Why should I connect?

So I’ve been doing a few blogs aimed at authors, mostly because I’m starting to have conversations with established writers, or ones on the road to being published. It seems that a lot of people look at social media and online stuff and wonder, Why should I bother?

I understand that I’m a social creature and I enjoy chatting and interacting with people in any medium. It makes that extroverted part of me happy. Not everyone is like that. Or maybe you find the whole idea of online interaction intimidating or even dangerous. There are a lot of reasons why people don’t jump into the social media pool, and there’s nothing wrong with abstaining if that’s a person’s choice.

I do hold tight to my right to disagree with the people who think they don’t have to connect with readers and others online. In this increasingly virtual society we have, people are hearing about more things via twitter, facebook or some other social medium than any other way these day. It takes the whole word-of-mouth idea to a whole new level.

So, why should a writer be on social media?

Some social media acts like billboards. It puts you and your book in front of people. Why wouldn’t you want to position your book(s) in the best possible place to be read and picked up by new readers?

Readers are your target market, and many of them are taking to places like Goodreads, twitter and facebook to chat about your book. Or books like yours. If someone mentions your book, say a faithful fan, if you aren’t online, where are they going to point other readers to? Usually your social media places, the website, blog, twitter or facebook.

Interacting with fans builds a faithful following. Look at people like Seanan McGuire or Dakota Cassidy, they both have huge, faithful followings in part because of their personalities and how they interact with their fans. Let’s face it, we like to say something to someone we admire, like a favorite author, and when they say something to you in reply, it’s a big honking deal!

I’m a huge Cynthia Eden fan. I can tell you right now that there are a handful of tweets I’ve screen capped because she tweeted me back or said something to me. There was even one day I was supposed to hear back from a publisher about a book I’d submitted and I tweeted about being anxious about some good news. She tweeted me something that amounted to "Good Luck!" and it totally made my day. The point is that in some small way, writers become a type of celebrity. Rubbing elbows with readers builds that connection. I’m probably on the more avid side of the fandom where Cynthia Eden is concerned because her responce online to her readers is, in my mind, great.

Yes, social media can be exhausting, but you should decide how much time and effort you want to put into it. There are limits, and we all have them. (Granted, I clearly don’t have many. Just this week I’ve talked about my spanx and some rather awkward things going on some days right next to talking about writing craft. Not everyone should emulate my style.)

The biggest argument for social media being a tool every writer should use is marketing. Why would you throw away arguably your biggest marketing tool by not having some online presence? I’ll break now and come back next week to talk about where you can connect with readers and how to figure out what place is right for you.

 

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