Networking for Writers: Pros and Cons

Posted: April 16, 2013 in Details about my books, Writing Stuff
Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , ,

It’s been awhile since my last post, and I apologize to all the loyal followers that were distraught over this. (Uh, Jian, the only follower that was remotely bothered was… you.)

Ignore the parenthesis. Anyways, I wanted to talk about the pros and cons about networking. What I mean by networking is social network sites such as Twitter, Facebook, forums, Goodreads, blogs, and all that stuff. They’re all very important for writers. We want people to read our work, but how do we let people know about our work? Say it with me – Networking. So, I thought long and hard about it, and came up with a Pros and Cons.

Let me start with the cons.

1. In Twitter, if you’re new and want a lot of Followers, you simply follow a whole lot of people. What I do (and most likely, what a lot of others do) is look for other writers with about 200 some followers, and if you see they more or less follow the same number of people, that means they will likely follow you back if you were to follow them. That’s how I got to 200 Followers. However, the problem is that your Twitter feed is bombarded with advertisements, blogposts, etc. I’m okay with that, but the thing is… very few actually click the links. Why? Because it’s very easy to get hacked on Twitter, and no one wants to risk getting hacked. In fact, my Twitter account got hacked awhile ago, through a Private Message. In fact, I got hacked more than once. This is really annoying, because it means I had to change my password several times. And several more times after that because I kept forgetting them. (Your memory is awesome, Jian!)

So, odds are, if you’re posting links to your latest blogpost or book, only five out of twenty people actually click it. It’s unfortunate, but it’s true.

2. Here’s something I made a mistake of not doing. When I initially started following people at random, I didn’t really look at their Tweets before doing so. What ended up happening was that a week later, I kept seeing Tweets about some really inappropriate stuff… and praises of Fifty Shades of Grey. Which is just as bad as Tweeting inappropriate stuff, if you ask me. So, of course, I unfollowed. But, I became a lot less attentive to tweets because I just didn’t want to end up clicking a link and seeing inappropriate stuff. That’s a mistake that didn’t have to happen, so it’s something to look out for.

3. Character limit. I don’t know about you, but I am really talkative and wordy. (We know already…) And since people aren’t always going to click your links to your book’s excerpts, you’d benefit by including a short summary or a short excerpt from your book. Unfortunately, there is a 160 Character Limit on Twitter which prevents you from doing that. So, people are normally forced to post four different tweets where all they do is continue from where they left off.

4. So far, I’ve only been talking about Twitter, but let’s talk about Facebook, too. The reason why people normally use Twitter for advertising is because Facebook is where all their friends and family are. And they don’t want random people adding them as friends on Facebook due to an advertisement. They could block their photos, and choose only a “select” group of people to see them… but that’s a real bothersome process. You could start a Facebook page, but it works both ways, really. Three out of ten people will not Like because they do not want some random person to suddenly add them. May not seem a lot, but it adds up.

5. Trolls on Twitter. Considering the fact that we literally cannot choose our Followers on Twitter (unless you privatize your account, which defeats the purpose of using it to advertise), the chances of having trolls exponentially increases vis-a-vis Facebook. Whether you’re Tweeting a link to Neil Gaiman’s new book, or Tweeting about the movie you are currently watching, there is always a risk of a troll trying to dampen your spirits. They aren’t as numerous I guess, as they are in Youtube comment sections, but they’re still there, and you should keep an eye out for them.

6. This is actually a “spin-off” from the #1. Since you can normally get Followers by first following a lot of people, your Twitter feed is clogged with advertisements. However, the problem is that you may be following friends, family, or authors you love, and it’ll be difficult to see their latest Tweets. Unless you obsessively check their Twitter pages to see their latest Tweet… which I did, but seriously, it’s not for everyone. Unless you’re a big-time actor, celebrity, or writer – you won’t get Followers easy, and that means it’s hard to be selective of which people you follow.

I think that’s about it. I know, it sounds like I really hate Facebook and Twitter. But now, I’ll move unto the Pros.

Pros:

1. Like I said, you can’t be selective about the people you Follow, but in my experience, this has worked out to my benefit at certain times. Because of this, I got to see a Tweet from Bane of Kings about a Guest post, and I was able to send him a Private Message about doing a guest post. And he, surprisingly enough, agreed! Imagine my surprise! I was really ecstatic when this happened. So, you may find a plethora of new opportunities in Twitter.

2. Everyone has a chance of becoming a friend. It’s true. It’s very easy to make friends on Twitter, and I’ve become friends with a lot of writers through Twitter. It’s also a great place to get some writing advice. For example, when I first started using Twitter, Ben Galley, one of the youngest Self-Pubbed authors followed me. And he was nice enough to respond to a few of my writing questions. It was really great.

