I had failed her. But she was quick to clarify. She said that in listening to me, she realized she didn’t want to blog but felt she was supposed to. My words gave her the freedom to say, “No,” and she was grateful for it.
If blogging is a burden, you shouldn’t do it. Focus on writing first, and worry about platform later.
Despite what seems like user apathy, Google+ continues to move forward
In talking about social media for authors, we’ve looked at Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Pinterest, and Goodreads. What about Google+?
I’m on Google+, but I often wonder why.
Google+ began six years ago as a direct competitor to Facebook. That didn’t work out so well. Though I launched my page and played around with it, I didn’t get it.
Two years ago Google+ began shifting from a basic social networking site to a content curation site. I still don’t get it. But I’m still there.
And this year, they rolled out some new features.
Maybe someday I’ll understand how to use Google+ and begin to do something with it other than automatically post my blog entries.
I want to know what you think about Google+. Do you have a presence there? Do you use it? My page is https://plus.google.com/+PeterDeHaanAuthor
Your Turn: In the comment section below link to your Google+ account or let us know what you think about it.
Goodreads is the premier social media site for book lovers
In past months we’ve covered Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, and Pinterest. One social media option is especially tailored to writers: Goodreads. “Goodreads is the world’s largest site for readers and book recommendations.” Goodreads turned ten this year. It has 55 million members, 1.5 billion books listed, and 50 million reviews. (I’ve posted 91 reviews and left 133 ratings.)
Goodreads is a great place for readers to connect and share their love for books. This also makes it ideal for the authors of those books. But don’t think of Goodreads as a place to promote books, instead view it as a place to connect with readers, and potential readers, of our books.
Right now I’m on Goodreads as a reader. If you’re on Goodreads, I’d like to connect with you. Here’s my link: https://www.goodreads.com/user/show/13489480-peter-dehaan. Send me a friend request.
Also, please share your link below. Then we can all connect.
With no shortage of social media platforms to consider, several may warrant attention
So far we’ve talked about Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, and Pinterest.
But there are hundreds of other social media platforms to consider. While some platforms are obscure, others garner much more attention.
Though some of these social media outposts are worthy of consideration, my varying degrees of involvement on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, and Pinterest already take up too much of my time. So, I’ll not add a fifth to the mix.
However, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t.
Perhaps another social media platform works for you better or more effectively connects with your audience. Then maybe you should be there in place of one of the above options.
What other social media platforms do you use? What do you like about them?
Please include a link to your pages so others can find you there.
Pinterest is a quick way to share images and connect with like-minded people
So far we’ve talked about Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn as possible social media platforms for authors. What about Pinterest?
Of the four of them, I’ve done the least amount of work with Pinterest. Maybe that’s because I’m a guy and most Pinterest users are females.
Nevertheless, I do have the beginnings of a Pinterest presence, and it’s growing little by little. I pin my blog graphics and have a board for book covers. Other boards have sayings and offer encouragement. My favorite board has a growing number of church signs, from the humorous to the profound.
Are you on Pinterest? Follow me on Pinterest and I’ll follow you.
My page is www.pinterest.com/peterdehaan. Please share your Pinterest page in the comment section below.
LinkedIn is the Social Media Platform for Professional Networking
We’ve talked about Twitter and Facebook as social media hangouts that many authors use to connect with fans and engage followers. Another social media platform to consider is LinkedIn.
LinkedIn is the social media platform to make professional connections, for networking, and to find work.
Are you on LinkedIn? I’m there. Visit Peter DeHaan on LinkedIn.
If you’re on LinkedIn, what do you use it for?
If you’re not on LinkedIn, what made you decide not to?
Please share your thoughts below, and if you have a LinkedIn account, be sure to include a link.
Being the world’s largest social media platform doesn’t necessarily make Facebook better
Last month I mentioned that Twitter is my preferred social media platform and the one I use the most. Though I’ve been on Facebook longer, I don’t find it as useful. In fact I find Facebook frustrating.
Aside from frequent changes that affect how things work is the reality that only a fraction of the people who like my page ever see the things I post. I suppose Facebook does this to motivate me to pay them to “boost” my post. Instead they’re motivating me to connect with people elsewhere.
Making the most out of Facebook is on my to-do list, but right now it’s far down that list. Maybe someday I’ll get to it—or maybe not.
Even so, I’d be honored if you’d like or follow my author page on Facebook.
Your Turn: In the comment section below link to your Facebook page or share your experience with Facebook.
The social media site Twitter is becoming the go-to platform for many
I’m on several social media sites, but the one that I use the most and am the least confused by is Twitter. I’ve grown a following, tweet and retweet regularly, and engage a bit with my followers.
Twitter is the one social media site where I’m enjoying some traction. Once a day I spend time to schedule most of my tweets for the next day, but I also tweet some things on the fly. And on most days I invest a few minutes to interact with followers and find more interesting people to follow.
I view Twitter a lot like broadcasting. Though only a fraction of my potential audience will see what I tweet, the possibility exists for anyone of them to read my tweets if they’re looking at the right time (quite unlike Facebook). I think that’s why I’m growing fond of Twitter.
If you follow me on Twitter, I will follow you back.
Your Turn: In the comment section below link to your Twitter account or leave your Twitter handle.
What do you like or not like about Twitter?
Social media is a great way to connect with others and share content
Last month we started a new feature here on Byline where we end each month giving you a chance to share with our community. We started with an opportunity to post a link to your website or blog. And if you missed that, it’s not too late to add yours to the list.
This month please share your favorite social media platform and link to your page or profile. I’m also curious what you like about it.
Remember, each time you share a link you let others know about your online presence and increase the odds of a search engine, such as Google, recommending you in their search results.
So in the comments section below, please link to your page on your favorite social media site. Why do you like that platform?
Tell us about your website or blog and link to it
As a new feature of this blog, Byline, we will end each month with a chance for you to complete the post by sharing about yourself, your writing, or your writing journey. I’ll give the topic and you provide the response. Best of all, it should be fast and easy to do.
This month’s theme: Your Website
In the comment section put a link to your blog or website. That’s it.
If you want to write more, share its name (if it has one) and a brief description or tag line.
Think of this as a non-spammy way to let others know about your website or blog. Plus each link to your site will give you a boost with the search engines.
Thanks for sharing. Have a great day!