A Pleasant Distraction by Jan Graham
I’ve been a prolific reader for a lot more years than I’ve been an author and the other day it struck me how the writing world has changed. I can remember when I was in my teens and twenties (many years ago now) reading books and thinking, I’d love to tell the author how much I enjoyed their book. Of course back in the dark ages my only option was to write a letter, mail it off to the publisher and wonder if the author would get my feedback. I’m assuming they probably didn’t because I never received a reply.
One of the things I enjoy about being an author today is social media and the ability to connect with readers through that medium. No longer are authors a picture on the back inside cover of a book, they are actually real people. Not that they weren’t real before, but you know what I mean. If I like a book I can pop onto facebook or go to an author website and tell them. Authors post their latest releases and excerpts online making the work accessible to anyone who is interested. And for me, I get a real buzz out of fans dropping by my Facebook, blog, Google+ or twitter page and saying Hi, I liked your book, where is the next one? It acts as motivation to keep working and it’s affirming to know what I’m doing brings enjoyment to people reading my stories.
Publishers and authors can now chat, often in real time, with readers via reader’s loops and facebook or twitter events. I went to an online book launch the other day and it was a great way to find out about the authors new release. For me, those events are like a get together at the local coffee shop with a group of friends, where you talk about what you’re reading and anything and everything else that comes to mind…except it’s all online. I mean you couldn’t go to a coffee shop or physical book launch in your PJ’s and fluffy slippers but that’s exactly what I wore to the online book launch the other day. One of the chats I really enjoy is the Secret Cravings Readers Group chat that happens once a month on facebook. It’s a full weekend thing and people wander in and out depending on their real life schedules. There are giveaways, great discussions, occasionally authors (yes you, Sandy Sullivan) will bring along a hot cowboy for us all to drool over and we generally just have a bit of fun.
Now I think we all know that too much of a good thing is bad for us and even though I enjoy the social aspect of today’s writing world, there is a downside. No matter how pleasant I find the interaction it does drain time from my writing day. Sometimes going on facebook is like dropping down the rabbit hole to party with the Mad Hatter and his friends. You just don’t realize how long you’ve been there until hours have flown by. My way of combating that problem is to stick to a routine, one hour of social media of a morning and evening, unless I’m involved in a special event. Sometimes however, just like trying to stick to a diet, I fail miserably. Still, it’s a great way to get to know new people, touch base with fans and have a bit of a break from creating. All in all, it’s a pleasant distraction.
So what do you think, as a reader or an author? Do you have a favorite social media site? Do you contact authors to give them feedback about their books? What’s the best thing or worst thing about living in a technology filled writing world?
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