Thursday, March 1, 2012

Tech-Empowered Writers: How to Use Blogs and Social Media to Find Success

Today, I'm participating on a panel at the AWP Conference in Chicago along with Jane Friedman, Seth Harwood, and Christina Katz (who actually invited me). The panel is titled "The Tech-Empowered Writer: Embrace New Media, Experiment, and Earn." The panel starts at 1:30 p.m., and if you're interested (and attending AWP), you can check it out in the Boulevard Room A, B, C in the Hilton Chicago, 2nd Floor.

Social media and blogging led me to this conversation with
Del Cain (right) at the 2011 Austin International Poetry Festival.

If you're not at AWP (or unable to attend), don't stress out too much, because I'm sharing a lot (though not all) of what I expect to cover in this post. I hope to offer value, though I know Jane, Seth, and Christina will surely offer so much more.

How to Use Social Media to Find Success

Christina tasked us all with considering an opening example of how we've used technology to benefit our careers as writers. The first thing that popped in my brain was the power of social media sites, especially Facebook.

As a writer, most of my speaking appearances over the past two years have been requested by contacts on Facebook--and usually even using the messaging service on the site. It's also been useful as far as staying connected to events that are happening and calls for submissions from literary publications.

But most of all, it's been invaluable as a place to connect with other writers and editors. If I read some poems that I just adore, it's not uncommon for me to contact the poet via Facebook and request an interview (or just give a thumbs up). If I see a topic that I might want to cover in one of my books (or on my blog), then I will contact that writer via social networks as well.

While many people claim that social media is mostly hype with no tangible benefits, I beg to argue. In fact, I'd say the only people who can't see the tangible power of social media are those who have closed their minds to the possibility. Don't be that close-minded person.

Instead, check out these tips for taking your social media use to the next level:

How to Use Blogs to Find Success

While social media has been very important to some of my recent successes, those successes have gone hand-in-hand with my blogging success (both here and on my poetry blog, Poetic Asides). My work at Poetic Asides led to me being honored as the 2010 Poet Laureate of the Blogosphere, as well as leading to my first e-book of poetry prompts. My work at Not Bob has helped me connect with writers and conference directors.

For me, there are many ways to measure a blog's success. One might be whether it has a lot of readers. Another might be whether those readers share what they've read. Still another measurable might be whether the blog brings in a significant income for the blogger.

Whatever your measurables, here are some tips for finding success on your blog:

Final Note Regarding the AWP Writing Conference

I'm so stoked about having the opporunity to speak on an AWP conference panel with other professionals I greatly admire. But it's not just the opportunity to speak that has me excited. The AWP writing conference brings together thousands of poets, novelists, teachers, and other professionals involved with the pursuit of writing and writing education.

That means I expect to meet (for the first time ever) several folks I've connected with for years on social media sites like Facebook. If you have the ability to get out to a future AWP conference, please do it. If you're at this AWP, please reach out and say, "Hello." Even if we don't have anything to talk about, I guarantee you it will mean a great deal to me.

(Also, check out this The Tech-Empowered Writer blog post by fellow panel rock star, Jane Friedman. While my post focuses mainly on blogging and social media, Jane covers more advanced tech strategies.)


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Check out these other Not Bob posts for writers:


Unknown said...

As always, great post! The additional links have me buzzing with ideas. :)

Anna Soliveres

Catherine Johnson said...

Thanks Robert!

Patricia Stoltey said...

I think I'll be here the rest of the day following these links. Thanks!

Jessie Lambert said...

Excellent links! I only had time to glance at a few, but I'm definitely going to come back and check the rest out tomorrow!