Riding the Social Networking Bandwaggon

Friday, July 8, 2011

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 Many of us jump on the social networking bandwagon because we’re told that as writers we should.  We read all about social media but we really don’t get what the fuss is about.  That’s until we have a work that’s imminent or not doing so well. 


On Tuesday, while doing that radio interview I talked about last time, I ‘got’ it. One of my aims is to be recognized as a writer locally. That hasn’t happened yet because my books were published in the U.S. and distribution is spotty to non-existent here in Jamaica.   

While we were on the radio, one of the other writers tweeted a few times. To quote her, ‘she’s big on Twitter’. It occurred to me then that I don’t have even a trace of a local following. I follow a couple of Jamaican linked blogs, but the tweeters are based in the U.S. People did hear the interview, but I would have made a bigger impact if I had a big group of tweeters in Jamaica.  This lack has opened my eyes to another aspect of PR that I need to focus on – creating local links. 


Since then, the bookshop where the outside broadcast was done is now following me and I’ve gone in search of other Jamaican bloggers. I’m not one to follow just for the sake of following, but I did find another blogger who tweet interesting snippets. I’ll also keep in the back of my mind the fact that I have to continue to make those local links.  


The people you associate with are the ones who will be first to spread the joy about the waves you are creating.

So, have you done anything to increase your ‘local’ reach? If so, care to share what you’ve done?

24 comments:

  1. I've been building mine slowly for over a year. I only just joined Twitter these past couple of months! But because I have a decent blog following I was able to steer them over there. Any form of social network will get your web presence going :o)

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  2. That must be hard. I try to keep up with my social networking online, but sometimes it overwhelms me and I can't keep up.

    I imagine it must be even more important living in Jamaica.

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  3. Adding you to twitter as I type this. I'm in Canada, not the U.S. or Jamaica, but it doesn't hurt to be international:)
    Nina

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  4. Jessica, I've been on twitter for a while, but haven't seen an noticeable inching up of the numbers until lately.

    Angela, keeping up with writing and networking does sometimes feel overwhelming. At any given time, either one or the other suffers. Hard to find a balance unless I stick with a schedule.

    Nina, thanks! The internet has exposed me to a host of wonderful people, both here and abroad.

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  5. Hi,

    I'm still trying to equate the benefits of Facebook & Twitter. I cannot see the point in either if we're only reaching/seeing the same people we already know via Blogger! Then there's networked blogs & Linkedin. What are the benefits if same faces same voices pop up?

    Don't get me wrong because I've met a great bunch of writers via blogging etc., but encountered few non-writing book readers.

    All that said, the forums and author pages at Amazon provide openings for authors to reach readers, and we need to reach our punters as well as fellow writers.

    It's tough marketing oneself, and to be fair I've picked up a few new faces via Twitter, but mostly the airways are jammed with familiar faces. ;)

    best of luck with working out how to crack the PR of selling books.

    best
    F

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  6. I think I may be the last person left standing who isn't on twitter, or facebook any more. I know, I know, I'll get round to it :)

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  7. Wow, that would be a dilemma, publishing in a different country. Social networking works GREAT though, and it's a lot easier than taking a plane and flying around all over the world! Best of luck!

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  8. This is so important. Everybody talks about getting as many Twitter/FB followers as possible, but nobody emphasizes the importance of LOCAL connections. Everybody--whether in Jamaica, Joplin MO, or Jersey should cultivate local stores, journals, and radio personalities--both online and in person. They can be your core fan base. Stories about "Jamaica/Joplin/Jersey's own J.L. Campbell" can generate a lot of publicity and loyalty.

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  9. Don't kid yourself, it's dang hard to find all the hours in the day it takes to self-promote yourself. You can get so caught up in it all that you don't write anymore - that's not good. Balance, balance, I guess.

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  10. Francine, I know it’s sometimes hard to see the benefits of all the efforts we put in. For me my Facebook page is a little different in that I’ve connected my personal page to my blogs, so my friends – both close and not so close – get to remember every so often that I write. I can but hope that some of those views eventually turn into sales.

    When you look at what some writers have achieved through networking, you realize just how awesome it can be as an avenue to get your writing noticed along with forging friendships. I don’t yet have control of either Facebook or Twitter, but I do know that I can’t handle any more networking. Too much and it becomes overwhelming.

    Amazon I haven’t really explored and that’s something I need to do. Thing I’ve discovered with myself is that as long as the book sounds compelling I’ll read it and I’m guessing that other writes are doing so too. I’m in that same small pond swimming around with other writers, yet, I have to be careful, because I AM spending to buy books by both traditionally published and Indie authors.

    I’m always studying and figuring, so I’ll be watching those who handle themselves and their product well and seeing what I can utilize on my own journey.

    Sarah, everything in due course. You’ll get to it when the time is right. 

    Carol, yes social networking does wonders to bridge the distance.
    Anne, yes, I finally woke up to the fact that I need those local connections and will be putting some emphasis on making these links. My distribution challenges are another issue, but I figure that if I at least make some connections, I can worry about that later. Thanks for dropping in and sharing your thoughts.

    Wendy, yes, I am doing a lot less editing/writing than I used to. I’m trying to refocus my energies to get a lot more done in the writing department. There are way more things for a writer to do each day than hours available to get them done.

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  11. Interesting post. To be honest with you, I am not worried about connecting locally. My priority is to connect with people through my writing, no matter where they are living. I get fascinated by the fact that people can connect through a story because of their own experiences, either on a personal or social level...

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  12. Julia,

    I hear you on connection through a story and that's also important to me. However, it's been an ambition of mine to be recognized as a writer, not just internationally, but locally. I think it might be a while before I accomplish that.

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  13. I haven't done anything to help my local reach. *hangs head guiltily* I'm not sure I'm ready for it yet, anyways. Good luck in the world of social media!

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  14. I blog, I tweet and I use Facebook, but it had never crossed my mind to focus locally. I always thought about it in terms of reaching a wider audience and forgot the one closer to home. Thank you for a great post and I wish you well in building up your local following.

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  15. Rebecca, that is why I enjoy the blogging community. We learn from each other. :) happy I too want to reach that wider audience, but it means a lot to me to have that local connection too.

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  16. So true. And it is hard work but worth it.

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  17. I think local reach is definitely an important aspect of representing your work! I think you're thinking about it in the right way -- if you're not genuine, it doesn't work. I love getting to know local writing and publishing people.

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  20. For me, there hardly is anything local.

    All the best with all your new goals!

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  21. Part of the challenge in Jamaica is that there aren't very many writers, so making links can be a challenge in itself, but now that I've thought of it, I'll definitely be keeping my eyes and ears open for the other folks who like to write.

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  22. Nas, I have the same challenges, however, many Jamaicans now seem to be using Twitter. I just don't know more than a handful. Not that I'm going to allow that to be a major challenge for long.

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  23. I think both ways should be strategically implemented. because local exposure means that people will start looking at books again because wherever you are, the story is people don't read anymore. International focus is also important because you need to put bread on the table while patiently woking your name up locally and it doesn't hurt for someone from camaroon to be reading your book.

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  24. Francine this depend on which forums you join. I've notived that if you check out the review blogs and look at who they are affiliated to, you'll find that those are readers. Example - Bookblog.ning amongst others, have mostly readers.

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Don't be shy. I'd love to hear what you think.