Mindy Hardwick's Blog

Author Mindy Hardwick Muses about Writing

Social Media–It’s All About Community

on February 16, 2011

The other day, agent Kathleen Ortiz had a great post about social media and promoting our books. She had attended a panel entitled: Social Books: How Social Media is Changing the Writing, Reading, and Promotion of Books.  In her post, Kathleen asked the question: How do you make books social and help spread the word, outside of Twitter, blogs and Facebook?

Kathleen Ortiz went on to say: Social Media  is about generating a following who are going to come together as a community because of you or your product. It’s about people coming together because of a common interest and then knowing they can always return to this community for updates, discussions or, the best part, bonus material, relating to said product/person. (bonus material can include sneak peeks, fan art, video clips and more).

As a writer, we often attract other writers to read our blogs, follow our twitter, or be a friend on Facebook. And all of that is great. But it’s not enough if we are trying to promote our books or workshops.

If we are trying to promote a book or workshop, we need to think bigger. And one way to do that is  to ask ourselves, what do I do BESIDES write? Do I have hobbies? Talents? Interests? Do I volunteer my time? Where do I volunteer my time? Do I belong to organizations? What organizations? Or, if we aren’t doing any of these things, then we might ask, how can I become involved in just one activity outside of writing?  Maybe it’s a volunteer clean the park day, or maybe, like me, it’s mentoring through a Big Sisters or Volunteers of America Program.

But, the questions we need to ask are: How can I expand my world beyond the writing community? And how can this expanded community help with social media?

The first thing to note is that many of these other communities, such as large service groups,  keep blogs. And we are writers. One way to enlarge our social media circle is to be a guest blogger on one of these blogs. Building community is about connections. And some of those connections still come through face to face. If I’m volunteering to help clean a stream, and I’m talking to the guy next to me, and he just happens to be the one who keeps the blog for the State Parks, and I just happen to mention I’m a writer and would be available to blog as a guest blogger who perhaps even has a story set in a State Park….a connection has happened.

One benefit to finding organizations and activities that exist outside of writing is these communities already exist.We don’t have to go create them.

But what if you don’t have time or don’t want to get involved in your community? Another avenue to consider is what are the topics in your book? If you write a book about a kid who is a skateboarder, then find the skateboarding communities in your area and think about how you might write some blog posts about skateboarding. Or, if your book has a girl who ice skates, then go to the local ice skating arena and see if you can do a little book signing during an ice skating event, and by all means, provide content on your blog about skating. The point here is that although we write in isolation, the promotion of our books should be a community effort. And that community effort very well may be outside of our writing communities.

And just as I wrote this blog posting, this article came across my e-mail in School Library Journal. The Port Townsend Library is sponsoring an All-Read program based around Jay Asher’s book, Thirteen Reasons Why. Youth will work to create a “My Story” in various artistic mediums. The discussions will revolve around teen suicide and prevention. And this, is a wonderful example of why linking our stories with communities is so very important.


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