3. Easy to keep in touch. You can do this both on Facebook and Twitter. My old friend and I, for example, live in completely different timezones. So, if neither of us get to come online on Skype to have a chat about what happened and all, we Tweet to each other. Normally, I just tweet to him: “You’re horrid at keeping your appointments.” And he Tweets back a witty reply. This can be done on Facebook, as well, but considering the fact that I don’t have a character limit there, I spend thirty minutes writing a long letter. The amount of witty jokes I can fit in is immeasurable!

4. Blogs. Oh, they’re tons of fun to read. I’ve followed quite a few people on WordPress, and the majority of them are writers, and I get to read about cool, new interesting stuff. My friend, Caleb Hill, writes reviews on books I’d never even heard of, and that’s always a joy to read. I learn a little something about poetry from Louise. And I learn about realism in writing from my beta readers, T.K. Trian.

5. What blogs can do for you. Up above, I talk about what you can find out. Now, I’ll talk about what you can do with blogs. For example, I can write about Networking as much as I want in a blog, and someone may Like it. As writers, we love to be validated. And if even a single person Likes one of our posts, we are over the moon.

31 Likes

Imagine my surprise and happiness when I saw that 31 people, in all, had Liked my post on the mistakes I made as a writer. If I’m over the moon at just one Like, then I was out of this solar system when 31 people Liked it. It’s really great to see that people think your views are cool, and that your writing was good enough that they weren’t cringing the entire time they read it.

Of course, it takes awhile to get to a point where there’s a reasonable chance of you getting 1 Like per post. In fact, when I first started out, I didn’t get Likes for a few months. So, you need to stick it out, but it will pay off.

6. Support. You can receive the support of your cool Followers just by asking them. For example, awhile ago, I talked about how I was going to submit one of my stories for serialization, and I got a lot of Likes. Some of my good writer friends commented or messaged me and told me that they had my vote. I was incredibly happy when I saw this, and it just made me want to succeed even more. Just so that their faith wasn’t lost. It’s really great.

7. Inspiration. When I get a writer’s block, and can no longer write about my characters… I just write a blog post about my writer’s block. That’s what I do when I can’t write in any of my stories. I write a blogpost. It clears my mind, and I can get back to writing immediately after.

And last, but not least… It is fun. Yeah. I’ve said it so many times, but really. It is fun. It’s fun to Tweet to authors you like, and hope they may respond. It’s fun to see that someone “Favorited” your tweet about how bored you were. It’s fun to see someone commenting on your last blogpost to disagree with you. It’s fun when you get to engage with them about how your point was correct. It’s all so much fun. And that’s why I write, you know.

Because it is fun.

So, network may be a pain.. for a very long time. And  the pain will never disappear, but the fun times, when they do happen, completely wash away the pain of accidentally clicking on a link to a 4 star (out of 4) review of Fifty Shades of Grey. Yeah…

Thanks for reading. Hope you Like, Comment, and Follow. Hopefully, all three. And that’s all for now. Thanks again!

~J.A. Romano

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Comments
  1. tktrian says:

    Yup, this post pretty much sums it up what’s good and bad about networking 🙂 We’d have a few words to say about forums too (btw, there’re pretty cool people on http://www.writingforums.org/ , especially if you wanna have your works critted. If you want it slaughtered, go to Absolute Write Watercooler, which is something one should do every now and then, heh.)

    • J.A. Romano says:

      Thanks for commenting. Yeah, I realize I didn’t really cover forums in the post, but I didn’t really have anything ‘new’, I guess, to offer on them… if that makes sense? And yeah, every now and then, it’s great to get some good constructive criticism on your work, and I will be sure to check out those two sites. I think I checked out Absolute Writer Watercooler at one point, but I forgot to visit it regularly. Writing Forums looks good, though.

      • tktrian says:

        Yeah, the advantage with forums is that your work will be out there for many different kind of people to crit, and of course it’s great for networking. Thanks for mentioning us, btw 🙂 How’s it going anyway, J?

    • J.A. Romano says:

      Yeah, no problem! After all your helpful comments, it was a given I’d include you guys in the post. I’m doing fine. Still no word from the serialization thing! The wait is killing me. How about you two? I’m on Page 60, btw. In case you were wondering. : )

      • tktrian says:

        We’re still working on Solus, though a bit busy with our lives too (T’s got a pile of translations to do, subtitling, and K’s teaching English). Looking forward to what you think of the Ghost Ship 🙂 and hopefully your story will be published^^

    • J.A. Romano says:

      Thanks, hope it gets published, too. If not, then I’ll edit it s’more, then submit again. And if that fails, too, I’ll just post it here on this blog. Since I really like it, and want a lot of other people to have fun reading it. : D

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