The writer’s conference I attended last September offered several workshops on building a social media for writers and building a platform. It was all a bit overwhelming, and so I did what I always do when I’m confused. I buy books and study, and then I go balls to the wall with trial and error and error and error.
But that’s how we learn, isn’t it? Learning is uncomfortable. There’s no way around it. That’s why we study, practice, and repeat until we master the skill.
To that end, I read two books that I highly recommend to other writers interested in building a platform and a tad anxious with where to start on social media.
Book titles are linked to Amazon:
Social Media for Writers: Marketing Strategies for Building Your Audience and Selling Books, Tee Morris & Pip Ballantine, Writer’s Digest Books. 2015. 277 pages.
Morris and Ballantine have penned an accessible, thorough resource on all things social media for writers. They open with a couple chapters on blogging via WordPress and Tumblr. They also address opportunities for writers in podcasting.
The information they provide is a great springboard, although you will need other resources in order to set up a blog if that is your intent.
See Blogging for Writers if you’re interested in more of a step-by-step tutorial:
Where Social Media for Writers is extremely valuable in its examination of Facebook, Twitter, Google+, YouTube. Pintrest and Instagram.
Each form of aforementioned social media is thoroughly examined in an easy-to-read format. The author’s use of subheadings helps the reader navigate through the text to find that which is most helpful.
The authors explain the scope of each form of social media–its purposes and its practices. They cover basic how-to’s as well as what not to do.
Also helpful are text box sections throughout the book that are labeled BOOKMARK. These are the equivalent of the writers looking you, the reader, straight in the face and giving you the plain, bald truth.
Morris and Ballantine then turn to the second half of their title: Marketing Strategies for Building Your Audience and Selling Books.
They explain everything you ever wanted to know about SEO (Search Engine Optimization) and marketing your book by networking with others.
The appendices will walk a newbie through setting up each type of social media. It alone is worth the cost of the book for anyone struggling with the answer to the question: Where do I start?
The writers also maintain a blog in which they post updates to the ever-changing technological aspects of social media, and they invite readers to sign up to keep up.
This is a valuable resource you will want to keep on your bookshelf.
Create Your Writer Platform: The Key to Building an Audience, Selling More Books, and Finding Success as an Author. Chuck Sambuchino, Writer’s Digest Books, 2012. 244 pages.
If you don’t know the name Chuck Sambuchino, you should. He writes the Writer’s Digest Magazine “Breaking In” column–a monthly feature promoting debut authors and their breakthrough books. Who among us wouldn’t LOVE to be featured by Sambuchino? It would be a dream come true second only to selling a manuscript to a traditional publisher.
In addition, Sambuchino edits a number of Writer’s Digest reference books including Guide to Literary Agents and Children’s Writers & Illustrators Market. He is also a humor writer.
But accolades aside, this is a great resource. Despite it being five years old, it is still relevant. Unlike Social Media for Writers, this book only briefly addresses the how-to’s and whyfor’s of social media.
Its focus is on the actual need for platform–how to create it and what to do with it when you have it.
Sambuchino distinguishes between the types of platform needed by writers of nonfiction vs. writers of fiction.
What I especially loved about this resource is the author interview section where Sambuchino includes one-on-ones and responses from a variety of writers, both fiction and nonfiction.
For anyone considering indie-publishing, this is a must-read, although those writers aspiring to go the traditional route would likewise benefit from reading this cover-to-cover.
Like it or not, all of us need to have a platform if we plan to put our writing out into the world. Start here. This book is your first step to getting one.
The book is laid out in an easy-to-read format with subheadings and text boxes. It’s the kind of read that would be useful to revisit after one develops a platform for a shot in the arm.
I highly recommend Create Your Writer Platform to any writer aspiring to publish. It’s a social, global world, and your readers are waiting for you.
But first, they have to find you.