Should you care about how you write on your personal social media profiles? Personally, I’d say yes. I’m friends with quite a few writers on my personal Facebook profile – I’m not talking about a page or a profile dedicated for your writing career – and I see the odd person on there who has really poor spelling, grammar, sentence structure etc.
But why does that matter? I hear you ask. In the grand scheme of things, it doesn’t and, if your profile is set to private then it isn’t going to hurt your career with agents or publishers because they won’t be able to see it. However, that’s not the only way to publish your book anymore and a good way to start is with your family and your friends – no matter what way you publish your book. It drives up the sales rank on whatever platform you use, they may review your book with verified purchases, which will draw more people to buy the book which will lead to a cycle of growth. More people buy – more people review – more people buy.
As harsh as it sounds, I’m not going to buy your book if your Facebook posts aren’t written properly. If it’s full of spelling or grammatical errors. I know that makes me sound like a snob but I have a couple of reasons for it, which hopefully make me sound less like a snob. Firstly, if you’re posting from your phone, like a lot of people do, there’s autocorrect. Generally speaking, if that doesn’t change some words you’re writing it means that you’ve taught the autocorrect to spell things incorrectly. Which means you’ve done it a lot. Secondly, and most importantly, it shows a lack of care and attention. It takes thirty seconds to read back through a Facebook post you’ve written and check for obvious mistakes. If you’re not doing that or you do and you miss those things, what’s the quality of your writing going to be like? You could argue that you put effort into your writing but you don’t on your social media – and that would be a perfectly valid argument – but I’m not going to take the chance. My time is extremely limited these days and if I have any reason to skip over buying and reading your book I’m going to take it. And I’m sure that many others are in the same boat as me.
Having read this back a little bit, I still sound like a snob don’t I? To be honest, I’m okay with that. Because it’s my opinion. And because I want to see people succeed in their writer careers. I don’t want to see people in a situation where an agent would have picked them up but saw their social media was riddled with spelling and grammatical errors so didn’t. Even private social media accounts aren’t hard to find. The bottom line of writing these days is everyone is looking for an excuse to not work with you, they need an excuse to not buy your book or sign you to that agency. So why give them an excuse that they could use? Maybe they won’t, but they might and it would be a shame to lose an opportunity because of a post or two on Facebook.
© 2020 David Chitty
Available under the Thanet Writers Education Policy
David Chitty was born and raised in Thanet in the 90s. He devotes most of his energies to writing fantasy fiction novels.