Writers, Social Media and the Art of Self-Promotion

Self-promotion, it’s part of a writer’s job. If you want your work to be read, it’s a daily duty.  In the digital age of social media, the easiest way to reach tens of thousands of people is by posting online.  I try to spend approximately thirty to forty-five minutes a day on social media, reading and posting.

In order not to get pulled down a rabbit hole, I frequently check the right hand corner of my computer screen to take note of the time. It’s too easy to spend an entire morning reading other writer’s essays when I have my own stories hanging out on the edges of my mind waiting to be written. The balance of receiving and reacting to all the words crying to be read and focusing on composing the words I want to write is a struggle. I soldier on.

“Hey Mom. Isn’t it about time you started writing that story you’ve been thinking about?”

Each weekend I write this weekly blog which I try to always post on Sunday. For me it is part journal, in that it provides a reference point I can reread six months later and remember what I was thinking about during a particular week. If it provides useful information to others, so much the better.

So which platform is best for daily posting.? Do a Google search and you’ll find an array of social media sites. The names include: TikTok, Reddit, WeChat, Pinterest, and Tumblr. For those of us over fifty, Facebook is the familiar vehicle. But according to my younger colleagues, Twitter and Instagram are the preferred platforms for professional writers. These posts do not necessarily have to be news about you. They can be works of art in themselves. Call them observations on the state of humanity—recipes, compliments, rants, useful information or jokes, if they are read and liked, your postings remind them of you and your writing.

Fresh basil, cherry tomatoes, and cilantro from the garden. The beginnings of a Sunday morning frittata.

I opened a Twitter account ( SN Maril) in 2012, but never used it until about four months ago. I’d shied away because I assumed if I didn’t tweet twenty times a day updating the world on my latest whereabouts, I wasn’t an adequate user. I still can’t get beyond one or two tweets a day, five days out of the week, but that’s okay.  I’ve discovered the unlimited number of categories I can follow, from newly released books, literary magazines, literary agents, and novelists to summer recipes and dog lovers. Just think of a category and search. On Twitter I can find out about new publishers, as well as learn which literary magazines are open for submission, and read a few poems and short pieces of prose with a few clicks.

Broken Eggshells
Sometimes you feel so crushed and fragile, you wonder how much of yourself you can expose online. But if you can joke about it, maybe you’ll feel better.

Unlike Facebook, where your posts are only visible to friends (depending on your settings) on Twitter anyone can follow you. Learning how to encapsulate a feeling, sensation, or idea into something attractive to complete strangers is an interesting exercise. How much time do I spend on Twitter? No more than 20 minutes a day.  I’ve got other platforms to visit.

Instagram is all about the pictures.  If you’ve got a beautiful photograph to share, it belongs on Instagram. Although you can post photos on Twitter and Facebook, Instagram put the emphasis on the visual.

Peaches and Plums
Smooth shiny red plums and a pair of fuzzy ripe peaches. Maryland farm delights.

Take it another step further into video, which can be posted on all the platforms and you might want to consider Utube. Utube gives you the capability to host your own show where you can read from your work, talk about writing, or interview another writer.  Also check out  Anchor, an app that can enable you to create and distribute your own podcast.

Not to be forgotten is that whatever you post on any of these social media sites is permanent.  Once upon a time people kept diaries. Now they keep social media accounts.

Writers do both. They manage social media accounts and keep journals, write memoirs and create stories. The stories continue to be published in print on paper as well as digitally online.

Do you have a favorite social media site?  Do you prefer to read online or physically hold a book?

Thank you for reading this week’s blog and for any feedback you have time to share.

You can follow me on Medium, WordPress, Linkedin, Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.

Published by Nadja Maril

Nadja Maril is a communications professional who has over 10 years experience as a magazine editor. A writer and journalist, Maril is the author of several books including: "American Lighting 1840-1940", "Antique Lamp Buyer's Guide", "Me, Molly Midnight; the Artist's Cat", and "Runaway, Molly Midnight; the Artist's Cat". Her short stories and essays have been published in several small online journals including Lunch Ticket, Change Seven, Scarlet Leaf Review and Defunkt Magazine. She has an MFA in creative writing from Stonecoast at the University of Southern Maine. Former Editor-in-Chief of What's Up ? Publishing, former Editor of Chesapeake Taste Magazine a regional lifestyle magazine based in Annapolis, and former Lighting Editor of Victorian Homes Magazine, Maril has written hundreds of newspaper and magazines articles on a variety of subjects..

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