Will You Social Media Today?

February 5, 2019 § 8 Comments

Antique engraving of a white male writer thinking, an inkwell in front of him and pen in handYes, yes, we know. Build a platform big enough and the agents will beat a path to our door. What we really want to do—what we should actually do more than anything else—is write. Yet as memoirists, agents and publishers want to know: How many people can you reach with the news your book is out? How many of them are in the demographic likely to buy your book? How many will leave a glowing review, either because your book is great or because they love you and you write about what’s important to them?

Platform-building is a long haul, and it’s hard to know how to spend our time and focus day to day. What the heck are we supposed to put on social media anyway?


  • A new book you think is great.
  • Something you overheard that makes interesting dialogue.
  • An article you wrote or were involved in publishing: link the article and quote a couple of sentences that seem mildly inflammatory or counter-intuitive.
  • An article you liked about writing: link plus a quote and/or your opinion or contribution to the advice.
  • A writing meme
  • Encouragement to someone else
  • A fun poll
  • A serious poll
  • A retweet of someone else’s opinion with a comment agreeing or disagreeing or adding to the conversation.
  • A cartoon or quote that inspires you.

Most of us won’t ever get big enough that platform alone gets us published, but plenty of us have stories compelling enough that a nudge from platform might tip us over the edge from unpublished to published. Take a few moments, and build a little of yours today.


Allison K Williams is Brevity’s Social Media Editor and the author of Seven Drafts: Self-Edit Like a Pro from Blank Page to Book. Want writing news, events, and upcoming webinars? Join the A-List!

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§ 8 Responses to Will You Social Media Today?

  • Kim Hinson says:

    This is very helpful information for an often cumbersome task. Thank you! 🙂

  • Useful advice—thank you!

  • jeffseitzer says:

    One of the ironies about the writing community is that many writers are rather introverted and/or do not like calling attention to themselves, which makes platform-building a little onerous. Besides reassuring people there is no silver bullet for most, the one post that will give them an agent/publisher magnet platform, you give specific, low-key things people can do to slowly build a workable platform. Many thanks.

  • […] ICYMI when I shared this on Twitter: some social-media basics. […]

  • Kathy R. says:

    Although I like this, I don’t know how to take this advice. I felt that it was sarcastic or satirical throughout and, though I was genuinely amused, I think (seeing as it is real advice) that you should only do this things if you want to. If they resonate with you. Because people can tell when you are being active in social media for the sake of it and when you are being yourself. Though to be sure you can reach a lot of casual users with constant forced engagement, but whether they will prove to be ‘a platform’ is different I think. I feel I’m missing something here. Am I missing something?

    • Allison K Williams says:

      Hi Kathy – I was sarcastic in the opening because “build platform” is advice nonfiction writers hear all the time from many sources. But the advice is serious. Of course people should only do these things if they want to. But many writers who speak to me at conferences say they’d like to make more connections on Twitter but they don’t know what to post. It’s not that they want to force engagement, it’s that they want to engage at all and don’t know where to start.

      • Kathy R. says:

        Fair enough. In that way is a bit like walking into a massive party in which you don’t know anyone: You feel awkward as hell but, if you can get into a conversation with someone, soon enough you’ll find yourself in a group and find yourself feeling like you’re part of the party. It’s getting over that awkwardness which is very hard for a lot of us haha!

  • […] We talked last week about “what the heck to post on Twitter.” But the early days often feel like speaking timidly into the void (647 following! 12 followers! Augh!). How can you organically grow an online community who share your interests and want to hear what you have to say? […]

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