Liars Club

Beware the Blog

by Dennis Tafoya on May 10, 2010

in Advice for Writers,The Writing Life,Uncommitted

I know that by now, nearly every writer has gotten the word that they should be out in the social networking sphere: Facebook, Twitter, a blog (a word that I think very appropriately sounds like a hideous monster – because nearly all of us see it that way). Yeah, you say, I know! I should be promoting away, linking myself and my book to every hook, site, friend, article, entry and tweet.

I also know it’s tough going. Nearly all of us have day jobs, demanding lives, families, dogs and cats. And of course we’ve got to actually get some writing done – don’t forget that. If we’re familiar with the technologies, if we actually read blogs and get our news online, we think, how can we compete? Can my blog post be that interesting? Who’s going to read my facebook entry when I only have a couple of hundred friends, most of whom actually ARE friends? If we’re unfamiliar with the technological terrain it just seems ridiculously complicated and designed to keep the newbie at bay. Don’t despair.

I have a couple of things to add that I hope will help, and remember that I don’t have thousands of followers or friends online. My online presence is a lot closer to the typical new writer than it is to James Patterson, and frankly, you can easily outdo me with a little time and attention.

The first is simple: Social media works. My blog entries and facebook posts have actually led to opportunities. I post blog entries about the work my friends are doing, which is a very simple thing to do, and on more than one occasion the post or blog entry led to the chance to serve on a panel, be interviewed for the newspaper, or even to submit work for an anthology or fiction website. And my more established friends have much more dramatic stories than I do about getting work through social media.

Promoting the work of friends or people whose work you admire is a good example, as another writer said to me recently, of “doing well by doing good.” It’s an easy thing to list a new book with a link to amazon or indiebound, and your writing friends will appreciate it. The fact that it sometimes leads to opportunity is just an unexpected benefit. You can feel good about having promoted a friend’s work as an end in itself.

The other thing I want to say is – don’t make yourself crazy. As Kelly Simmons said in another (better-written) post, break up the tasks you need to accomplish into small, manageable bits of time. When it comes to promotion, there is literally ALWAYS more to do. You’ll only get so much done, and that’s okay. And frankly, if you have to choose, choose to get more writing done, or reading, or anything that strengthens your writing skills. Your real work is writing, and the real work has to come first.

Dennis Tafoya is author of Dope Thief, and of  The Wolves of Fairmount Park, coming June 2010, from Minotaur Books

Dennis’ post is part of an ongoing series, where Liars each chime in on a burning question about publishing.  Check out prior posts, and look back daily for more comments from members of the Liars Club.  Better yet, subscribe to this site.

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Gerri George May 11, 2010 at 12:51 am

Thanks for a valuable post. Very interesting.

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