The Craft of Writing—Techno Savvy

Recently, I’ve read several books and articles on what agents/editors/publishers want besides good writing skills, a unique voice, original plot, and strong characters. They demand a strong platform—online social networking. In other words, they want a lot of people to know your name. Your brand. Remember the song, We Are the World? Now is the time to embrace the concept. Get online and shout, “Hello, World!”

If you’re like me and shun all technology beyond e-mail and cell phones, you are living in the dark ages. Create a blog, purchase a domain name and website package, create a Facebook (my grandchildren taught me to do this), and learn to tweet (Is tweet a verb? If so, how would you conjugate it? I tweet; I tweeted; I have tweeted; I’m tweeting?)

Think of a blog as a letter to a friend, a website as your professional image. Facebook is like walking down the street with your friend, Jane. Along the way, you meet another friend, Morgan, who doesn’t know Jane. Morgan is with one of her friends, Nancy; neither you nor Jane knows Nancy—did you follow that? A friend of a friend, okay? You have a circle of friends; Jane, Morgan, and Nancy each have a circle of friends you don’t know. When the circles intersect, lots of new people see your name. That’s a good thing. You want as many people as possible to know your name. 

Do the math—this isn’t difficult even for an English teacher: If you have 10 Facebook friends (it’s easy to multiply by 10s), and they each have 10 Facebook friends, you now have your name in front of 100 people (I think). If the Facebook friends of each of your friends have 10 Facebook friends, well, you get the picture. If not, get out your calculator, or trust me when I say the number increases exponentially. What? Just because I’m mathematically challenged doesn’t mean I don’t know a few math words. I wasn’t married to an engineer for 25 years for nothing!

Think of Twitter as a quick greeting/note/response, as brief as a handshake—Hey, how ya doin’? Or Let’s meet on Tuesday for lunch. Or Did you see Burn Notice last night? Or I love you! Be careful with that last one.

I mentioned in an earlier post that I joined several writing associations. Romance Writers of America (www.rwa.com), offered online classes to help me get started with social networking. Just this month, I’ve learned to use several tools to fling my name into cyberspace—in a good way.

I know how to write. I know what to write. I make time to write. Every day. But all this is only part of the picture. It’s no longer enough to write a good book; you must help with marketing as well. Think of this as a rite of passage from unpublished to published writer. Or you could think of it as blackmail by the publisher: “Do this or your book dies!” Did I mention that I also belong to Mystery Writers of America? Whatever you call it, you have one more skill to hone—just when you thought passive voice or comma placement was the only skill you needed to master.

I gave myself two challenges this week: 1) learn to add tags to my blog, and 2) create a writer’s Facebook account separate from my friends and family Facebook—some things are not for the world to know.

I challenge you to 1) go online and read your favorite writers’ websites, blogs, Facebook, and Twitter, and 2) create a blog or Facebook—even if it’s for friends and family only. Some blog sites enable you to link Facebook and Twitter to the blog (wordpress.com does).

Take the challenge: Let’s get techno savvy and cyber-social! Do it; Write Now!

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About Susan Harvey

I'm a humor writer and a newly retired college English instructor. I enjoy reading and writing yet don't take time to do what I really love--writing. I began writing a mystery-romance novel three years ago. Now that I'm retired, I will make time to write with the goal of finishing my novel.
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5 Responses to The Craft of Writing—Techno Savvy

  1. Viv says:

    Can I just live through your facebook, tweet and blog? I already don’t take of the friends I have! Love this!

  2. Tom Clancy says:

    Very Nice site, Susan! Here is my “professional” bog site: http://tmclancy-writingactualized.blogspot.com/
    I’m not as active there as I’d like to be, but it’s new for me this semester, so we’ll see if it builds. My partner and I are working with a group of eleven faculty, different from the eleven last year, and helping them do technological/writing in their classroom, such as using blogs. I envy you joining your writing groups–they sound really neat. And, of course, as I am away, now the meetings are nearby to Myrtle Beach!

    My work partner and I are probably going to NCTE in November in Orlando. It’s only a 4-hour drive from here, so Nina would probably come with me, too–staying either at Disney’s Coronado Springs or at the Yacht and Beach Club Resorts. She will definitely want to be along for that! We just went together to a SACS conference in Tampa July 25-28, so we’ve been seeing new places lately.

    I guess I’m at a different point on the writing spectrum than you. While I believe that your writing, whether fiction or non-fiction, is a much higher-than-normal outlet of creativity and art, I am still in the trenches of academe, trying to fight for students to write a little bit very often, that is not evaluated for style, rather than writing only two or three times a semester, for credit. We believe that, in this digital age, every class must be a hybrid class. This means that students discover the course content mostly beyond the classroom, and use the classroom face-to-face time for working on applications of the course content–this is the reverse from the traditional model.

    Anyway, it’s still fun, and I am beginning my second year, so those are both good things.

    Stay in touch,
    Tom

    • Susan Harvey says:

      Thanks, Tom. I only recently decided to take writing seriously. I’ve thrown myself into it and learned a lot already but need so much more knowledge and skill of the craft. You are right about one thing: it’s not a job for me; I love every writing minute. I think working on a novel is more fun than any other writing I’ve done. The story and character development require a lot of work, but it’s rewarding to see both take on a life of their own. Once the plans are established, the writing is easy. The revising, well, that’s a different story!

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