Writing is often a singular existence. It's just me and my computer, most of the time. Although I've been a member of the Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI) for many years, connecting with my peers beyond an annual writing conference and my intimate monthly critique group wasn't something I thought much about prior to January 2018, when I decided to up my digital game.
Over the years, it's become clear a web presence is almost a requirement, if a writer wants to be taken seriously when querying agents/editors. Though many writers cringe at the idea of using social media (I feel your pain), the Internet is a fabulous source of information and support from other writers.
Want to skip my ramblings? Jump down to "Writing Organizations."
A history lesson
My Facebook account has, for years, allowed me to keep up with high school/college friends and distant relatives, some strung from coast to coast. Prior to 2018, my posts usually centered around my private life. Early on, it didn't dawn on me Facebook could provide writers (me) with a web-based "tree house fort" where minds could meet like minds.
Then came Twitter. I made fun of it when my children, in their teens at the time, started tweeting. My youngest daughter's senior year, I created my @HaasBren account ... with plenty of grumbling. One of my teen's activities required a parent join, as group announcements would be Twitter blasted to the masses. Within minutes, a surprising number of my housewife peers friended me. I laughed ... and promptly tweeted that no one should get too excited. I swore I wouldn't be tweeting. Despite my pronouncement, I ended up with 14 followers. That number didn't budge for over a year, nor did I expect it to. I hopped on Twitter rarely, NEVER tweeted (as I had promised), and never explored what the platform had to offer.
I began regularly blogging on my website. I also added a dedicated writing Facebook page (@writerbrendahaas) and started sharing my blog on specific writing Facebook pages. Breaking my promise to never tweet, I dived into posting my blog on Twitter using writing #hashtags. I also added an Instagram account (@writerbrendahaas), which points back to my website.
I noticed a trend. I gained writing friends/followers and new website clicks almost daily.
Fast forward to 2019
Though I'm still not savvy at using Instagram (I find it cumbersome and inconvenient, as it doesn't allow adding a direct link to my blog posts within an Instagram post), I HAVE gone from just 14 Twitter followers in Jan. 2018 to over 1,000 Twitter followers just 14 months later. Modest, I know, but still a big jump for a writer who doesn't tweet more than a couple times a week and hops on Facebook communities only when there's a spare minute in the day. I have met SO many new writing peers and even picked up critique partners, through my social media use.
Below are a list of helpful genre-focused writing organizations, writing Facebook pages, and writing community Twitter/Instagram hashtags. No doubt, there are MANY great ones I don't know about or have neglected to include, but this is a jumping off point for those of you writers looking to use social media to improve your writing and "meet your people."
In a future blog, I will touch on my favorite writing websites of 2019.
• Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI), for authors and illustrators of children's and young adult books.
• Mystery Writers of America (MWA), for published and aspiring mystery/crime writers, associated professionals, and readers of crime fiction.
•American Society of Journalists & Authors (ASJA), professional association focused on independent nonfiction writers.
• National Association of Science Writers (NASW), science writers, editors, educators, and students aiming to improve craft and promote good science writing.
• Poets & Writers (PW), resource for poets and literary writers ... includes magazine.
• Romance Writers of America (RWA), promoting professional interests of career-focused romance writers, through networking and advocacy.
• Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America, Inc. (SFWA), for authors, artists, and allied professionals. Group deals with agents, editors, anthologists and producers in non-print media.
• Sisters In Crime, combats discrimination against women in mystery field and promotes professional advancement of women who write mysteries/crime.
• Western Writers of America, Inc. (WWA), organization of freelance writers of Western fiction and nonfiction.
Facebook pages worth checking out
(Barely scratching the surface here. Keep in mind, there are pages for just about any genre of writing)
NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month ... and its plethora of subgroups)
Fans of SCBWI (Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators)
Writers Helping Writers (and its "beta readers and editors" group)
YA Fiction Writers
How Writers Write Fiction Community Group
Popular Twitter/Instagram Writing #Hashtags
(# before just about any genre will help you find info & other writers. Examples: #romance #thriller #SciFi)
#MSWL (manuscript wish list used by agents/editors who post their "wants")
#NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month)
#SCBWI (Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators)
#AskAgent (if you have a question, you may get lucky and an agent will answer)
#IndieAuthors (for independent authors)
#ASMSG (Authors Social Media Support Group)
#SelfPub (for/about self publishing)
NOTE - the following are particularly popular on Instagram, but many #hashtags are interchangeable between Twitter and Instagram.
Good luck, my writing friends. Hope this helps. Maybe we'll chat on Writers Helping Writers!
Artwork by Michelle Haas, https://www.instagram.com/mhaas_art/