My Top 7 Questions About Social Media & Favorite Post Friday

If you’d told me a year ago that I would not only have a Facebook account, but also a Fan Page, a Twitter handle and a blog to boot, I would have looked at you like you had three heads. (I was going to insert a picture of a three headed something or other here, but…well…just check Google images for ‘three heads’ and you’ll see why I didn’t!).

Anyhow…I’ve become fairly acquainted with Social Networking/Media. I am by far a pro, but I have learned enough to finally do a little post about it.

Also…My choices for Favorite Post Friday are listed at the bottom of this page as well as the Linky Tool if you want to participate!

Now..Here are some questions that I asked about Social Media at one time and I’m sure many of you have too:

1) Is a social platform necessary to get an agent or to get published? The answer is NO. But, if you were an agent or a publisher and you had to choose between two equally brilliant manuscripts for representation, one with an unknown author and one with a social following of hundreds or thousands, which would you choose? Word of mouth sells books.

2) Will Social Networking require much time? Yes. Heck yes. Time is required. Writing a blog takes time. Getting to know people takes time. Reading other blogs and commenting takes time. Tweeting takes time. So here is a warning: DO NOT spend more time Social Networking than you do writing. If there is no book, it doesn’t matter how many people in the world you know.

3) What is Twitter and why should I tweet? Ok. Let me say this: I would not have gotten as far on my manuscript as I have had it not been for Twitter. Twitter is not like your personal Facebook. Twitter is a resource. It is a method of connecting to other writers and a vault of useful links and writing advice. You will build professional relationships here and learn how it’s done. So if you don’t tweet, start now. Seriously. Go. Now.

4) I want to start a blog or website but I don’t know what to blog about or even how often I should post! Yeah? I didn’t either. Maybe I’m still learning. I blog about what I’m learning through this writing journey, but I also blog about books and other writers and social media and music and movies. I love these things. My advice is this: If you are a new writer and you want to blog, blog about what you love. A published author has a book or two or ten to center a blog or website around. We newbies are hopefuls. We are not experts. What we offer is knowledge from mistakes made and an insight to who we are in hopes that once we snag that agent or get that book deal, our followers will stick with us and become the foundation for our word of mouth. As for how often? That is up to you and your time constraints. I tried too hard…tried to blog everyday. That was not always realistic for me…mom of four. Try to choose some semblance of a schedule though, because readers like consistency.

5) Do I need a Facebook Fan Page? Well…though this is highly debated…I think yes. Facebook is such a personal form of Social Media that we need a way to separate the ‘personal us’ from the ‘writer us’. So yes. When? Whenever you feel comfortable calling yourself a writer. 🙂

6) Are there any rules to Twitter? Though they aren’t written in blood, there are simple social rules to follow when tweeting.

  • Be kind. Always.
  • If you want to say Thanks, don’t do it through a direct message. If someone has helped you, give them props.
  • Don’t auto direct message people. Ick. It’s impersonal. If I am going to follow you, at least care enough to send me an original message.
  • Don’t overdo Writer Wednesday #WW or Friday Follow #FF hashtags. If your mentions are 57 miles long and clogging my feed, I will get annoyed. So keep it simple. Make it special. Mention those that made an impact on you that week and I might actually follow them.
  • Retweet for others! Social networking is about supporting others so that they will support you. Retweets increase their readership and show you were paying attention.
  • Don’t complain constantly. Nobody likes a whiner. It’s just the truth.
  • DO USE Hashtags…those little #*%^$*% thingies you see at the end of tweets. These make your tweet visible to everyone else viewing and using those hashtags. You increase visibility exponentially. Good writing hashtags include: #amwriting, #amediting, #amrevising, #amreading, #MyWANA, #writetip, #pubtip, #FF, #WW–to name a few.
  • Try to follow back. I realize you won’t want to follow every person that follows you, but give it a good go. Remember…support.
7) Should I follow other writer/author blogs? YESSSSS!! Follow them. Comment on them and I mean really comment. No simple ‘Great post!’ comments. Really read the post. Also…Tweet links to their posts. I realize some people don’t like the idea of “You scratch my back, I’ll scratch yours,” but that’s how it usually works, especially prior to actually having a book to draw in followers.
So….there you have it. These were my Top 7 Social Media Questions. I’m sure there are more that I won’t think of until after this post goes live and discussion begins, but this is a good start!
What questions are on your list?

More posts you might like on Social Media and my choices for Favorite Post Friday: (List your link at the bottom of this page if you are participating in today’s FPF). 🙂

By Kristen Lamb:
By Jami Gold:
By Elizabeth Spann Craig:

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  1. Blogging is trial and error, but it's also fun. I like social media because writing is a lonely business, and connecting with other writers makes me feel like I have co-workers.

  2. Some great advice here, Charissa! And you are so right about being careful about managing your time! It's very easy to wind up spending more time on the social media than the writing. That said, I love my Twitter!

  3. I like what you've posted here. Being a newbie and still working toward publication, I'm striving to build an audience and these genera rules are essential to accomplishing that. Just posted my first author interview today and it was a good feeling to showcase someone else.

  4. @Totsymae Hi Totsy! I'll have to stop by and check out your site! I think it is important for even us newbie writers still working toward publication to begin building a social web, even if it is mostly made up of other writers. We need the support.

  5. Great post. The only thing I'd add is: give yourself time. I think some people sign up for sites (especially Twitter) don't 'get' it straight away, and stop using it. It takes a while to find your way round and work out how to use a site effectively. After a while it becomes instinctive, but you do have to give it a while.

  6. Good questions – and answers.

    Like you, I was on the fence about a fan FaceBook page. Dan from Singel Dad Laughing was big on it, and I respected his opinion, just cuz, but as time has gone on (a month or two) I really see the benefit. I don't want my fans/writing friends to see all the ins and outs of my friendships and family pics. And I don't want to bore my family with links to writing articles and discussions. So, separating the two, a very good idea. The only bummer is there doesn't seem to be a way to join groups, like Writer Unboxed, as a FB fan page, rather than as an individual.

  7. @Beverly Diehl Hey Beverly!This is true. The hardest part of Facebook Fan pages that I've found is getting people to interact. But…that will come in time I'm sure. I do like the separation of my personal life from my writing life though.