(This column is posted at www.StevenSavage.com, Steve’s Tumblr, and Pillowfort. Find out more at my newsletter, and all my social media at my linktr.ee)
As writers it’s easy to find a laundry list of advice on what you should do to reach people – have a Newsletter, have a Blog, use these formats, etc. There’s so much common wisdom that we never ask if the common part is exceeding the wisdom part.
And no, this was not inspired by the latest Twitter drama. It reflects on it, so I’m sorry.
I have several writing projects – and not all of them involve what you see here. I write at work, have side projects, help people out in groups and clubs, etc. I’m a writer, but I have many facets if you’ll indulge the metaphor – and those facets let me learn.
As of late one of my other writing projects spun up with an agonizingly slow speed, and I had to consider what forms this effort would take. The old list mentioned above came into mind, but I stopped and asked a question that derailed me from doing “the usual.”
I asked, “How do I want to reach people with this project?” and my mind ground to a halt because we usually assume the audience is “as many people as possible.” That book, that flyer, that business announcement, we all want it to be spread as far and wide, right? It’s just what you do, right?
What you want to do is reach the right people and interact with them in a certain way. You just need to know who the “right people” are and how you really want to interact with them – even if it’s to sell them a book. The usual “do-this-as-a-writer” list is not universal.
For instance, a fellow author of mine was deep into Facebook marketing as a core way to reach people. Sure they liked interacting with their audience, but they were so good at marketing they could reach a lot more than through a newsletter. Their goal was to sell books first, and that worked for them.
For me socializing is a big part of writing. Even though I have to juggle newsletters and blogs and such, I enjoy the human connection of being around writers and readers. I’m juggling some wild ideas for my blog and newsletter where I merge some content and do regular zoom chats. Trust me, I had some crazy ideas during covid I still might act on . . .
For one of my side projects, the goal is to build a newsletter for a group that may also involve outreach and adding new people to the project. That’s a completely different world – a specified target audience where the goal is outreach but also building archival information.
Different goals. Different forms of outreach. None of them fit a checklist of “how to be a writer.”
So when you’re asking the question of all the tools you can use as a writer, all the ways to distribute work? Pause. Ask yourself how you want to reach people and how you want to interact with them. Find what fits your goals.
Also, at least now when people say “you must be on Twitter” you can just glare at them. For multiple reasons.