Sharing your writing on social media may seem like a great idea, especially when you’re getting lots of Likes and retweets to lift your spirits. But wait—the experts here at Web Design Relief want to warn you about a few possible dangers of posting your creative writing on social networking websites.
The Dangers Of Sharing Your Poems, Stories, Essays, Or Book Excerpts On Social Networking Websites
Even if you restrict the audience for your creative writing post, others may still read it. Some social media websites let you choose who sees what. But the mechanisms aren’t foolproof, and there are always ways around them. If you post online, be prepared—your audience might be bigger than you expected.
There are no take-backs. After your writing has been posted on social media, you might decide to delete your post. Perhaps you don’t like the way readers (or trolls) are reacting. In hindsight, maybe the material feels too personal for social media. Unfortunately, social sharing means it’s not always possible to erase all occurrences of a given work. You should always assume that once you’ve shared something on social media, it may be on the Internet forever.
Often a post on social media is considered previously published writing. It’s important to understand what constitutes “previously published writing” to various publishing industry professionals.
For poets, story authors, and essayists, most literary journal and magazine editors will automatically decline any writing that’s been published—anywhere—in print or on the Internet. There may be some gray areas regarding whether sharing your work on social media is the same thing as publishing it. Each editor has his or her own opinions, so be sure to carefully read each journal’s submission guidelines.
Book authors, however, don’t face the same potential limitations when they share part or even ALL of a book using social media or any other platform. If lots of people have read and loved a book via social media, that book could be considered self-published. Literary agents and editors will no doubt want to scoop it up (and snag their share of profits).
You risk plagiarism. Because social media makes it so incredibly easy to share things that catch people’s attention, there is a danger that the originator of a piece and the material could be irrevocably separated. For an example, consider how many images you see on social media that don’t have attributions. You’ll have to decide if losing control over your writing is worth sharing it on social media.
You may lose your audience’s attention. Keep in mind that Web-browsing readers tend to have a shorter attention span than people who sit down with the intention of blocking off time for dedicated reading. Web readers want a payoff for reading—fast. To make a big impact, consider keeping the writing that you share on social media on the short side.
The Best Way To Share Your Writing Via Social Media
Instead of posting your entire poem, story, or essay on social media, consider posting a teaser (a little bit of text) that links to your author website. There, readers can read the full piece.
Directing people to your author website gives you the opportunity to turn a happenstance reader into a fan who keeps coming back—especially if you require visitors to sign up for your author mailing list in order to read more.
Having visitors come to your author website might lessen the possibility of online thievery, but keep in mind that no controls are foolproof on the Internet. Even if you block “cutting and pasting” on your website, users could find a way to share your writing without proper author attribution.
Weigh the pros and cons, make your decision, and then commit to enjoying the process—wherever it may lead!
Question: Have you ever shared your writing on social media? What are your tips to share with other writers?