New Year’s Resolutions for Writers and Bloggers

As writers and creators of content, more and more we’re finding it necessary to turn to the Internet to showcase our work. While we cannot be in several places at the same time, it’s possible for our material to exist in numerous corners of the Internet, all at once. In an age where Literary Agents and Publishers are holding back on marketing their authors’ books we simply have to turn to each other to propel our material to different audiences, something one person can’t possibly do on their own.

This is where you come in. Make a new year’s resolutions to help promote your writer colleagues from your little corner of our huge office we call the web.

Review their books. It’s like replying an office memo

 We don’t have enough funds to buy everyone’s books, but we all can afford to add other writers’ books to our virtual libraries, review them, add to favourites, give a thumbs-up or a tweet to our colleagues’ titles. If we belong to an e-publisher like Smashwords, this is very easy to do and takes virtually no time at all.

Subscribe to their sites and blogs. It’s like signing their birthday card

People on the Internet can be very cliquey. If visitors notice that a site has a healthy fan-base or following, they’ll add themselves to it too. Support writing and blogging colleagues by subscribing to, or following their blogs and sites. Blogs with a large amount of visitors weigh more with search engine crawlers. This is good news for you as it increases your visibility as a follower or regular visitor, and does wonders for your relationship with other bloggers.

Be a generous ‘linker.’ It’s like taking your turn to make a pot of tea

Many people are very stingy with their links. They won’t give them away for free because they fear this is giving weight to another person’s blog or site. This is nonsense. You’ve voluntarily taken on the responsibility to provide a service to your readers. Whenever you find pertinent information or worthwhile writing tips on other blogs, it behoves you to share this with your readers. The site you’re linking to will take notice and will usually link back to your post so the link hardly ever turns out to be a ‘free’ one.

Social networking, the Christmas party

Many writers on the Internet have now got Twitter, Facebook and other social networking accounts. If a colleague has tweeted a link to their book or work, it’s a nice gesture to at least give them a retweet. This does not go unnoticed. StumbleUpon is a very effective site on which to share work. There is a catch with this site, as you have to be willing to support the interests of your subscribers as well as your own.

Wherever the location of your desk in our large Internet office, resolve to help other writers to become more visible in the way only you can. Make 2010 the year you stick with your resolution all year long!

Thanks for listening. When I’m not on Year Zero Writers, you can find me hanging out here:  A Blogger’s Books

~ by yearzerowriters on December 29, 2009.

8 Responses to “New Year’s Resolutions for Writers and Bloggers”

  1. Hi Anne, I love the analogies in this piece. There are lots of aspectsd of netiquette that are simple good manners, and in teh real life context we wouldn’t dream of not doing them – no one would sit around letting others make tea every day, for example, and not take their turn.

    From a personal point of view,on links, I always like to use twitter to tweet links raher than constantly embedding lots in my blog posts – but the ONLY reason for that is that my tech at home is so slow that creating too many links in blogger crashes it – but if I find something good I’ll always tweet it, and I’ll always retweet something interesting (retweeting is the height of good netiquette, especially if you have more followers than the original tweeter). It’s also good to use your blog to promote great indie things you’ve come across.

    BUT

    and it’s a big but, one where I know I’ve changed my mind (and I’m happy to admit it), and disagree with a lot of indies like the illustrious Henry Baum of Backword Books. If you promote people just because they are fellow independents, or review their book with 5 stars just because they are a friend, your recommendations will soon lose credibility. And if you al review each others’ books it looks a bit strange.

    I am delighted to review and promote the work of all the Year Zero Writers – because I love everything you do. But I’ll only do it if I’m asked now – because I don’t want my endless recommendations to water down the effect. Likewise I wouldn’t expect people to rave about my work – reviewing is the one thing I’m genuinely ambivalent about, even if the work is amazing – I don’t want to wreck anyone’s chances because outside readers think an author is nepotistic (and it’s those outside readers who really matter). I’d rather openly promote on twitter or my blog.

    BUT, and this is the real thing. No matter what our indie aspirations, I would really advocate only promoting work we genuinely believe in – otehrwise our support of not-so-good work diminshes thesupport of those who really should have a wider adience. Like I say, that doesn’t apply here, because everyone is amazing, but I want my blog readers and followers to know that everything I say is great really is.
    Dan

  2. Excellent post and excellent points made in reply by Dan. Especially the bit about only saying something’s good when you really do think it is. Best stay silent otherwise.

  3. That’s true, Dan. I suppose I should’ve added that we only support things of value.
    Having said that, I like to think that we could find something special in most posts. I have friends on the Internet whose first language is not English. Their posts are less than perfect but the material/advice/tip etc is worth a mention. If I’m reviewing something I don’t entirely like, I’d pinpoint the part of it I gained something from.
    The only work I can’t bring myself to praise is one saturated with swearing. I’m not saying these aren’t excellent works in other ways because many times they are. This is just my pet peeve, I suppose. And it’s something I have yet to overcome.
    Thanks for your comment, Dan. And I do agree with you that we’ve got to recommend quality to our readers.
    Anne

    • Anne, I absolutely try to encourage and support everyone I come across who’s really making an efort to do something – it’s only reviews that I have qualms about doing – but there are lots of ways we can help people according to what’s appropriate. The point – and here I am in utter agreement – is that we do SOMETHING for them. What IS difficult is that in order to give real, meaningful help to some, we have to limit the help we give to others. There we get into the realms of making personal judgements. I would love to give hours and hours to over a hundred people but I just can’t. So I will do something for everyone, but have to single some people out in order to give them more help – and inevitably that involves using criteria that will appear arbitrary and unfair. It’s a rather cruel irony that people who do something often come in for more stick (because they helped x, y, and z but not a, b, and c) than those who do nothing. It’s hard when you take the step and decide to be helpful and suppotrive, and you will inevitably come in for criticism for your choices, and resentment. But that’s not an excuse to do nothing. You are a model to us all in this respect, Anne.

      One thing I would add on support that’s not about links and promotion but about nuts & bolts (help with tech, editing, critiquing for example) – if you want to help someone, do it in private – e-mail them, DM them on twitter, but don’t do it or make a grand offer in public – or it’s more about helping yourself by making you look like a generous, super person than it is about helping them. The parable of the tax collector who prays in private and the Pharisee who makes a show of his prayers is something a lot of people on the Internet could learn from.
      Dan

  4. Dan, you’ve certainly helped *me* with the nuts and bolts.
    I think we can only act as humans, no matter how ‘fair’ we try to be to everyone. As you said, I admit that some decisions are made based on personal judgements (sometimes even on how much you know a person rather than how much you like their work). Nevertheless, people appreciate even the few minutes it takes to retweet or submit a work to a social networking site, as we all have limited time to spare.

    I think another thing we should consider is that it’s not difficult to ask for help. I had no idea how to publish a book on Smashwords or Lulu, but you and Larry helped me when I asked. Not only have you helped me, because I know enough now to help someone else.

    Thanks for the vote of confidence too. I admit, I’ve been away at Christmas because we had (still have) family staying with us.

    All in all, a little help is better than none at all. Let me take this opportunity to thank all those who’ve helped me. I really do appreciate every second of your time.
    Anne

  5. Lovely to read such sane & pleasant web views.
    Penny

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