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Social Media: A Necessary Evil For Writers? by Elizabeth Ducie

I am thrilled to have bestselling author, Elizabeth Ducie visit the blog today to discuss social media for writers. Thank you for sharing your time and expertise. Over to you, Elizabeth.

One of the topics strongly dividing people these days is the value of social media. There are some who seem to spend their whole time on Twitter or Instagram—and certainly live their lives in the spotlight as a result; while others can’t even say the word Facebook without shuddering.

As with so many aspects of this writerly life, I tend to fall somewhere in the middle; and I try to wear my business hat while planning my daily exposure.

Social media platforms are great places for networking with other writers and people in the literary world. Whether we need to make contact with a particular person who might just be a friend of a friend; or are looking for advice on how to get around a technical glitch on our website or Amazon Ads campaign; it’s going to be relatively easy to find someone to help—either via one of the formal networks like ALLi or the informal groups such as Val’s Book Bundle or my own Business of Writing. When we have a book launch, or a promotional deal, the platforms are a great way of connecting with potential readers—just so long as we don’t spend all our time says ‘buy my book, buy my book’. And when we’ve had a hard day and need to kick back for a while, there’s always someone around to chat to or swap silly jokes with.

On the down side, social media can be a terrible time sink (but then, so can the whole of the internet for that matter!). It has some horrible people hiding in dark corners, like the trolls they are named after, and discussions can, on occasion, get vitriolic. And there is a huge level of fake news and scams out there that we need to navigate our way around.

But realistically, for all writers today, whether traditionally published or indie, a social media presence is an essential part of our individual platforms. So here are my tips for how to survive this ‘necessary evil:

· Don’t try to do too much. Pick one or two platforms you’re comfortable with, and learn how to use them effectively.

· On the other hand, it’s worth at least signing up for the other platforms. You may not use them, but some of your potential readers might. So have a static presence in there, with pointers to your website or more active social platforms.

· Learn the rules for the platform and the individual groups; and don’t be tempted to break them. It’s highly frustrating to be thrown into ‘Facebook Gaol’ for example, just when you need to be talking about your latest promotion.

· And if you are concerned about the whole time sink aspect, get into the habit of limiting your time online. Maybe schedule a short Facebook session as a reward for finishing that difficult piece of editing. Then switch off and get back to work!

The Author

Elizabeth Ducie ‘gave up the day job’ in 2012 and now writes fiction and non-fiction more-or-less full-time. She is the author of The Business of Writing, a series of books on business skills for authors, including one on Independent Publishing, about which she is a passionate advocate. She has published four novels and three collections of short stories. Counterfeit!, the first in her series of Jones Sisters thrillers set in the murky world of international pharmaceuticals, is available to download for free from 2nd to 6th April.

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