I’m going to mash the last two posts into one giant post, because there’s a lot of overlap and I’ve been busy this week.
Things I’d wished I’d known when I started writing:
This boils down to two items.
1. Passive voice. I started out writing papers in university, where the passive voice is used extensively. Coincidentally, it was the first thing to go in my creative writing efforts.
2. Show and Tell: Everyone needs to look this up if they don’t already know it. Don’t tell the reader what’s going on. Show it. Animate your characters, set a scene, describe things. When writing takes on a cinematic quality, the story comes to life.
Almost everything else boils down to World War Comma. Commas are mean jerks that will screw up your sentences. Do your research.
Now, for social media and networking:
I’m big on Twitter and Facebook. I’ve never tried Pinterest and I stay away from Goodreads. Working a full-time job, I need to prioritize. I’ve noticed great results with Facebook and Twitter, so that’s where I put my time in.
Here’s the list of DOs:
1. Do engage. Talk to people. They talk back, they’ll retweet your stuff, talk you up to their friends and just be plain awesome if you’re fun to talk to.
2. Keep it (mostly) relevant. Some personal stuff adds flavor and connection. On that note, keep it positive.
3. Set a schedule. This can be with a tweet scheduler, or just a time of day that you log in. Try to do a little bit every day, even if it’s just a short progress report. You’re building a brand, and for that you need constant exposure.
4. Learn how to use social media. Read about the platform and its tools. Figure out if there are any communities or tweet chats that are worth joining.
And some DON’Ts:
1. Don’t spam. If I memorize someone’s tweets, I drop them. I’ve read that 90% content, 10% obvious self-promotion is the way to go.
2. Don’t whine. Life sucks, but if you want to be a professional then don’t habitually bleed all over social media. Doubly so about book sales. Remember, you’re awesome, your life is awesome, everything is awesome. (Especially your book.)
3. If you must tweet excerpts, don’t shorten words into textspeak. Also, make sure said blurb makes sense. When I skim my twitter feed, half of the quotes I read get an “ooookaaaaay…?” reaction. Don’t be that guy. Make sense.
4. Don’t get into fights with reviewers. It doesn’t matter that they didn’t like your book. Thank them and find more reviewers.
5. Don’t mistake social media time for “work.” You’re not working if you’re spending all of your free time on twitter. Social media has diminishing returns. Unless you’re in a tweet chat or event, there is little to gain in spending more than 15-30 minutes at a time on social media. The best way to promote your book is to write more books.