Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Does Social Networking Work?

Do sites like Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and other social networking avenues do anything for you or your career? I guess that depends on how you use it. Three of my most recent clients came to me through just those avenues.

In one case I contacted a client of mine to ask if she had any interest in writing a nonfiction book I had a request for. She didn't have the time in her schedule, but put the word out on my behalf to a professional group she belongs to online. I found at least one new client that way.

In another case I put the word out on Twitter that I was looking for a very specific type of book, fiction, based on a conversation I had with an editor. Surprisingly only three people responded. I read the work of one, loved her voice, and so did the editor.

In a third case, through an #askagent session I held on Twitter, an author asked a question about the genre she was writing. In my answer I suggested she explore another author. She did, queried me on the work, and within a week or so (maybe longer) I had a new client.

And a fourth case, a bonus case, involved yet another nonfiction author. In this case I put the word out through Twitter, which also connects to my Linkedin and Facebook profiles, about an expert I was seeking for a book project an editor was looking for. Within days we had a deal.

While obviously these sites might not net you an agent, I think they can go very far in helping you gain an understanding of the industry and network, which in today's business world is critically important for everyone.


Jessica

19 comments:

Hart Johnson said...

I have my agent and a write-for-hire cozy mystery contract through blogging--a writer friend didn't have time for a project and her agent asked if she had a recommendation--based on my voice and the friendship we'd developed, she recommended me to her agent for the audition. I also have a romance writer friend who hears most of her 'calls for submission' (typically eBooks, but Samhain and Harlequin, so far) via Twitter and has three novellas being released between now and December.

It totally works if people take the time to use it right instead of just thinking it is an advertising outlet... networking is two-way, but I see a lot of new authors (especially self-published folks who have dived in without taking the time to learn what they are really good at) just push push push, instead of learning the two-way thing of it. (and that is mostly just annoying--they are harming themselves.)

Marlena Cassidy said...

Having a network anywhere pretty much helps writers out. With the internet and social networking sites, writers can reach and research audiences and prospective agents/editors that they might not have known existed prior to the internet explosion.

Joyce said...

I've been on Twitter for a little more than a year and I've "met" so many people I wouldn't have otherwise. I thought I knew a lot about the industry, but I've learned much more in the past year.

Writers should follow agents, editors, book bloggers, other writers, publishing houses, etc. You'll be as surprised as I was at how much you didn't know.

If you follow agents, you'll get a glimpse of their personalities. It's helpful to see how they interact with others, and may help you decide if he or she is someone you'd like to work with.

essay online said...

Thanks for the interesting post!

ashleesch.com said...

I never thought I'd be a blogger, but I've found it's fun to write about what I'm doing, and it's just another way for me to meet some awesome friends! I've been active online for over a decade, but being able to blog has felt a lot more like people who "get me" will be able to interact with me, whereas writers websites/forums are really such a melting-pot of personalities, I could never feel at home at any I tried. So social networking has been great for me; great to make new friends and share parts of a writer's life that non-writers don't understand. ;) As a completely personal feeling, that's more important to me than any other benefit I might get.

~Ashlee
http://ashleesch.com
http://theDragonsHoard.bigcartel.com

Debra Lazar Schubert said...

I found my previous agent via Twitter. I can't recommend social networking enough.

lynnrush said...

I think if it's used wisely, it can really be a great tool. I've met many people through Twitter, Facebook, and Blogging. It's a great way to connect. If I'm looking at a certain agent to query or something, I'll watch them online to get to know them better. Their personalities. Things like that.

Plus, it's just so much fun!! I love hanging out on blogs, Facebook and Twitter talking to people, both writers and non-writers.

Caleb said...

Jessica,
your posts keep getting better. Because of my connection to you on facebook in the last week, I have been able to network with over 100 different authors that I wouldn't have otherwise been able to connect with. It puts me in a better position because each one of them has a different ear in the industry. Each one also wants to be successful and most are willing to help another be successful. When I finish my work in progress, I will have a network, second to none, to help me succeed.

girlseeksplace said...

If done properly, social networking can absolutely work in your favor. For me, it's been a tool to meet fellow writers and find literary journals. I've had the chance to read some great books because of people I've met on Twitter and/or Facebook.

Robena Grant said...

Great post. I've been wondering about this topic. I'm still trying to figure out Twitter. Only got my account a couple of weeks ago. I recently joined Google+ and am enjoying adding people to my circles. Have never been a Facebook person but, we'll see.
My new website, www.robenagrant.com went live a week ago and has a blog within, I'm enjoying the smoothness of that. Today I'm a guest blogger at www.bettyverse.com (author Lucy March aka Lani Diane Rich). It's a great community and friendly should you wish to drop by. My topic is, Messages From the Other Side. ; )
Now I'm going to read up on the ins and outs of Twitter, hope to see you out there in Twitterland.

SBJones said...

Every tool when used correctly will produce quality results. Sure you can hammer in a screw, but there is a better tool for that.

wry wryter said...

I am so far behind in social networking that my ass is in front of me.

sarahjoyliteraryagent said...

Good point. I really need to up my twitter/blog usage, especially regarding the business side of things. I am kind of sucking at it right now. Blech. Thanks for the reminder!

Sarah Joy, an associate agent-in-training.

Donna said...

My networking has helped me connect with some great writers and new friends. It has also helped with improving my writing and my discipline.

Anonymous said...

It works in small cases. Remember the post you recently wrote about one or two people loving a book, but how the only way to indiate success is with sales figures?

It's the same with social networks. A lot of authors, growing in number each day thanks to .99 kindle books, hawking for attention and getting nowhere.

Unless you're really looking to have fun, and maybe once in a while grab a few sales or make a few important contacts, most of it is a waste of time.

However, you still have to do it just in case.

Stacy said...

I wonder about this constantly. I know an author needs a platform, but is blogging regularly the way to do it? Am I wasting my time? I've made a lot of friends and I'm writing every day, so that's good, but still, I wonder if I'm doing the right thing.

Sharla Lovelace said...

Yay! Since I was one of those examples, I'll say that Twitter is imperative these days. It's quick, doesn't involve long blog posts to read, and like someone said, you get to know personalities. You can interact somewhat personally with people in the industry before you ever put your work in front of them. And then reference that connection in your query...you never know when just something that simple can put you in the to-be-read over 30 other queries that day.

Powersites Chris said...

Absolutely, social media and blogging can and does help authors. It helps to have a focus and a plan before you jump in, as managing social media is a huge time gobbler.

JMCOOPER said...

Twitter amazes me on a daily basis--the amount of people on that monster is incredible! Fantastic post--very encouraging and I'm going to keep on tweeting my way to success! (Oh...and maybe a little writing too...)