Five Tips For New Writers Like Me

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Five Tips For New Writers Like Me

The digital age is full of promise for new writers like me. It’s also full of so many options it’s ridiculously overwhelming. Here are the top things I’ve learned so far:

5. Wade In, Don’t Dive: On the advice of a friend, I signed up for a Twitter account and just got used to it. It took me a full year to actually post a tweet. How did people use it?  What do people tweet? What do I want to tweet?  Who will be my tweeps? (I just had to get the word “tweeps” in here somehow. I never actually use it. But I love it so.)

When I went to a teaching conference last summer, a facilitator asked us to live tweet him during his session and I did. And that was the impetus I needed to spin into the Twitterverse. Now, I’m connected to writers, teachers and other interesting people from all over the world. I’m grateful that I took time time to wade rather than dive in because I would have become really frustrated.

I also love Goodreads.  I’ve been using it as a way of remembering books I want to read and sharing books with friends for four years; now I have my own author’s page.  Goodreads is quite user-friendly and the smartphone app is great.

Tumblr? Instagram? Google +? I’ll wade into those eventually. I just need to figure out how and if I can use them effectively.

If you have any suggestions for worthwhile social media sites, comment away!

4. Dive In, Don’t Wade In: Once you are on social media, start connecting immediately. Be a shameless (but not annoying) promoter of your work.  “Like” writers and writing organizations on Facebook and Twitter.  Like, retweet and favorite away.  Read other writers’ blogs.  Get the word out about your book.  Get the word out about other books.

3.  Connect Face-To-Face:  Online connections are important in the Digital Age but nothing will ever replace the importance of meeting up with other writers. Find your local writing group, get a writing partner, go to readings and book signings.  Yes, the act of writing is solitary, but you need a village of allies and critical friends to make your manuscript come to life.  And sometimes you just need to get out from behind that laptop and talk to a human being.

2. Get Some Swag: Today, I met award-winning thriller/horror writer Jonathan Maberry at a signing at The Moravian Bookstore in Bethlehem, PA. He was a great blend writer, nice guy and salesman.  He was kind, engaging and easy-going. And he had immense confidence about his work. He was thrilled to be talking about it and his energy was contagious

If you can’t sell your writing, no one else can.  Yes, it’s terrifying to send out queries, promote your book, and – eek! – pitch your book. Don’t let that little Devil of Self-Doubt on your shoulder stifle you from telling the world and future readers about it. Which leads me to…

1. Be Yourself and Have Fun: Don’t try to fit into a mold.  Just do you.  Are you goofy, serious, a zombie fan, a goldfish lover, a runner, or a skateboarder?  Let that flag fly, baby.  And have a great time doing it.

Please leave your advice below.  I’d love to hear what you have to say about what you’ve learned.

About Heather Harlen

Heather is the writer of the HOPE YOU GUESS MY NAME: A THRILLER (Book 1 of the Marina Konyeshna Thrillogy) and teacher who is trying to make every day count without burning out. Look for SHAME, SHAME, I KNOW YOUR NAME (BOOK 2 of the Marina Konyeshna Thrillogy) in early 2017 (Northampton House Press). www.heatherharlen.com

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