Google Plus, Google’s social network, has a lot of great features for users to create and engage with communities online. From developing groups to cultivating circles for vital, engaging long-form conversations, the social network has set itself apart from Twitter and Facebook in a lot of interesting ways. In many ways, it’s more like a social blog than a social network, allowing much more robust communication between users.
One feature, though, that sets it even further apart is “Hangouts.” Hangouts are multi-person video chats that can host up to 10 active participants… but they can also be streamed live “on-air” to viewers and recorded for later watching. There are, of course, glitches, but – for the most part – it works very well. So long as you’ve got a decent connection, you can hangout with people from around the world and it’s like they’re in your office!
As authors and writers, though, how can we make use of this tool? Here’s a few ideas:
Cut the isolation
Writing is a lonely profession. Whether you’re working with an agent, a traditional press, or self-publishing, writers spend much of their lives alone. Toiling over manuscripts, edits, and re-writes, things can get pretty lonely. So, why not scheduled a Hangout with some of your favorite writer friends – you don’t even have to worry about geography! Not only does this help alleviate the isolation, it gives you the opportunity to discuss your writing and ways it can improve.
Set up a time, get a cup of coffee or glass of wine, and have a chat with your peers about what you’re up to.
Host a book discussion
Interested in doing a little publicity, but short on cash to travel the US? Take to a Hangout to spend time with your fans or moderate a book discussion! Whether you’re joining a book club virtually or doing a reading with Q&A, Hangouts can bring you to your audience without ever leaving your desk.
Hold a press conference
Want to talk about your upcoming projects or make a big announcement? Schedule a time for a press conference via Hangout! Invite your favorite bloggers and writers to attend, broadcast it for all of your fans, and upload it to YouTube so you can embed it on your website. This is a unique way to create buzz for your new books and connect with your audience at the same time!
Talk to your editor
Often, in publishing, your only communication with your editor is all long distance: email and sporadic phone calls. Take some of the distance out of your relationship by scheduling a couple of Hangout sessions. If your editor is new to you, have a “getting to know you” session before the editing begins and another once you’ve received the marked up manuscript. It’ll give you a chance to prepare for the book editing process (especially important if this is your first time publishing) and talk through some of the sticky issues throughout your book as you perfect the manuscript.
Authors, how have you used Hangouts throughout your writing and marketing process?