A lot of writers have recently discovered social networks, flocking to not only Facebook but also online writers’ communities such as WeBook. I’ve joined the FB stampede. From the first, I’ve had two goals: to learn as much as possible about the craft and business of writing from other people in the profession, and to build a network of book lovers who might help generate some buzz when I get ready to publish.
Learning about the craft & business of writing:
I’ve kept a small, personal account for family and personal friends, plus those who know me through soccer, Toastmasters, and other activities. For my “Dixon Rice Novelist” FB account, I’ve sought out writers, poets, illustrators, editors, literary agents, and other book lovers. On occasion I notice people in my network ranting about religion, politics, social issues and the popular culture. They certainly have a right to their opinions and often I inwardly applaud their activism. However, I strive to keep my network focused on the business of getting published; if non-writing rants are frequent, I bid farewell to these folks.
Many of the FB writers’ communities try to cover the entire spectrum. “The Novelist” is one that emphasizes improving the writing craft. “Writers Etc” seems more oriented to the business of publication: getting an agent or editor, becoming self-published or e-published, and building a platform for oneself as an author. With both types, I attempt to soak up as much knowledge as possible. I also keep my eyes out for interesting blogs and websites, and post links to them in order to make the page more helpful to others. At the same time, hopefully I’m establishing a reputation for myself as helpful, knowledgeable and motivated.
Building a network of book lovers:
Each day, I try to add at least five new friends to my network. Most are writers although others are readers or those involved in the business end – agents, editors, publicists, and so on. I’ve noticed many other writers who are also busy building their own FB network; when they add a friend, they immediately try to sell some books. I’m more interested in the long term. My intention is to distribute free excerpts and podcasts throughout my network, and encourage my friends to share them with their other friends. If the quality is there, this approach should lead to paid sales.