Last night, I dreamt I was in the hospital again.

White walls, white sheets, white bed frame, even the nurses’ outfit was white. Everything was white. Call me crazy but I think I could have even smelled the color white. The nurse’s face was covered by layers of masks hiding behind a larger but translucent mask. She had dark, sunken eyes – expressed more vividly by her auburn hair.

Everything else in the room was typical: the consistent beep from the heart monitor latched to my chest, the dull ache from the intravenous line connected to the vein in the crook of my arm.

The problem is I couldn’t hear anything else except for the annoying beeping machine. I couldn’t hear the nurse’s voice either as she appeared to go over with the doctor that just came into the room the vital details from the clipboard she often carried.

Then, out of nowhere came Hermes, the Greek Messenger God, telling me he was my guide to the Underworld to meet Hades.

Visibly confused, my body couldn’t help itself but float upwards and into a portal where Hermes informs me I’m the next savior.

Savior of what? Of who? Where?

Hermes wasn’t having any of it and continued shoving pieces of metal towards me: a chest plate, a pair of boots, a helmet, a shield, and even a sword. There was no use arguing with a God. I wasn’t getting any answers as we approached the River Styx.

Gulp!

Well, as you can imagine how things would go, Hades didn’t like my complaining as much as he disliked Hercules. The guy with a fiery blue hairdo can talk and talk about how much he loathes the demigod.

Then I woke up.

But I have a secret to tell you.

Everything about the Underworld and Hades, Hercules, blah, blah, blah, was all made up junk.

But it kept your attention, didn’t it?

The first part [the problem part of a storytelling structure] is my opening for a new manuscript I’m writing, but you didn’t know that. It kept you wanting to read more, to learn more, to see more. Right? That’s the point of this post today and how it relates to social media for writers. In fact, I took the opening line “Last night, I dreamt I was in the hospital again” from an opening line generator tool I found in a Google search and filled in the rest.

Each post on social media, especially for writers, should tell a story. Telling a story builds engagement. It keeps people interested in your content and makes them want more – they expect more. 

And that is where publishers will pick you from compared to other new or semi-established writers.

Most larger publishing houses expect you to be able to market not only the book you’re wanting to be published through them but also market yourself. Smaller publishing houses do not care so much as they’re more focused on the quality of the manuscript than anything else. You might be thinking to yourself “as one should” but the reality is it’s more like a split 50/50. Larger publishers of course still want quality books but they must also be able to make a return on their investments in both you and the book. They in turn have much larger budgets helping you to market your book but it’s still an investment that must be paid back.

In essence, your social media presence is just as important as your manuscript.

It isn’t so much your follower count as it is your reader base.

Do you have an engaged reader base or an engaged email list you send frequent quality content to?

If the answer is no or if you’re unsure, there’s a problem.

As is with building a substantial following on social media or even an email list, building an engaged reader base takes time but the payoffs are worth it in the long run: 

a book deal with an ideal publisher.

So how can you build an engaged reader base?

Check out “Building a StoryBrand” by Donald Miller

Here are a few tips to get you started:

  • Post quality content on a regular basis
  • Use free tools like Canva to help craft your social media posts
  • Research tags writers and readers alike are using – see what they’re posting
  • After a few posts, see what kind of posts are getting the most engagement, and at what times
  • Engage with your followers/reader base with things like “AMA’s” (Ask Me Anything) type posts once a week
  • Talk about writing tips, show off your writing space, what you write with, little things like that may not seem as big of a deal to you

Those are just a few tips to help get you started in building both a quality following and reader base alike on social media and for building a solid email list.

Here is ONE thing to NOT do:

Do NOT – I say again – DO NOT take part in “Follow for Follow” chain posts anywhere. Most of the time, people are not going to follow your account back much less even engage with your content. So why bother doing them in the first place?

It’s spam! No one likes spam! 

And it’s a quick way to build a negative reputation on social media and with agents alike.

They’re always watching.

What are your thoughts on using social media for writers?

Leave a comment below!