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Tuesday, June 14, 2011

The Power of Social Media to Help Sustain Self-Published Authors

I promise not to turn every one of my posts into a discussion about social media, but several wonderful things happened this morning that made me think about how social media is currently affecting my life.

You see, when I started writing, I lived in a "writer bubble". Fantasy/Science Fiction editors were the only ones who ever saw my stories, and agents were the only ones who ever saw my very first attempt at a novel (written when I was 24). Over the years, several of my stories did manage to survive the query letter gauntlet to go on to appear in magazines, but overall, my writing existed in a vacuum, unread by anyone but me. I didn't mind this isolation because I didn't know any different. That was the world of a writer, or at least it was for me, and I was just happy to have time to write and tell my stories, even if no one was listening yet.

Wow, it's amazing how different things are today.

We've now got Twitter, Facebook, Blogs, and any number of other social media tools we can use to interact with other writers and with fans. I still can't believe how many amazing, friendly, and helpful friends I've made over the last few months by using these tools. Some of these people are writers, and some of them are people who simply love books and stories.

My interactions with these new friends help sustain me as a self-published author. I haven't had any trouble staying motivated as I write my current W.I.P., but if I was having trouble, I think mornings like today would renew my energy and give me the added strength to continue with my writing.

So, what is it that happened today? Well, several things:
  • Matthew Leo, who is another North Carolina writer like me, wrote a very nice blog post about me and my writing. I've had the pleasure to get to know Matt via Facebook, Twitter, and email, and I suspect he and I will continue to keep in touch as we work toward getting our novels published.
  • S. J. Wist gave my book Twilight Candleflies a 5/5 star review. You can read her review on Fantasy Cookie, or you can visit her blog and read her thoughts on my book over there. S.J.'s first novel, Dragon Aster, will be available in August. Since she's a fantasy author and is much further along in the fantasy novel writing process than I am, I'm looking forward to reading her tweets and her Facebook posts to see what I can learn.
  • Brittany Rogers left a nice note for me on Facebook. Even if I hadn't already been in a great mood this morning, reading her note would've made me happy. You can read her note here.
Any one of those three things would've help sustain me as a writer, so receiving all three at one time really made my day. These types of things let me know that someone other than editors and agents has read my work and decided that I'm not all that bad at what I do. As a writer, that's what I live for. I want people to read and enjoy what I've written. And I think I'm not alone as a writer in craving that.

One more thing I want to mention, though, is that social media is not a one way street. While I love receiving feedback from friends and fans, I also love giving feedback, encouragement, and help to others. I think this is necessary, and I also believe it's something that can't be faked. You have to truly want not only to receive but also to give in order to be successful with social media.

It's almost time for work so I need to stop here. Thanks to all of you for taking the time to read my blog and/or my books! You help make it all worthwhile!  :-)