Not to sound like my old man, but I can remember (“back in the day”) when a trip to the library and a dance with Mr. Dewey and his Decimal system were the only ways to do research; not only for a book, but research on professionals in the writing business. Agents, editors and publishers could be found by scrutinizing little hand-written three by five cards.
But then came the glories of the internet-80% porn and 20% useful information. And with global connectivity came the revolution called “social media.”
According to the writer’s best online friend, Wikipedia:
Social media are media for social interaction, using highly accessible and scalable publishing techniques.
Twitter. Facebook. Blogs. LinkedIn. They’re all social media.
And there are a lot of writers, publishers, editors and other folks who are online today.
A perfect example of how social media can work for you as a writer is this guest blog I’m doing for Kait. I found out she was looking to have a few folks step into her world while she was scheduled to be away from the keyboard.
All from one tweet.
If you are reading this, chances are you know about blogs, Twitter, Facebook etc. However there is another social media tool you may not be as familiar with.
So let’s talk about LinkedIn.
LinkedIn is different from some of the other popular applications out there. Linked in requires a more active participation, in other words to get the most out of this professional medium, you have to be an active participant.
LinkedIn’s guidelines state that you should only link to people you really know and trust. Facebook is supposed to work the same way, but I have loads of friends who friend as many “hot girls” or “hot guys” as they can. The key point is that LinkedIn is considered to be a more “professional” network. And we all would like to be “professionals” in the writing world.
“But LinkedIn is for business people!” I hear you say. “Why would I want to connect to them?”
“Hush and let me finish,” I say. Let me give you a few stats about writers and LinkedIn:
- If you search on the phrase “writers,” you’ll get over 97,000 hits.
- “Literary Agents” will get you over 500 hits.
- And over 1,800 for “Book Editors”
Writing IS a business. An extremely competitive one.
Four Ways to Make LinkedIn Work for You:
- ONE: Sign up for an account using your “writer’s” email address. Remember this is your account.
- TWO: Create your profile. This is your online writing portfolio. Remember: this will be online for all to see. Lie, and you’ll get caught.
- THREE: If you maintain multiple accounts and address books on your computer, LinkedIn provides an easy way to upload that data to your account. That way you can “connect” to people already in your circle of professionals that are already on LinkedIn, and invite those who have yet to join.
- FOUR: Promote your LinkedIn profile on your other social networking sites (Facebook, Twitter, Blogs…does anybody even use MySpace anymore?).
Polish up your writing resume, post it online. Connect with your existing network and expand onward and upward to professionals already using this social media tool. Writing in the twenty-first century is still all about whom you know. Social Media technology just digitizes and expands your network.
R.B.Wood is a writer of Urban Fantasy and Science Fiction who is currently seeking representation for his first Novel The Prodigal’s Foole. In the mean time, he’s won a few online writing competitions and is host of The Word Count podcast. You can find him at www.rbwood.com , e-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org, or chat via twitter: @rbwood.