Tis the season and time to think about gifts for writing friends. Last year we gave you a list of 10 Meaningful Gifts that cost little or nothing, and were environmentally friendly. This year we thought we’d dig a little deeper into one suggestion on that list:
Help promote a writer on social media.
This is a gift that can give all year long. Devoting just one hour a month to help eight writers in that hour will mean you take nearly 100 actions to help your writing friends.
So what can you do?
- Support existing social media marketing
This is perhaps the easiest thing you can do. Like, follow and share other writers’ posts, pins and pages. Since friends often share common interests, when someone likes your page, they expose it to their friends who may expose it to their friends and on and on. And it’s likely targeted exposure because friends usually have similar preferences.
Adding an intro line when you share is even more valuable. “My friend Alice is launching her memoir this weekend. Her book is amazing.”
- Write a review
- Subscribe to a writer’s blog
Yes, we know, we all get enough email as it is, but remember, you are in helping mode here. The number of people subscribed to a writer’s blog is a direct indication of their engaged target audience, and a great stat for query letters. Engaged is the optimum word here. Take the time to comment and share.
- Interview a writer on your blog
Most bloggers have a target audience and a general content niche. Brainstorm with a writer you want to help about how your goals intertwine. Perhaps you are a horror writer and your friend is a romance writer. Could your friend answer some questions or do a guest blog about basic romantic principles that cross all genres? Win-win promotion for both of you.
- Spread the word
Before anyone can support blogs and social pages, they need to know they exist! At networking groups or writerly gatherings, talk up favourite blogs and author websites, swap URLs and encourage others to do the same. Perhaps even propose a formal online “marketing swap” through a group you belong to.
- Attend launches
Hopefully, you’ll also buy the book, but even if you can’t always do that, show up. When the author posts pictures later, the larger crowd will say volumes.
- Involve non-writers
Ultimately, a writer wants to sell books. If the only people they can rely on are family and friends, the book has a short shelf life. Do your part by introducing the book to a wider audience. Suggest it to your book club. Call up several friends who read in that genre and suggest you all attend a launch together and socialize afterwards. Buy a book to donate to a silent auction for a favourite charity you support.
- Tech support
In the decade or more that Writescape has had a website, we’ve learned a lot about the back-end workings. How to create posts, schedule blogs, maintain subscription lists etc. etc. For many writers, the technical side of things is a frightening abyss. Can you help a fellow writer learn a trick or two of the “trade”?
- Build supporting others into your life
Busy lives. We all have them. Often we start things with a bang and they fizzle out. Better to help consistently in a small way—constant pebbles making ripples in the marketing pond. Whatever strategies you chose to help fellow writers, build them into your existing life. If scheduling works for you, set aside an hour a month. If you are a Facebook addict, make a habit of sharing a writerly post once or twice a week. If you attend a number of launches, commit to taking a non-writer friend to each one. If you aren’t on social media, write a review.
- Ask what help writers need
Writers are generally an introverted lot and not given readily to asking for help. Start by choosing a handful of writer friends who you would like to help and send them a message something like this:
This holiday season I’ve decided to gift some of my writing friends increased social media promotional support. I am active on (insert social media platforms you use) and am happy to (insert what you are prepared to do: like, share, review, interview. follow blog etc). Please tell me what 3 top actions I can take to best help you.
We, Gwynn and Ruth, would like to thank all of you for subscribing to Writescape’s blog, and commenting on and sharing the posts. Also for your interaction with our Facebook and Twitter posts. It means a lot.