Four and a half years ago I decided to publish a book. It took me nearly four years to make it happen. One of the first things I did at the beginning of this journey was to start a blog…and so began a separate journey into the delights of social media!
Over the four + years I have learnt an awful lot about social media and I thought I would share my insights in regards to writing. Some of the things I dabbled in have worked and some have not, and some are just no brainers that every writer should do.
My top 4 Social Media essentials for a writer!
- A blog or Book website: You don’t need to go crazy or even spend money. You can get a great blog (or book website) set up for free using either WordPress or Blogger. There are a few other freebies out there but these two are the big hitters and I have used both. I started blogging life on Blogger but switched over to WordPress soon after. I just found WordPress easier to use and more elegant in design, but that’s just my personal preference. It really doesn’t matter what you use as long as you start something. Blogging should be reasonably frequent. I used to be far more prolific, but once a week at least is fine. I find blogging a great way to get my creative brain working, and it’s a nice way to write about your thoughts and feelings independent to your book. If you are published, plan to publish, or just enjoy writing, I definitely recommend a blog. If you prefer not to deliver articles then you can still recommend you have a site of some kind to share and showcase you book or writing. You can easily set up WordPress to have a statice front page (like a website) rather than the typical scrolling blog posts, and there are plenty of other options for free sites such as Wix.com. See: http://www.top10bestwebsitebuilders.com
- Twitter: Love it or loathe it, twitter is an awesome social media tool for writers. Whether it is building a following who share your interest, or finding great articles, twitter has it all. I have met some wonderful writers through twitter. On twitter sharing is caring, so don’t be afraid to retweet other posts, comments, and books.
- Goodreads: If you are a writer and you don’t know what Goodreads is…you are seriously missing out. I was a member ages ago, but I never made much use of it, and I really wish I had! If you are thinking of publishing my advice would be get active on Goodreads. Start sharing what you read and what you thought of it, and you will soon connect with other people who love the same books and genres. By the time you do come to publish, you have a list of connections who already share a common interest, and so it’s not unreasonable to assume they might just give your book a go. Even if they don’t, Goodreads has a whole heap of forums to find beta readers, ways to share free copies of your book for reviews, and critique groups. Once you are published, you can set up an Author dashboard where you can share your blog posts and connect your books. Goodreads members can flag your book as ‘To read’ and ‘Rate it’ once they are done. Because Goodreads is global, you get reviews from all over the world, unlike Amazon which is related to your particular store. And your friends are free to leave reviews, they just show up as a friend review.
- Facebook page: This is the last of my top social media. It’s pretty easy to set up a Facebook page, and you can share your blog posts and book news in one handy place. And everyone loves Facebook!
So, if you are a writer and serious about sharing your work you need to present your book related information in a media that appeals to a wide audience. A blog, Twitter, Goodreads and a Facebook page are a great start. Blogging is a weekly thing for me, but I generally post to Facebook and Twitter most days. And I pop onto Goodreads a couple of times a week to see what books my friends have read and any recommendations.
Top Supplementary media
Facebook groups: If you have not yet discovered Facebook writing and reading groups you are missing out. Facebook groups are like a online forums that conveniently sit inside Facebook. I love Facebook groups! Most groups contain support documents to help, for example the indie author group below has lists of book cover artists, editors, tips etc. Some examples of groups:
- Fantasy Writing Fanatics: Some great folks chewing the fat on all things related to fantasy writing
- Book Clubs: Folks who just plain love reading and share their favourite books and recommendations. There are hundreds of reader book clubs on Facebook.
- Indie Author Group: If you are an indie author and have a question someone here will have the answer. A great place to ask newbie questions about writing, editing, publishing, advertising, and anything else related to writing.
- Books go social readers group: There are hundreds of book sharing groups on Facebook for every genre you can imagine. I like this one because it doesn’t over spam as you can only promote your book once a month. For more book sharing groups See http://www.trainingauthors.com/facebook-groups-for-authors/
Other media options and what I thought
- Tumblr: I have a tumblr account, and my blog automatically posts to this for me so I still share that way. Tumblr feels a little like picture based blogging and so since I already have wordpress, I prefer to stick to that. There are some absolutely awesome Tumblr writer blogs though, but it’s just not a big or active option for me. If you are looking around for a blog tool it’s worth checking out as an alternative to Blogger or WordPress.
