Do Writers Need Social Media?

Photo credit: Cakehead Loves on Flickr
So as many of you know, and I have said here before, I am all over the internet. Twitter, tumblr, Blogger, Facebook, YouTube, Instagram, Pinterest—I use pretty much everything except Google+ (though Google+ automatically made me an account anyway because…Google).

I occasionally talk about platform building and tips for specific social media sites, but in online communities that can easily become overwhelming (and really time-consuming) and is sometimes volatile, the question is often asked: do writers really need social media?

In today’s day and age, unless you’re a massively huge bestseller, a lot of the responsibility to market your books is on you—the writer. And unsurprisingly, a lot of that marketing happens online via various social media accounts. But how involved and engaged does a writer need to be online? Honestly…I’m not sure.

Social media does undeniably help, and authors who engage online have the opportunity to connect with fans and find new ones. Authors like Tahereh Mafi, Maggie Stiefvater, V.E. Schwab, Lindsay Smith, Dahlia Adler, and Megan Erickson I’ve either read or have on my TBR shelf because I liked them online first, and so I checked out their books. And probably 90% of my TBR shelf is based off online recommendations, word of mouth (online), and social media buzz around a book.

That is to say, as far as marketing goes, social media works.

But there are, of course, down sides. Social media takes up a lot of time, online witch hunts are terrifying, and there’s a lot of negativity online that’s been known to trigger stuff for some writers and even pushed them into social media breaks of varying lengths. Which is understandable because your health—emotional, mental, and physical—comes first.

I think, nowadays, it’s hard for writers to get by without any social media, but how much you engage online is totally up to you. Some writers keep social media at a distance and only really update for major news and occasional shares. Other writers like myself are much more involved online and engage directly with fans, readers, and other writers. How involved you are and how many social media branches you use is totally up to you—the more you use the more people you can potentially reach, but it does require a balance because a) you have books to write and b) the aforementioned sometimes negative atmosphere online.

All in all, I think while some social media is at least partially necessary for most writers, the how much totally depends on the person. Do whatever feels most natural for you and you should be just fine.

How much social media do you use? 

Twitter-sized bites:
Do writers really need social media? @Ava_Jae shares her thoughts. (Click to tweet)  
How much social media do writers really need? @Ava_Jae says it depends on the person. What do you think? (Click to tweet)

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