is a very different question from social media for established authors. This has become apparent from the social media panels I’ve attended at cons over the last eight months or so.
When I went to the social media panel (yes, the - there’s only one) at Fantasycon last September, it became apparent that, with the best will in the world, I knew more about social media than the panellists did. And I’d only been online since January of that year. When I went to the social media panel (again, the) at Eastercon just a few weeks ago, the panellists definitely knew more. But even so, only one person mentioned hashtags and that was only right at the end.
Hashtags are the WAY!!! So I put my hand up and suggested several that people might like to follow (#amwriting, #amediting, #amrevising and #litagent). This led one of the panellists, Paul Cornell, who has been writing and publishing for YEARS, to tell me I should be on the panel.
Cue extreme mortification.
But he was right.
The thing about established authors is that, well, they’re established already. They’ve been around for a while and people know about them. That’s what established means, after all. They didn’t have to build up a platform on Twitter and Facebook. When social media became a ‘thing’, people went looking for them because they already knew about them. They just do their thing and their fans find and follow them. They didn’t have to start from scratch. Which is brilliant. But not so helpful for new and aspiring authors who don’t have fans yet.
That said, for new authors it’s a little different. If they have an agent and they get on with their editor and various other people (publicity folk and such) they will have a bunch of people to follow and talk to online. The wider world doesn’t necessarily know about them yet, but they will get introduced via their contacts who are already plugged in and, voila! A network is born. It’s not instantaneous, but it happens.
And for aspiring authors who don’t have an agent or an editor or, well, anyone? Yeah, you drew the short straw. You have to do it yourself. Which is fine, provided you’re used to using the internet and can figure out how to find stuff. Because seriously, it’s all there. You just need to find it.
In case you ended up at this post because you were looking for some helpful advice, you can go here for 15 hashtags for writers, such as #amwriting and #amediting. Personally I’ve never used any of the others, but every little helps, right?
What you also don’t see enough of is particular people to follow. If you want to know about querying, try following @Ann_Collette and @SaraMegibow. These are both agents. Ann periodically does Today’s Twelve, where she tweets 12 queries – genre, whether it’s a pass or request and why. Sara does #10queriesin10tweets (so follow the hashtag) and again, she tells you the genre, whether it’s a pass or request and why. This is invaluable. Straight from the horse’s mouth. The website QueryShark is brilliant, too. People send in their queries and Janet Reid rips them to shreds, or tells us (and the querier) what works and why. The novel of a query she loved recently sold.