Thursday, March 3, 2011

Social Media and the Writer

As a writer, I have certain personality traits that I think are common to most of us. I'm innately shy. I have a very tight-knit and close group of friends, but it can be hard for me to let new people in. I can be socially awkward. I show my writing to a very, very select and trusted group of people.

Once I get published, I know that last bit is definitely going to change. People I've never met will likely pick up my book, read it, discuss it, rate it, and write whatever they'd like about it; it comes with the territory. But what I've started to realize is that some of those other traits are likely to change a bit too.

Because although writing is a very solitary activity, promoting yourself as an author is not. The truth is that I always thought that this part of the journey, the before-publication, get-out-and-market-yourself-part, would be truly torturous for someone like me. To my great surprise, I've actually discovered that this part has been a lot fun. And social media has a lot to do with that.

It's because I've started to discover and interact with loads of other people, and especially authors, on Twitter. Because I joined Apocalypsies and we email each other constantly with debut questions and updates. Because I suddenly feel a part of a real community, with colleagues who genuinely support and encourage me—whom I genuinely support and encourage in turn—and who love reading and writing as much as I do. And genuine is the key word in all of that. Not once have I felt like I've had to be anything but be myself and be honest. I feel like I've made real-life friends, even if they're across cable lines and IP addresses and I sometimes only know the 73x73 pixel version of what they look like.

You know the best part of social media for someone like me? Most of it is in writing. Obviously, that is where I have always felt most confident.

I'm not sure how I'd feel as a debut author in, say, 1975, but I have a strong feeling I wouldn't be enjoying this part of things as much as I am. So for everyone who's been reading, commenting, tweeting, emailing, and facebooking with me—old and new friends alike—thank you from the bottom of my socially awkward heart.

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