- Stumbleupon: I have an account and did dabble for a while. It’s useful to drive traffic to your blog, i.e. you can share your blog posts here. It’s also useful to find good articles. I have probably under utilised this myself and some people swear by it!
- Instagram: Is all about pictures so not necessarily the highest priority for a writer…I mostly post pictures of my cats! Not very writerly of me I know 🙂
- Pinterest: I quite like Pinterest, and it is a fun picture based way to find writing articles and to share. Not a big social media account for me, but it definitely has a good writing community and you can find some great articles here.
If I have missed a social media account that you love please let me know. Or if you have other recommendations or feedback on the above I would also love to hear.
Want to connect on social media?
Find me on Goodreads : G.L. Cromarty (Author)
Find me on Facebook: G.L. Cromarty (TheWritingChimp)
Find me on Twitter: @TheLittlebod
Find me on Instagram TheWritingChimp
Sharing is caring! Drop a link to your social media accounts in the comments below!
So, book 2 is now imminent. I am hoping it might be out at the end of the month, but will see.
My publisher is providing the official cover, which I am excited to see when it’s ready! But in the interim, I have been playing about on pixelmator. While I claim no particular prowess with this graphics tool, I can manage the basics, and I am pretty happy with the way my temporary banner has come out. I use free images from Pixabay.com and then add the text in pixelmator.
Might have a play with a few more ideas! Let me know what you think of the banner. Would love your feedback.
Here is a cover I knocked-up in pixelmator using the same image. This is my temporary kindle cover for my beta readers for book 3, Revealing Serenity, which I am about to send out for feedback.
I know I should be writing, but sometimes a writer has to play 🙂
Story notes, every writer has them!
Now there is nothing wrong with a writer taking notes. They are very useful, essential even, but if you are anything like me you acquire vast quantities of such notes and you never, ever, throw them away.
I love my mobile phone. I’ve got an iPhone which comes with this handy ‘Note’ app. I fill my phone notes app up with obscure commentary, scene ideas, and reminders to fix things. I do this at random times of the day and night. Typing on a phone is not always easy, you can hit the wrong key and autocorrect leaps in. Perhaps you are time pressured and you don’t have time to check the gibberish you just wrote. Or perhaps like me you are not wearing your glasses and it’s all a bit blurred so you hope for the best.
Later, when you come back to it, it could be:
- A perfect note that makes complete sense
- A bit random but can be deciphered with the aid of an encryption specialist
- Utterly uncrackable
There is something very enticing about writing on physical paper. Yes you have all these whizzy electronic options, but sometimes the paper is there and it just feels better to jot it down.
This has the same issues as the above mobile notes app, but with the added bonus of a random location.
Later you could find important story notes:
- In 1 of your 27 notepads
- In the car
- In the office
- In random other rooms of the house
- In your bag
- Photographed onto your phone!
It’s not just the notes app on your phone that can house these random notes. There are a whole heap of electronic note saving options that you can get to from your phone, electronic pad, and computer.
Later you might find your notes on:
- Word documents on the computer
- On Evernote
- On your dropbox folder
- On your airdrop folder
- In Scrivener
- In other writing applications
- On a gazillion other shared applications that may or may not sync with each other.
There is only one thing better than taking notes and that is…drum roll please…you guessed it…making backups of your notes!
While trying to write my book blurb I managed to accumulate 17 versions scattered about my computer, airdrop, and dropbox folders, and that was without the scribbled ideas for it on bits of paper! I had made so many duplicates I had no idea which one was the most current. I couldn’t even trust the last edited date because I had gone back and opened them all!
Then there are the photo’s of notes…
The saving as v2, v3, version new, version latest, version xyz…
And lastly but not leastly, copying the same file to multiple locations!
