Mar. 4th, 2011

amergina: (sunset)
Last fall, as part of my MFA, I took a class taught by Dr. Nicole Peeler. It was basically a mix of "here's the stuff you should know before you get published" and "here's how to write academically about genre fiction" class. One of the topics covered was online presence. Things like uses of Twitter and blogging and Facebook.

There was some push-back, especially about Twitter. That it wasn't useful. It was a time-waster. etc. etc.

And yeah, it can be. But here's an experience for you:

I follow @torbooks, one of the many twitter feeds for Tor Books. They had a contest to give away an ARC of The Unremembered. Just re-tweet the tweet. I did.

I won.

Wait, let me back up a bit... because I also want to talk for a moment about what publishers like Tor do for authors.

So back in August of 2010, I went to Context, a SF/F/H con in Columbus Ohio. The Guest Editor of Honor was Paul Stevens of Tor Books. He gave a talk about upcoming releases. The Unremembered was one of the ones he mentioned. In fact, the cover was on the Tor Winter/Spring catalog that goes out to book buyers (not us consumers, but the people that actually decide what a bookstore stocks) was the cover of The Unremembered. That's quite a push, actually, on the marketing side of things.

I should point out here that the author, Peter Orullian, is a debuting author, not a Robert Jordan or Brandon Sanderson, who they pretty much know will bring readers in.

But yes, I remembered it. So when the tweet came past, I was all "Hot damn! I'd read that!"

When I tweeted about winning the book, the *author* replied to me. What does that do to me as a reader?

Make me warm and fuzzy. The author spoke to me! It makes me want to read the book and like it even more.

What does it do to me as someone who wants to be a debuting author? Make me go "Hmm. I must remember this." Because he did the right thing with social media--he followed up on a promotion his publisher was running on social media. It took, what, all of maybe a minute to say "Congrats! Hope you enjoy the book." in a reply to me. But that connection is what will make me even more likely to recommend the book to others, should I like it.

You don't need to live your life online. You just need to be *smart* about it.

(The caveat as an author is that yes, you still need to write the next book. So you need to balance your online life with your writer life and life life, and sometimes the social media periscope goes down. I've seen that happen with authors, and that's fine. I'd rather have the next book than a tweet. It's all about doing the best thing for your career.)

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