Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Why do I Blog and Why You Might Want to Think About It Again

Well, happy New Year to you, too!

I hope you had a chance to get party out of your system, had a great time doing so, and that 2012 brings lots of awesome twists for you and yours.

As for me, 2012 started in a complicated but very positive note with many changes going on in my life right now, but like every year, when I think about what might await me down the road, I see a very promising year, though on a very different stroke than last year. In my career, I'd call 2011 the year of the written word, and for 2012 I foresee a year seriously dedicated to the electronic word and social media.

It was about this time of year on 2011 when I first realized my debut novel would be published and I jumped out of bed, half crazed with joy. Very soon after that, it became clear to me that just because there is a book with my name on it, it doesn't mean anyone knows anything about it or about me. I wasn't going to fly to the top of the Bestseller's List. The obvious next question was: What can I do to help change that?

I read every article that crossed my path, printed or on the Internet, and here's were things got complicated. I found a huge argument between the two strongest game plans. A big group of people say that the best way to get your name to consumers is to hit the road. Based on their experiences, going to as many book fairs, conventions, libraries, and any other personal appearances as you can cram into your schedule is a slow but safe bet. You know, let your work speak for you.

The other half argues that given the nature of social media, it can represent a great asset as a promoting tool. Based on their experience, social media is the secret weapon that'll give your career a head-start.

So, what to do?

Like many others before me, I decided in favor of the electronic world and, reluctantly, started to build my social e-life. It was hard for me to feel comfortable spilling my guts in such an impersonal media, but eventually found my way. I still refuse to open a Twitter account but I have to own up to a decently active Facebook page, Book Blogs, and Goodreads accounts. I'm experimenting with Shelfari, and my blog has grown up to have more than a hundred followers and being the proud recipient of two awards, the latest of them being the Versatile Blog Award. The cherry on top of my very busy e-life is my most recent endeavor as a book reviewer for Dark River Press.

To say I spend at least 60% of my writing time connected to the internet might be an understatement. It has been a long road built on arduous, albeit fulfilling, work. Has it done anything to help me reach a bestselling status? No. Would I do it all over again? Hell yes! You see, I've connected with many great authors that have taught me valuable lessons and I have now a richer and broader group to reach to when in need of advise and/or --God forbid-- help.

If you are a writer pondering the existential question of weather investing so much time and effort on the net is worth it, my advise to you would be to do it only if what you are expecting from it is to branch out and find others like you. I don't think that social media alone has the power to make your sales soar, or to take you out of the darkness of being an unknown.

In my experience, which admittedly is limited, if you want to connect with readers, you are better off going to book fairs and personal presentations of every kind. At some point I will definitively start to sell my work wherever they accept having me and I'll let you know how that goes; until then I can only speak as a reader. I feel much more inclined to try the work of an author that I feel I have a connection with, like meeting him in a convention and crossing a word or two with him/her. If he/she is particularly nice, I might even recommend his work before I ever read a word of his/her book.

Since the Insecure Writer's Support Group is all about advise, I hope you find this advise helpful. And talking about helpful... I also hope you find it in your heart to vote for Dark River Press Magazine in the Preditors and Editors Readers Polls; following are the links to the categories we'd love to win the most. If you do decide to vote, you'll receive an email that you have to open and click on the link there in order to confirm your vote, otherwise it won't count. Five minutes can mean the world to us, thanks so much in advance.

You see? Told you the net had its perks. =)

Happy 2012! And remember to visit all the other blogs part of the Insecure Writer's Support Group to get more awesome advise.

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Roland D. Yeomans said...

For me, trying to get attention for my Kindle books has been like trying to push a stalled car uphill - a lot of work for not a lot of visible effect! But it is just now gaining momentum -- thanks to Alex Cavanaugh and other blog friends.

I followed you over from Alex's blog. I wish you success in 2012. Come pay me a visit. I have a two part Insecure Writer Post. Today's is by the ghost of Will Rogers, of all writers! LOL. William Faulkner's ghost guest posts on Friday. Have a lovely tomorrow, Roland

Tonja said...

Wonderful post. I resist Twitter too but I suppose I'll give in maybe this time next year. You think maybe combining the two approaches is the way to go?

Gina said...

Roland: I totally understand what you feel about pushing the book-car, I wish you the best of lucks. Alex and the gang are indeed a great and helpful bunch! I'll be checking your place, and following, tonight. =)

Tonja: Yeah, for all my resistance, I think it's just a matter of time before I succumb to the Twitter pull. For me, combining both approaches is the best idea, provided you have enough hours to do it all. ;) Good luck on 2012 and thanks for stopping by.

Liza said...

Thank you for the good advice. Probably a combination of the two works the best...and yet, there must be time for writing too!

Donelle Lacy said...

Blog friends really help. I have a Twitter account, a Goodreads account, a blog and other various time-sucking internet elements. I feel like it's all moving very slowly - the followers, the comments, etc. I don't have an agent yet, or a book published, but I was told by other writers I needed a net presence, so here I am! (besides, blogging is fun)

This advice did help, thanks! I've been thinking about this for after I'm published. I might end up going the book tour route if blogging and tweeting doesn't help as much as it should. I hope to build my platform in it before I publish and so after I do, I can take a hiatus from it to tour. I wouldn't want to miss out on making those internet connections, but I think a tour sounds exciting.