The #LondonSWF Guide To Networking As A Writer Online


tweety hearts

It’s a fact. Most writers hate networking. In the very least, we find it uncomfortable or weird. And let’s face it, being a writer IS both uncomfortable *and* weird, often at the same time, so it can all get mortifying very quickly.

But NEWSFLASH – we simply can’t get away with NOT networking these days. If it was *ever* true that screenwriters could be scooped from obscurity (yeah right), those days are well and truly OVER.

We have to build relationships. We have to know what’s going on. We have to know who is who and who is doing what. All of this is non-negotiable, I’m afraid.

But what if I told you there was an EASY and FREE way to network AND build relationships? Yep, you guessed it — ONLINE! It’s easier than ever to connect with writers, filmmakers and even agents online … Yay!

BUT WAIT — but it’s not as easy as that. Duh, obviously.

There’s LOADS of ways you can totally shoot yourself in the foot when it comes to social media, for starters. The last thing LondonSWF recommends is killing your credibility as a writer online.

Your pages, profiles and blogs (not to mention how you interact with others on threads and so on) will act as “your shop window”. You can use this to showcase who you are and what you can do … Or you paint yourself as a freakaaaay trollish-type who goes ballistic in every discussion. Which one do you think gets hired as a writer??

And yes, people DO Google names, so DON’T think I’m exaggerating here. Why wouldn’t they? It’s an easy, low maintenance way of finding out whether others are legit or not. It also can help people make a decision on whether that person *could* be difficult to work with or not. Check out my latest Google-ability result:

googleability

Lots of writers believe their Google results are down to CHANCE alone. But guess what — like social media use, we CAN influence our results. My name, “Lucy Hay”, is also the name of The Countess of Carlisle – a historical figure. I’m never going to win against her, dagnabbit! So I needed to figure out what I was going to do …

… I simply added the “V”. The rest is history.

Of course, if you’re called something really *common* – like say, CHRIS JONES (arf) – you may want to think outside that box a little more. This is where branding yourself can come in handy … And I DON’T mean via a scary metal cattle burny-thing:

googlability 2

That’s right – Chris Jones doesn’t just go by his given name, but by his BRAND name, too – Living Spirit. Of course, you CAN do both – in my case, I am also known as Bang2write. BOOM!

But how do we influence our Google search results? It’s very simple:

    1. Make a CONSCIOUS DECISION about *how* you want to be found online. I am the first Lucy V Hay. I am also the ONLY Bang2write. I decided this, so I am this.
    2. Start your digital footprint in these names. Lucy V Hay is synonymous with Bang2write, that’s a given after all these years. I’ve basically built up a “presence” – B2W is at www.bang2write.com, but also Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, you name it. Think of it as cumulative build up. Just recently I started another presence, for my crime writing at www.lucyvhayauthor.com. As a result, I also have a Twitter account in this name too – @LucyVHayAuthor. Google me, see what comes up!
    3. Don’t forget pictures! Lots of writers forget about pictures online or even actively avoid them, but we live in a visual age. Pics of you, your projects AND your brand (if applicable) online are a MUST. Again, check mine out:

bang2write

In essence, you’re using the web to tell a story – THE STORY OF YOU, THE WRITER. You can do this any way you want. Seriously! That’s what storytelling is all about. If you tell a good enough story, people will come to YOU. Here’s 4 Indispensable Social Media Platforms For Writers to get you started.

A note of caution: it’s usually better NOT to get on everyone’s nerves 24/7 or spam the hell out of everybody begging people to check out your crowdfunding campaign or other stuff. Genuine communication and discussion is what gets you noticed and relied upon as what internet commentators (rather loftily) call, “a thought leader” or “web ally”.

But fact is, we can ALL claim our space online AND maintain it, to our advantage. So what are you waiting for?? GO GO GO …