How Social Media Can Help Writers Get Their Mojo Back

One
year ago, I had no clue how to use social media. Sure, I had 100
friends on Facebook and had vaguely heard of Twitter, but it all
sounded like a total time sink. Boy, was I wrong. What I didn’t know
then was that social media would not only help me get my mojo back, it
would land me a publishing deal that found four houses fighting over my
book, in addition to introducing me to my tribe, the people who get me
and are committed to helping me achieve my dreams. 

    

Guest column by Lissa Rankin, M.D., author
of What’s Up Down There? Questions You’d
Only Ask Your Gynecologist If She Was Your
 Best Friend. Check out Lissa’s website, Owning Pink.

YES, WE HAVE TO BE BLOGGERS, TOO

But first, let’s rewind. It
all started three years ago, after I quit my job as a full time OB/GYN
to follow my passion to write a book. After a year of writing, I was
fortunate to find a fabulous literary agent, who I lovingly call Monkey
Barbara (in real life: Barbara Poelle of Irene Goodman Literary).
Barbara shopped my memoir to every possible publisher—to no avail. Over
tears and a few glasses of Pinot Noir, Monkey Barbara and I decided to
shelve the book. I had surrendered the need to see this book in print,
but I wasn’t ready to bail on following my dreams of being a published
author. Monkey Barbara said, “Girlfriend, you gotta write a blog to
show the publishers that 100,000 people care what you have to say.” My
first reaction was, “Say what? I’m already a doctor, artist, mother,
and wannabe writer. Now I have to be a blogger, too?” She held my hand
and nodded.
And so, good little girl scout that I am, I complied.

DIVE INTO SOCIAL MEDIA

They say, “If you build it, they
will come.” But was it really true? I wasn’t sure, and I wasn’t taking
any chances. So I hired a social media coach, who spent a month
instructing me about Twitter and Facebook. What I discovered is that
social media is the law of attraction in action. Within three months,
my readers appeared. OwningPink.com quickly took on a life of its own
and grew bigger than me. The community rallied together to help
themselves and each other reclaim their mojo (aka MOre JOy)—by telling
the whole truth in a nurturing, loving community. As a natural next
step, I launched a forum on Ning.com so the community could spread the
love, upload photos, pimp out their profile, and connect more
intimately. Within six months, my Twitter account (@lissarankin) had more than 30,000 followers, and Forbes named me among the “20 Inspiring Women to Follow on Twitter.”

Lo
and behold, within months after launching my blog and venturing out
into the world of social media, an editor who had read my unpublished
memoir called me to pitch a book idea. And now, a year after Monkey
Barbara and I tearfully toasted goodbye to my memoir, my book, What’s Up Down There? Questions You’d Only Ask Your Gynecologist If She Was Your Best Friend (St.
Martin’s Press, Sept. 2010), is set to come out strong. And how did I
meet Dr. Christiane Northrup, who wrote the foreword to my book? You
guessed it. Twitter.

So how can you leverage social media to get your mojo back and launch your writing into the world? Some tips:

1. Follow.
Follow everyone who follows you on Twitter. You never know who you
might meet. Seek out “tweeps” whose interests overlaps with yours and
follow them.

2. Engage. Play nice in the sandbox and be
ALL YOU, ALL THE TIME. Nobody wants to follow someone who posts nothing
but shameless self-promotion. Love on your tweeps and Facebook friends
and they’re likely to do the same. When someone makes a Facebook
comment or sends you a message on Twitter, give them a virtual *Hug*.

3. Be Authentic. Don’t
try to sell yourself, use buzzwords, or say what you think people want
to hear. It’s amazing how clearly insincerity comes across on the
internet. Be true to your mission, your integrity, and yourself.

4. Support and promote your friends and fans.
If someone writes something cool on their blog, link to it and talk it
up on social media. Retweet (RT) posts that inspire you on Twitter.

5. Meet in person. Tweet-ups
(meetings of local tweeps), exchanging e-mails privately, and phone
calls are great ways to strengthen the connections you’ve made on
social media. I have formed intimate friendships and strong
professional partnerships with many people I met through social media
circles. And it just keeps getting better.

This post is an online exclusive complement
to a spotlight on Lissa in the Sept./Oct. 2010
issue of WD. If you don’t have a sub to
Writer’s Digest, what are you waiting for?
Get one now!



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4 thoughts on “How Social Media Can Help Writers Get Their Mojo Back

  1. Moki of Moki's Fanfiction Blog

    I loved this post so much since it is coming at the perfect time for me. I’m a woman who wants to start a community too. I want to help other writers out there, specifically those who are trying their writing wrings by venturing into the hobby of fanfiction as a jumping-off point. So many are embarrassed to admit they write fanfiction, which is a shame as there are some great writers hidden in that community. Some of which I’m sure could be published in the "real world" someday with just a little encouragement and advice.

    As I’m starting this venture, I go from moments where I’m positive that I can do it and others where I think I should just give up. Building a community takes time but your tips above have given me ideas of what I can do to make that time go faster.

    Thanks so much for your words of wisdom, since they come from someone who’s already made it to the other side, they’ve given me much hope that I *can* do this.

    Thank you,
    Moki

  2. Florence Fois

    This must be the day for social networking issues. BookEnds’ blog also has a question about this issue.

    I’ve been walking around the edge, not knowing how to dive into the deep end. Your post has given me the encouragement to follow my first instinct and … do it! Thanks.

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