When I wrote about The Transparent Novel in early December, I knew it wasn’t an original idea. Yes, authors, both established and new ones, are using social media to workshop their writings and also get feedback from readers. In fact, it seems that everyone right now has a piece of writing, novel or poem to share via social networks.
What have I learned in such a short amount of time? No matter what you are writing, social media can be very your own focus group. It’s a great feeling to get feedback from anyone, and it’s an even better feeling when your “social media focus group” gives you constructive feedback you can actually utilize.
I will share a few examples from my online writing world:
- #FridayFlash:This is perhaps the best decision I ever made when it came to sharing my installments of Franky Benítez. The notion is simple: write a piece of Flash Fiction, around 1,000 words, and submit each Friday to the Collector. Tweet about your writing on Twitter. People read your piece. You read other people’s pieces. You comment on their blog sites about their story. They comment about yours. What I LOVE about #FridayFlash is every week I get a reading audience. I get positive feedback, negative feedback and once in a while, plot suggestions that I would have never thought of (yes, this means, you J.M. Strother).
- #LatinoLit: As I wrote, I wanted to connect with other writers with similar interests. So when #LatinoLit was formed, I just knew that people would join, since they were looking for the same thing I was looking for. As a result, #LatinoLit has grown and it will continue to grow. This type of community was lacking on Twitter and Facebook. This is one focus group follow-up that makes me proud.
- Luis Alberto Urrea: I love this Facebook fan page. Simple as that. Why? Because Urrea is himself on this page. He shares with his readers and just presents his world to them. He’s not just saying: HEY, BUY MY BOOK! His tone is respectful, courteous, and offers good links. I just like his mojo. He knew his reader base and listens to what his focus group wants.