Social Media: A DragonCon Perspective

We had an interesting panel on “Social Media: Love It or Hate It” – I think the consensus was “It’s a necessary evil.”

Social Media Panel: Jim, Sasha, Jeanne, Steven, Alan, Roger, L.M.

Social Media Panel: Jim, Sasha, Jeanne, Stephen, Alen, Roger, L.M.

Here are some of the highlights:

Allen Steele provided us with “Steele’s Law” – A writer’s output varies in inverse proportion to the time they spend on social media.

Jim Menz: It’s always been an author’s job to market – it’s just easier now with social media

Jeanne Stein: When I sold my first book, I thought I was going to get a publicist who would do everything for me … but if all you ever say is “Buy my book,” it’s not going to work.

L.M. Davis explained a bit about how different social media platforms are popular with different ages. Right now, teens and young adults are more often found on Instagram and Twitter, while Facebook serves an older crowd.

The bottom line from all speakers was: if you’re not comfortable in the medium, don’t use that one. If you don’t like posting photos, stay away from Instagram and Pinterest. If you don’t plan to share several times a day, Twitter probably isn’t for you.

Roger Bellini: You have to have a social media presence as an author

Allen: There’s always the Baskin-Robbins Theory – give away the first taste free. What we’re talking about is coming up with strategies for yourself – use your website as information for the world.

Jim: Having something smart to say is better than pitching your book – it’s about the content, not the format

Stephen Antczak shared stories of how he’s reached out to authors on social media when he didn’t have an email address – he’s even used it to find work as a movie or TV extra!

 

More From DragonCon: What Do You Want To Know?

Here are some more gems of wisdom from the experts at the Writer’s Track.

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Nancy Knight: Never start a sentence with a semicolon.

Georgia McBride: This business runs on new material – we need it and we want it – but the submission guidelines are there for a reason.

Claire Eddy: If you have five editors, you have seven opinions.

Anthony Francis: My first advice is to write. Don’t think about it, don’t look for a market or an agent – just keep writing until you’re finished.

John Hartness: The Book of Your Heart – that Great Project you’ve been working on since high school – finish the piece of shit and shove it into a drawer. This is a business.

Debra Dixon: You’ve got to get some rejections or you have nothing to talk about at the bar.

Nancy Knight: There are two things you need – storytelling and technical ability.

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There are even more great panels scheduled for today, too!

Don’t Quit Your Day Job: Advice from DragonCon

Some really good advice from Kevin J. Anderson and his wife, Rebecca Moesta. The panel was entitled “Things I Wish Some Pro Had Told Me.”

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Here are some of the highlights:

  • Always be professional. Dress professionally whenever you appear as your author-self. Act in a professional manner at all times – especially when you are online. It’s easy to forget that “The internet is forever” and say or do something unprofessional. An author is a public persona, so prepare to be “on stage” at any time.
  • Always be kind. There is nobody so unimportant that you can afford to be unkind to them. Everyone is a potential reader, a fellow author, an editor or agent or publisher – and you don’t know who is who most of the time, so treat everyone politely. That author you dissed in public or on Facebook might just end up editing an anthology you really want to be part of.
  • Don’t whine. If someone else has better success than you, don’t act like a child and complain about how much better your work is – get back to writing and prove it. Don’t bitch and moan about that short story assignment – turn it in and be grateful you have the opportunity. Nobody likes a whiner.
  • Always do your best. No matter what you write, it’s going to be somebody’s introduction to your work. Make sure it’s a good example.
  • Get used to rejection. Kevin’s first writing award is a trophy he got for having the most rejection slips at a conference. Rejection doesn’t mean you’re a failure – it means that particular editor or agent or publisher, for whatever reason, doesn’t want that particular work at that particular time. You have to put your best work out there until it sells.
  • Don’t quit your day job. Writing is a risky business. Kevin and Rebecca have to write one extra book each year just to pay for health insurance. If you’ve got a job, no matter how little you like it, keep it for the benefits. When you’re regularly making the best-seller lists and have a couple of years’ worth of expenses in the bank, you can think about writing full time. Until then, play it safe.

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Kevin and Rebecca’s website is a great place to read more. It also has a link to their publishing house and the writing seminar they run, called Superstars.