In this day and age-a time when everyone is obsessed with the next big technological thing-practically everyone spends some time online doing something. My seventy-five year old, great aunt spends time farming on Facebook. My three and five year old sons play educational games on PBS Kids. And, I have started a Facebook page, Twitter page, and this blog, of course, just to keep up with the online Joneses.
"And why do I need to do all that?" you ask. Well, the answer is simple. I, like everyone else who forms an online presence, have something to say. And my message is this....I want to be the next top model. Oh wait... no that's not it. I'm wait too short for that. It's this....I want to be the next big picture book author.
And after a year or so of researching the writing bizz-give or take a few days-I have come to realize a few things about becoming successful in the writing industry. While I don't necessarily NEED an online presence to become a successful picturebook author, it's definitely a recommendation. After all, if I can command the attention of thousands of people online on a daily basis(I wish. Seriously. Please follow. LOL), then chances are I can sell a book or two. Right? Well, that's the logic anyway!
Ok. So now that we've all decided that having an online presence is esential, what next?
Well, now you need to get down to the nitty gritty and decide which platform is best for you. You need to discover which platform/platforms suit your personal style best. Because, honestly, nothing's worse than creating a site, blog, or page in which you can't work and that you're terrible at. I mean technology is forever, people. If you mess up, it'll be documented somewhere on the world wide web forever. No pressure or anything.
So here is a list of options for you to consider using as an online presence: Twitter, Facebook,any number of writing sites, and any number of blogging sites. My preference for the blog, of course, is blog spot. But I'll get to that in a minute.
Let's start out by talking about Twitter. That seems to be all the rage now. And frankly, I'm just not getting it....yet.
Twitter's advantages, to me, are this: 1. You can get your message out there and not bore the reader with tedious details. 2. You learn a lot in quick spurts. You can join big time authors groups and find out what's going on with industry insiders (Love this aspect) 3. It's a little more formal than texting, and a lot like a real conversation. You don't have to be perfect with your writing, and most of the words are spelled correctly. 4. You can decorate your Twitter page with cool backgrounds.If you love the personal touch, you'll like this feature.
Twitter's Disadvantages: 1. I hate having to limit my words. I'm a writer. I love words. 2. Some people abuse the word limitation and send multiple tweets to get their message out there. People, if you're doing this than Twitter's not your platform. Get a new one. Please:) There's nothing worse than reading 15 tweets from the same person, in a row. I think we should have a 5-8 tweet minimum. 3. Sometimes I have to scroll on forever to get to through all the tweets in a day. Probably the reason I loathe multiple tweets in a row. 4. If you don't tweet for a few days, no one misses you. This could be a pro or a con, depending on your perspective. If you don't have a lot of time to work on your online presence, this is great. If you need to feel the love, it's not fun NOT being missed.5. Not as user friendly-IMO.(Sidenote:So far, tweeting is not my favorite online platform. I have learned a lot and will continue to use it, though. I can definitely see its advantages in the long term.)
Facebook's Advantages: 1. You're getting your message out there. 2. It's way more layed back. It just feels more comfortable for the people who have little time, and want to tell you what's going on. 3. You can post pictures and captions. 4. Very user friendly-IMO.
Facebooks Disadvantages:1. There has been a lot of controversy surrounding Facebook. 2.You can't add really cool backgrounds. Not cool if you like the personal touch.3. Again, word limitation springs to mind. While it's not as bad as Twitter, it does still put a cramp on your writing style.
Blog Advantages: 1. You're getting the word out. 2. If there is a word limitation, I haven't reached it yet. 3. Lots of cool features: backgrounds, polls, pictures, multiple pages, etc. 4. Most are pretty user friendly. I personally love blogspot, because it is so user friendly. A lot of my friends use Wordpress, and I've heard bad things. For one, you can't post countdown clocks on Wordpress. And as you guys have seen, I love countdown clocks. I will use them often. Countdowns til' book releases. Countdowns til' movies. And countdowns til' the last day of school. They serve as great reminders, and give hope that there's an end in sight.
Blog Disadvantages: 1.It takes A LOT of work to keep your blog updated. The word count is high, so people expect more. It's mucho pressure. 2. You're constanly having to look at other people's blogs to find out how to make your's better. Did I mention that it's a lot of pressure?
And Lastly, Writing Group Advantages: 1. These are a must. One, they get your name out there. 2. You will find great resources on these sites. 3. You will learn to rely on these people to critique your work and help you grow as a writer. 4. You could meet someone who helps you get published. 5. It's just the smart thing to do.(Sidenote: I personally love Writer's Digest and Writeoncon, but I've heard that Redroom is good too. Technically, I'm a member. But honestly, I don't visit. I just don't have the time.)
Writing Group Disadvantages: 1. Not all writers are created equal in these groups. What I mean by this is that some have more experience than others. So in truth, you're going to want to look at their credentials before you just go and buy into their critiques. After all, they could be new to this, like me. I always say things like ' But this is just my opinion. I'm new to all this, so take my opinion with a grain of salt' when I give a critique to someone who doesn't know my experience level. But not everyone does this. Just keep that in mind when you're listening to these people. Don't go changing up your entire story because Joe Schmoe says you should. After all, Joe Schmoe's not an expert!
So to sum everything up, whether you use Twitter, Facebook, Blogspot, or any number of other online sites, do something. Done correctly, building an online presence could help you get published, help you sell books, and help create the buzz that you want to.
More importantly, write great stories. Because in the end, that's all the matters.
3Ws – Susan Bernardo & Courtenay Fletcher
15 hours ago