LinkedIn for Writers & Illustrators: 4 Tips

3 Apr

My LinkedIn ProfileFacebook and Twitter get most of the attention as the social networks of choice for writers and illustrators—and they’re great tools! But poor little LinkedIn, sitting quietly in the corner, can also be extremely useful. So, when my local chapter of SCBWI announced that they were doing a blog linkup on the topic of social media, I thought I would chime in on behalf of LinkedIn.

Here are a few ways that I’ve used LinkedIn in my career as a writer. I’ve written many posts and taught whole classes on using LinkedIn, so this is just scraping the surface—but hopefully it will be good motivation for getting started!

  1. Milk your network. LinkedIn is primarily about connecting to people you already know. “But why? I just saw Suzy yesterday,” you might think. But did you know that Suzy went to college with your dream agent? Or used to work with that author you really admire? Once you have built your network on LinkedIn, you can search to find connections that might not come up in casual conversation. Plus, LinkedIn lets you keep in touch with people you don’t see on a regular basis. You’ll be surprised at how many people you can connect to—your coworkers from your past jobs, your college friends, folks you meet at a conference. This pays off when LinkedIn sends an email letting you know that Amy from your sorority just got a new job at a literary agency.
  2. Pay your bills. For those many pre-published years, unfortunately, you can’t survive on the sound of keys clacking away alone. And even if you’re well-published, that doesn’t always translate into enough money to pay the rent. No matter whether you freelance (like me), or have a 9-5, LinkedIn can be a great way to find new opportunities. Even if you’re not looking for your next job, the ego boost when you get emails from recruiters (which you will get, if you put some time into your profile), is a great counterbalance for all of those inevitable rejections from agents and publishers.
  3. Showcase your work. Unlike with Facebook and Twitter, on LinkedIn, you can build an extensive profile of your past work. If readers (or agents) scope out your online presence on LinkedIn, they will see details about your day job, recommendations from others who vouch for your skills, and recaps of interesting projects you’ve worked on. That’s a lot better than that last tweet you wrote about your dog! LinkedIn can stand in for a personal website, or, even if you have a personal website, LinkedIn can be a better format for diving into the nitty-gritty of past jobs, publications, and projects. Personally, I’m wary of putting too much information on my personal website for fear of overwhelming visitors. Plus, LinkedIn formats this information in a visually attractive way that readers can quickly scroll through. It would take a long time to make something so user friendly on your own site.
  4. Research agents and editors. Whether you’re querying to agents or submitting directly to editors at independent presses, you can research them on LinkedIn. What kind of job experience do they have—enough to trust them with your manuscript? Have they published articles spelling out their preferences for a good query? Or maybe you even have a mutual connection who can introduce you.

How do you use LinkedIn? Have any questions? Please comment—and of course, feel free to connect with me.

Also, be sure to check out the other posts about social media for writers and illustrators in the comments over at the SCBWI MD/DE/WV blog.

 

 

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6 Responses to “LinkedIn for Writers & Illustrators: 4 Tips”

  1. Valerie Ormond April 3, 2015 at 3:19 pm #

    Hi Tracy,
    Stopped by from the #SCBWIsocial LinkUp. Great points about LinkedIn and its unique place among the social media platforms. We already have two things in common – we’re writers AND horse lovers. Hope to “see” you around.

    • Tracy Gold April 3, 2015 at 4:11 pm #

      Thanks, Valerie! Hopefully we’ll meet at an SCBWI conference or at a horse show!

  2. Stacy Couch April 3, 2015 at 11:01 pm #

    Nice tips! I never thought of researching agents and editors there.

    • Tracy Gold April 3, 2015 at 11:35 pm #

      It’s not the best for a database (I prefer QueryTracker), but in terms of researching agents once you’ve found their names, it’s great! Thanks for stopping by!

  3. Laura Bowers April 15, 2015 at 7:20 pm #

    Okay, I’ve never looked into LinkedIn because sometimes it feels as though I’m so stretched thin with social media that my efforts aren’t effective, but you’ve made me think twice! Thanks for sharing, Tracy!

    • Tracy Gold April 15, 2015 at 7:39 pm #

      LinkedIn is more “Set it and forget it” than the other networks, and it’s easy to manage with email reminders. It’s handy to have it set up for when you need it, though!

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