Social Proof

old painting of Virginius Killing his daughter illustrating an article about social proof for writers.Social proof is something writers are frequently told we must obtain – if we are to sell books and become known.

These days it’s all about the numbers. People who visit our sites trust us more when they see that thousands of other visitors have also been there.

No longer is it sufficient to send out press releases, attend book signings and obtain write ups and reviews in the papers.

We also must possess a shed load of social proof as well.

In short, today’s writer must establish a presence online, or else sink in an ocean crowded with other writers with more social proof, or so we’re told.


Social proof is an interesting and to me, very scary concept.  I don’t socialize very much you see.

I don’t like ‘networking events’ as partial deafness means I can’t hear when there is background noise and when there are too many voices I find it difficult to differentiate between them so I don’t enjoy them.

I do enjoy being at home though, and these days I try my best to only do what I like – despite being admonished for not going to events by an agent who clearly had no understanding of what it is like to be in a crowded room trying to have a conversation with people you simply cannot hear.


Still, much of the advice for writers seems to be that to make your work popular you have to make people believe your work is popular.

Virtual social networking with the aim of obtaining social-proof is considered vital for this, even for semi-hermit writers like me.

Given that I can ‘hear’ so much better in writing, the social networks were an obvious solution so I decided to give it a go.

A Facebook and Google Plus account seemed like a good start.  I already had personal pages so I decided to create business pages as well.

In the beginning I had a plan and posted regularly but my interest soon began to wane as I found the results from these didn’t really make it worth the effort.

By results I mean interaction. It is difficult to stay motivated when there is little or no response to your efforts and I get bored easy – maybe I’m doing something wrong?

Or maybe my readers are here on this site.

The results are much better from my personal named pages where I have a lot more fun with friends and relatives, writers and everyone else.


Maybe because I feel able to be myself, whereas I felt I had to be ‘writerish’ on the business pages.

I also found contributing to two extra networks time-consuming.  I accept the necessity to be ‘out there’ with your work but only to a certain degree.

There is surely a lot more to successful writing than that!

If something takes too much time away from my writing then I have to let it go.

I don’t feel I have wasted my time though. When I started developing my websites I decided to regard all my creative endeavor as experiments and that is exactly the way I viewed these pages.

The crucial thing in any experiment is not so much the outcome but what I have learned.

In the meantime I have decided therefore to place limits on my participation in social networking and have recently closed down my Practical Creative Writing Google Plus page although I do use my personal page regularly.

I still have the Practical Creative Writing Facebook page.

What I do enjoy most is reading the comments left by people who visit this site. I chat with people from all over the world and it’s been really interesting as well as fun.

So feel free to leave a comment or ask a question. I always answer.

Bye for now and good luck with your writing.


beautiful sunset over Galway illustrating an article about social proof for writers.
















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