If you are a writer and you have chosen not to network because you don't have time and you are sitting in your writing cave, churning out tomes of material that few people see, then come out into the sunlight of social media and blogging and grab a shovel. There is work to be done.
I have been networking steadily through Twitter, Facebook, Digg, Linked In, Reddit and Wordpress since December and I have already seen results greater than years of relying only on e-mail and Facebook alone to build a platform. Through networking I have met some wonderful people, from Matthew Wright, one of New Zealand's most published historians and writers to best selling author Jonathan Gunson, to Julia at The Writing Aficionado who is just starting out. I have compiled a list of things I'm doing to build my platform and (as always) improve myself as a writer. If you have anything to add to the list, feel free to comment.
1. Twitter - I signed up on Twitter when it first went live but have only been using it seriously for six months. I have configured Wordpress to post new blogs there, but I have also clicked the search bar to look for profiles of writers and writing and any other topic or company that I blog about. When I post an article about writing, I will tweet directly to the author or organization with the most followers and when they retweet the link, my blog hits get a considerable boost.
2. Facebook - I have been using this website to network mostly with local people. Many of my Facebook friends are people I went to school with, former students, acquaintances, and so on. If someone wants to "friend" me I usually do. The only reason I would not "friend" someone is if they are a current student. Our school has a very wise policy concerning this. My new blog posts will automatically link to my Facebook page and I have several readers from my friends list because of it.
3. Digg and Reddit - I get most of my news from these sites. I will usually surf around until I find an article that has not been posted, post it to Digg and Reddit, and that article will link back to my blog. I will also post my blog articles on these two sites and sometimes I have found that Digg and Reddit readers will click on over to see what I'm writing.
4. Linked In - I use this site sparingly right now because I haven't built up enough clout to link in with more influential people. I am linked with a reviewer who reviews Amazon books and he has many publishers linked to his account. He gave a very positive review to my first book The Transgression Box, and I'm hoping he can put me in touch with the right people... who happen to be linked to him. I will send him a copy of my newest book when it goes live.
5. Blogging - Whether you are subscribed to Wordpress or Blogspot or another blogging service, this is probably one of the most important things you can do to build a platform. It is the heart of mine and all other networking efforts are the veins and arteries. I blog every day and sometimes twice. I respond to my commenters, I check out their blog posts and "like" them genuinely, comment when I feel the need, and spend quite a bit of time with the upkeep of it all. It is much work but it pays off. If you are a writer and you are not blogging, you are not reaching your full potential. Don't forget to schedule daily writing time, though.
6. Writing Groups - Find a writing group near you. Get involved with them, print out what you are writing, make copies and give it to them. Let them chew it up and spit it out. Not only are these writing groups good for your writing skills, but also many of them will be more accomplished than you and have a bigger platform. They might be able to put you in touch with someone like a literary agent or a publisher, but rest assured you will have to do a lot of work to make your writing the best you can produce. You cannot grow as a writer if you do not have some face-to-face honest criticism and then heed that criticism. I find it to be the most valuable tool for pulling the thorns of poor phrasing, bad descriptions, mixed metaphors and plot problems out of my prose.
As stated above, if you have anything you would like to add to this list then all of us could appreciate the use of it. I believe in listening to the wisdom of people who have been down the path and also helping the people who want to travel it. Let's take the journey together.