How to get discovered as a writer

The Kill Zone is a blog for authors who write thriller and mystery novels. I visit it only because author James Scott Bell contributes to the blog weekly. Bell will always say something that stretches me as a writer.

In one of his recent Kill Zone posts, Bell shares a good number of impressions he gained from last month’s Digital Book World “Discoverability” conference.

Conference speakers discussed both digital and traditional publishing: what’s hot, what’s not, how to market, what to expect.

But here’s how Bell concludes his article:

So resolve to spend less time fretting about marketing and social media and all those things you could be doing to get “discovered” (the list of which never stops expanding), and more time producing words worthy of being discovered. (From How Will Your Book Get Discovered in The Roiling Sea of Digital Publishing?)

Got that? Spend more time producing writing that is so good, it won’t be missed.

Maybe you’re looking at your follower numbers and notice how paltry they seem compared to a fellow writer who’s as new as you. You’re disappointed because you’ve worked hard on social media and sharing your writing, but you don’t have the results you expected.

Take off the sad face. One great lesson I’ve learned since I started my writing life a year ago is that online numbers can be deceiving. Several bloggers I visit who have large follower numbers are starting to prune their lists. They’ve found that many are spammers or follow-you-follow-me-back types who never engage with the community.

There are many, though, who have earned their high number of loyal followers by sharing quality writing and investing time with their readers.

And we also have to realize that for some writers it really is all about high numbers, and they work hard towards that goal.

What all new writers can enjoy over numbers is communication — one-on-one interaction with our readers. Here’s what Bell thought was the best advice for social media:

Willo O’Brien, a creativity consultant, said that having a small, dedicated “army” you are engaged with is more important than your number of followers. So don’t just talk at people. “Empower people to speak back to you.”

Numbers don’t talk; people do. And it’s our job to give them something to talk about. Hopefully that something will be our writing, work that is worthy of being discovered and discussed.

How is your “discoverability”? Are you fretting or are you producing?


2 thoughts on “How to get discovered as a writer

  1. This is a great reminder. I recently cut back my blogging time by half. I don’t look at my stats to see how that affected my blog. Instead I focus my energy on commenting on other blogs. We can get ourselves into a vicious circle if we aren’t careful. I’d rather spend more time on other blogs, making my presence known elsewhere than always being on my site. I think it pays off in the end.


    1. I enjoy blogging and using social media, but there’s nothing like sitting down for a good block of creative writing. We can’t let all the other stuff get in the way of it, as good as much of it is. Selective and balanced — those are the keys.


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