No, not the movie (although I am a fan, put me on team Sorkin). I’m talking about the act of social networking and why I’ve joined in.
Social networking is becoming more and more important for a writer. Whereas, at least my impression was, you used to get published, go to cocktail parties, attend a couple of book signings, and accept any awards that come your way–this is now a fantasy. Now you’ve got to market the hell out of yourself. The most accessible way to reach lots of people is with digital new media. And it’s all the easier for you, if you have that stuff set-up before you’re a tid-bit famous.
I have a screenplay optioned, which will hopefully find a studio home right around the new year. My producer has tantalized me with a possible “Christmas present”–fingers crossed! I also have a novel I’m doing one final polish on, before I begin steps toward publishing.
So basically: this website, this twitter account, all the networking, is happening now because I feel (hope?) I’m on the cusp of my writing career really taking off. I don’t want to create a website the same day its URL gets printed on a book cover, right? Gotta have some meat on it first.
Rather than have this post be merely a public diary entry, I’ll share some of what I’ve learned as I’m setting all this up. It’s been a tough journey, as my friends and family don’t really tweet or blog. And self-promotion doesn’t come naturally to me. At all. There was (and still is) a learning curve.
People follow non-public figures, whom they don’t know, for pretty much one reason: they also want followers. So when someone follows you, and you just sit back and think, “cool, I have a follower!”, guess what? They’ll most likely unfollow you in a couple of days. What can you do to keep your new followers happy? 1) Follow them back 2) Send them a message, thanking them for following!
If you want people to read your blog, one of the biggest resources is other bloggers. First step here, read their blog. Then post an intelligent comment, pertaining to what you just read. DO NOT post your website in your comments, this just comes off as spam. If you’ve written something sufficiently intriguing, people will check your profile, which should have a link to your own blog.
For anything and everything, you should have something interesting to say. I got a decent amount of hits with my Screenwriting vs Prose post, because it was something I can speak to that not many people know about. It was, in short, worth reading.
The world is changing for writers, and to use a screenwriting term, “Stasis=Death”. You have to go with the changes, or get left behind. It’s been proven that people who embrace change live longer, and I think the same can be said about our careers.
I leave you with a positive note: writers are now in commercials. Perhaps taking our careers in our own hands is a good thing? A power-shift? Publishing houses own books the way movie studios owned stars in the 1930s. If this changes, it could be the writers who come out on top.