For some time now, we’ve been hearing from publishing professionals that writers need to be savvy social-media users, whether it’s through Facebook, Twitter, YouTube or other venues. As one who is reluctant to dive in, I wondered just how working writers are using these tools on a day-to-day basis and what the benefits are. In the March issue of The Writer now out ("Special report: Social media"), you can read how six fiction and nonfiction writers I interviewed developed social-media skills to help them reach their goals. Their experiences are a pretty convincing argument for some level of participation to promote your writing.
After going to press with the article, we learned that bestselling novelist and essayist Jacqueline Mitchard, whose new book, Second Nature: A Love Story, will be out in September from Random House, is an enthusiastic, longtime social-media user. Mitchard didn’t have to worry too much about promotion when her novel Deep End of the Ocean was the first Oprah selection and skyrocketed on all the bestseller lists. She has since written eight novels as well as fiction for children and young adults, which have had varying levels of success.
Mitchard learned quickly how important it is to promote your work using all networks. Here’s what she told us the other day about social media:
“I do use social media vigorously to promote books and also to communicate with my readers (as well as would-be authors) in a congenial and collegial fashion. Although I think many writers find this a bit of a burden -- what to say? how much and how? -- I think that having a background in the personal essay makes it easy to invite without intruding.
“I maintain an active presence on Facebook and Twitter and blog on Amazon, Redroom and my own site (www.jackiemitchard.com) as well as doing podcasts and e-mail blasts with 30-second ‘presenters’ (mixed-media presentations that highlight the plot) for upcoming books.
“Through some of my contacts, I also write online essays, often tied to upcoming books for AOL and other sites, including wowowow, shewrites, diva toolbox and others.
“If you tend to be a bit disciplined and not waste your words, it’s actually a great deal of fun and, in these days of shrinking marketing, quite a big bang. Promoting one’s own work indeed is an author’s responsibility; even Charlotte Bronte wasn't above that! As my pal Karin Slaughter says, ‘You were Facebook when Facebook wasn’t cool ...’ ”
--Elfrieda Abbe, publisher, The Writer
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