Monday, March 05, 2012


I can't help comparing the two professional development events for writers that I attended last week. The differences were profound. On Thursday, I was at The Writers' Union of Canada's (TWUC) annual day-long seminar, "How to Be Your Own Publicist." On Saturday I joined the travel writers and travel  PR professionals for the Travel Media Assn of Canada--BC Chapter's full-day conference, "Defining Your Market, Refining Your Message."

My observations were not scientific but are revealing. I did head counts of the attendees and this is what I discovered:
The TWUC participants -
    <55% over 55 years old; three were over 80 and a handful under 40.
    94% women.
    >50% were engaged in social media; still some significant resistance to getting involved.
    I was the only attendee of 51 active on Twitter (!)
    Only 10% were published.
The TMAC attendees -
    Mostly under 50 years old.
    70% women.
    All heavily engaged in social media.
    All writers were published.

I'm not sure what these statistics are saying as the two groups differ. The first (TWUC) group was probably weighted to writers who are seeking the magic bullet to publication and the second (TMAC) was a group that has had to earn membership by proving they're already well published.

But, the older writers in the travel group had actively embraced an online presence and social media for over three years. I feel this is an important distinction between the two groups and the writers' success rates. It also makes a significant comment about the importance of social media engagement.

The other statistic, and one I didn't know, is that Pinterest is third only to Twitter (1st) and Facebook biz pages (2nd) in the social media line-up for successful writers of all stripes. I will say here and now that the issue of copyright infringement is huge - so be watchful what you post and pin...

  • My next posts here will highlight what I learned from the TWUC seminar on self-promotion for writers.
  • My round-up of the travel writers' conference will be posted soon at
QUESTION: As a writer, how actively engaged are you in the top three social media sites? 
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