Love them or loath them, no writer can call themselves a writer unless they have an avalanche of notes accumulated over years and a myriad of mediums and devices.
Every now and then we have a bit of a note cull. We seek desperately to identify the ones we can throw away. This is a painful and laborious process. Simply placing a note into the ‘possible deletion’ category will be quite stressful!
Having gone through this exercise, approximately 99% of the ‘possible deletion’ will be recategorised as ‘keep’.
And finally, you decide to delete / throw away the 1% you were confident about…tomorrow!
…why I love writing.
“With one stroke of her pen,
she wiped out half a population.”
Book 3 of the Divided World Series in final editing stages.
Book 2 coming soon.
Today I have the pleasure of introducing author M.L. Williams who will be sharing his thoughts on reading and writing, and details of his book, SEERS OF VERDE.
When I start working on a project, many times the characters come to me in my dreams and either demand their story be told or provide me with ideas for future chapters.
What advice would you give to aspiring writers?
Be true to your ideas and put in the time. Writing can be lonely. Find mentors or other writers who can be a support group or sounding board. Don’t let anyone else’s opinions influence you during the writing process.
Best thing about writing?
Seeing these characters unfold and tell their stories is fascinating.
Least favourite thing about writing?
Rewriting and editing.
What is your favourite genre(s)?
Science fiction and that curious oxymoron, historical fiction.
Both genres appeal to my imagination. With science fiction, the themes and characters can be endless, only limited by the imagination. I guess historical fiction appeals to my sense of romance for another period of time.
Have you ever skipped something important to stay at home and read a book?
Interesting question. I have not gone to parties or social events sometimes, preferring to stay home and read. I also put off chores when in the middle of a good book and read well into the night when I should have gone to bed.
If you could have a signed copy of a book by an author (dead or living) What book would it be?
Slaughterhouse Five by Kurt Vonnegut Jr. I read this in a college literature class and was immediately enraptured by his imagination and sarcastic tone. It sparked my love of other fiction, especially science fiction.
Tell us what you are currently reading and your verdict so far?
I am reading Raptor by Gary Jennings. I have had this book on my shelf for years and just needed time to get to it. His writing and knowledge of history and ancient languages is impressive, but he keeps using different languages throughout the story. I was curious about this author since reviewers have raved about his novel, Aztec. I do not like it when authors flaunt their expertise and vocabulary in ways that detract from the story. It’s difficult to stay with the story when the reader keeps stumbling over arcane references and unfamiliar words.
About your book…
You are living in the your latest novel. Where are you living, and what is it like?
In Return of the Earthers, I would be living on the planet Verde Grande, an abandoned and almost forgotten Earth colony. The planet has one huge land mass. A treacherous mountain range divides the lone continent into two tracts.
The largest one is a huge verdant valley that stretches for hundreds of miles. One group of colonists live there and developed a relatively peaceful society ruled by a ever watchful clan of psychic women — the Seers.
The smaller area is a narrow valley strewn with huge boulders but plentiful with wildlife. A second group of colonists escaped to here during an attack and have developed into a hunter society.
The planet was covered by a thick blanket of moss. Most of the moss has been replaced by Earth plants brought by the bioformers and cultivated by the colonists, who have been living there for almost three centuries. However, the mountain range has retained its much of its native moss so the planet looks like a giant emerald as seen by an orbiting space ship.
You are your most recent protagonist, What do you like doing for fun?
I am Aron Nels, an orchard keeper. Even though maintaining, pruning and harvesting fruit from the trees is my livelihood, I would not trade this lifestyle for another. Being outside in nature and seeing the benefits of my hard work is extremely gratifying. My family has been doing this for generations. It’s in my blood.
After being imprisoned during a misunderstanding, I am told I am one of the last members of a secret warrior sect that has been fighting to protect its people from attackers sent by the Seers. Due to a forced hypnosis, in which my memories have been suppressed, I refuse to believe I am one of the last surviving warriors.
