The whole concept of LinkedIn has escaped me for a long time. For one thing, I’m not a twentysomething. I’m not even a thirtysomething, although I am old enough to remember when the tv show premiered. (You do know that was when the term was coined, right?)
I am a freelancer. I am not looking for a job.
I had a brief debate with my Facebook friends about whether or not I should bother with LinkedIn. I waffled. I decided to do what I usually do: I decided to experiment and give it a try.
It’s been an interesting experience. I have a certificate from a program at the University of Southern Maine that no longer exists. I earned my bachelor’s degree from a college that is now a university, complete with name change.
I don’t even bother putting all my experience online. I participated in a strawbale-building workshop for women. We learned to build a house with strawbale. It was great. I’m glad I did it. I don’t anticipate ever doing it again and I am not going to list it as experience on LinkedIn.
I talk about it because it is interesting and humorous, especially since we learned that if you don’t square the door frame you have to take it apart and do it over again. And, it was hard enough to build the first time.
Just for the record, it didn’t happen because we are women. It happened because it was a learning experience that probably every builder goes through at some point.
The thing I have learned most about LinkedIn is that, once again, business is about conversation. It’s simple. Talk to people. You can do that. You’re a writer, right?
I always thought only “important people” posted original content on LinkedIn. Everything else was just the rest of us reposting things.
That’s not what works. Here’s what is worthwhile. Talk to people. If you repost something, say why or give an opinion. I have been hired for more for-pay projects as a result of conversations than from all the paid ads in the world.
I learned something else. Writers list their publisher, or self-publisher, as their employer. It never once occurred to me to do that.
Ever the curious one, I’ve been trying to figure out whether that is wise. Does it help? What do publishers think about it?
So far, I have only had one personal message with a CEO of a self-publishing company. (Did you KNOW you can privately message people on LinkedIn?)
I warned him I might quote him. Besides, a newspaper editor once told me that there is no such thing as “off the record.” I don’t know if that is legally true but it gets your attention, right?
Anyway, I asked Nigel Lee, CEO of Lulu.com, what he thinks of the practice. He agreed that it was a good question. He said, “I’m supportive of our authors who do so if it helps them appear more credible or supports them in any way in being more successful in pursuing their dreams.” He also pointed out that LinkedIn doesn’t offer any other mechanism for describing your relationship to your publisher.
Still unsatisfied, I went on a fieldtrip. I like fieldtrips. Once again, I invite you to participate. Search for authors you know on LinkedIn and see what they do.
I was a little surprised to discover that Dean Koontz is employed as an Author at Collins Harper. My favorite writer, Dinty W. Moore, is apparently not on LinkedIn. Me? I just call myself a self-employed freelancer.
For kicks, search for “author” on LinkedIn. At present, there are 237,773 results for author. I am not going to check each and every one to see who considers their publisher to be their employer. Just in case you wondered.
As usual, there doesn’t appear to be a rule.
Does it help? Does it not help?
I’m not sure it matters.
It is all about the conversation. Personally, I believe that discussing publishing and talking about what I write or how I write or who I write for is probably of more value than listing each publisher I have published through.
Business is a conversation. What do you say?