Internet Presence Matters

Being a writer nowadays is much different than when guys like Mark Twain were getting paid by the word for serial novels. Now you almost have to be somebody already to rise above the noise and get some attention. The best way to do that is to create a good internet presence for yourself and stay active on social media.

There are sites that will not accept you as a contributor unless you have some sort of social media presence. You are expected to respond to comments and promote your posts online. Some places won’t even consider you unless you have a decent amount of followers. That always felt strange to me because having followers doesn’t necessarily correlate to how well you can write. However, if clicks are the only way sites make money, they are better off hiring people who will bring people in right off the bat.

Everyone has heard stories about writers getting lots of rejection letters before their big break, but the internet levels the playing field a little. It gives writers more of a chance to reach an audience. A perfect example of an author getting their big break through the power of the internet is Andy Weir. He got rejected by agents, so he started publishing his book a chapter at a time on his website. People would give him feedback – mostly scientists making suggestions or correcting factual errors – and he would make the corrections. To appease readers, he compiled the book and published it as an ebook. It was, if you can believe it, only .99 cents. It made Amazon’s Science Fiction best seller list, and from there it was picked up by a publishing company. After that, it won awards and was made into a film with big names like Matt Damon, Jessica Chastain, and Michael Peña. All that happened because Andy Weir had access to the internet.

What I’m saying is that as a writer in the modern world, it is key to have an active social media presence. You need to produce content regularly to keep yourself relevant and fresh in peoples’ feeds. An easy way to do that is to post on a blog or add pictures on Instagram. Be sure to respond to comments and inquiries. If you are concerned about privacy, you can have more than one account – one that lets you post more personal things and one that you have open for public viewing and commenting.

In order to have a good social media presence, think like the big guys. You want to have a website that is easy to find, so learn some SEO tricks to be sure that your site ranks high and is obvious in internet searches. You should also select a domain name that is easy to remember and makes sense. Your name makes a perfect internet address. Follow other writers with large followings and comment on their sites. Interact on forums, or share/retweet things that you are interested in to draw attention to your own site.

If you need more help, there are books and websites out there to give you more detailed instructions. Or you can message me in the comments and I will get back to you.