Seers of Verde by M.L. Williams
Marauders from a renegade planet attack an Earth colony ship forcing landing parties to split into two groups in a desperate attempt to escape. Their vessels are destroyed stranding them without their technology on either side of an imposing mountain range on the planet Verde Grande.
Descendants of a mysterious Seer now protect their people but become the bane of the hunter society on the other side of the mountain.
You can also follow M.L. Williams on his blog! https://mlwilliamsbooks.com
If you have recently published a book and would like to feature in an author interview, please email me at TheWritingChimp@gmail.com
I have been writing for a long time now, over twenty years in fact. When I first started, there wasn’t even the basics such as Microsoft Word. I was pretty excited when Word came out!
But in 2011 I moved from a Windows PC to an Apple Mac, and I have been using Scrivener ever since. It was originally only available on the Mac, but you can now get a windows version.
So, I have been using Scrivener for quite a while. I can honestly say that I am more productive with Scrivener than I ever was with Word or those even worse writing applications that came before. And I thought I would share a few highlights as to why I love Scrivener so much.
- It lets you chop up your book. If you are anything like me, the order of chapters at the start is not the order at the end. I pull stuff about, chop it out, put it back, and generally hack the sequence within an inch of its life. Scrivener makes this easy. Chapters can be placed into folders, and I can move them, or delete, and if need be… restore them.
- You can categorise chapters. I write in a number of character perspectives so I categorise (And further colour code) my chapters so it is easy to see which chapter is which character. But you might use this colour/ category for many purposes such as location or something else.
- Chapters have a status. The status allows you to set whether a chapter is Draft, Revised draft, To do, complete etc. Its configurable, so you can make your own status to suit you. If you are anything like me, some chapters are completed early and some I go back to many times. Using the status makes it easy to see what has been completed and what parts need more work.
- Compiling is easy. You can convert your scrivener project to just about any electronic format you can think of, i.e. mobi, epub, ibook, word, pdf, and a whole lot more. It takes seconds! Yes there is a little configuration to do, but the default compile is good for most purposes and it is only if you want to get fancy with font etc. that you need to play with the settings.
- It comes with standard novel templates so you can get the book title, chapter list, title pages, front and back matter, built into the compile.
- You can add icons to chapters. I mark my quarter points, which makes it easier to see the book breakdown.
- Target word counts. I love target word counts, they keep me motivated and moving forward. See Using Target word count.
- There is a notes and synopsis section for each chapter. If like me you sometimes hack sentences out but you are not sure you are ready to trash them, you can keep them in the notes section of that chapter so they are easy to see until you are confident you no longer need them. I also use the notes for jotting down comments about the chapter, or points I want to address. The synopsis field is great if you want to put a brief note of what the chapter is about during the planning stage.
I have skimmed the surface of what Scrivener does, and I am sure everyone has different features they swear by. It has been a great tool to use and I can’t imagine going back to Word now. I would love to hear about your writing tool, if you have tried Scrivener what you think, and if there is any other writing software out there you would recommend.
And if I have tempted you to look into Scrivener, you can get it on a free 30 day trial.
Once I dive into these pages
I may not come out for ages.
Books have powers over me.
Inside a book I am not free.
I am a prisoner in a land
of print on paper in my hand.
But do not worry. Do not fear.
I am a happy captive here.
Captive by Amy Ludwig VanDerwater
Great tips 🙂
your humble host
I made a new friend at a book signing the other day, and I heard something I have heard a LOT from people who want to write a book or are writing one they can’t seem to finish.
I hear this all the time, so I thought I should address it.
We’ll call it “Can’t Finish-itis.”
It’s a terrible affliction, but there are cures.
Here’s an example from a blog post of an obviously dismayed author friend, followed by my reply – but first an ad for my writing contest:
Hey, I’m having a WRITING CONTEST this month – wanna enter?
Get valuable FEEDBACK on your writing
Possibly win a share of $400 in PRIZES
Be the envy of your friends with MASSIVE BRAGGING RIGHTS
Cool e-ribbons you can proudly display if you win
Check it out and enter by clicking HERE.
You really should enter that…
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