That Thing Called Social Networking

social networking giantsI’ve been attempting to build up my social networking for over a year now, but it wasn’t until a few weeks ago that I truly understood what was required. What’s worse, I was surprised. Surprised! Here I’d been thinking that having a blog was all that was truly needed. After all, those authors with Twitters and blogs seemed to be retweeted enough to get some serious business on their sites. All I had to do was inundate Twitter and facebook with my blog, right? Plus, it’s really more about my writing than how well I’m known online. Right?

 

Wrong. Authors out there, new or old, let me let you in on a secret the lovely R. Lynn shared with me. If you do not have a web presence now, you stand a very small chance of finding representation or of selling a book en mass.

Offended? So was I, slightly. After all, I’d done my share of networking. I had a Twitter (with all of 48 followers). I had my BookRix following and my 270 hearts on there.  And, I had my blog and my 3 subscribers. Wasn’t that a web presence? To be simple, no. That is a beginning. That is FAR from where I needed to be.

Now, I do want you to be angry. If you aren’t angry, you will rarely change. Look at your work. Are you frustrated that no one’s reading it? Are you angry that you’ve been looked over? How many queries have you had returned with a “no thanks”? Are you angry yet? Or are you content to sit with your paper manuscript clutched close to your chest while the other authors out there promote themselves and get representation because of their “popularity, not their writing.”

Let me ask you a question: do you own a cell phone? If you’re 30+, do you know how to text? But why?? That completely removes the personability of life’s connections. After all, you weren’t raised with a cell phone and you most certainly didn’t type with just your thumbs alone. Why would you forsake those things that made life what it was? You traitor! How could you!

How could you not? Yes, the cell phone drastically reduces the human interaction. Yes, texting is weird and gives us horrible wrist injuries. (I should know… I talk/text too much. Add to that typing and I’m just a mess…) But, you chose to do it because you saw how life was simplified. Now if you broke down on the side of the road or ran out of gas, you could call someone. Now you could check in on your child. Now you could ask quick questions without having to spend the 3 minutes it’d take to call someone, and you wouldn’t be obligated to continue any conversations either. You recognized that the world was changing and you adapted. Why is social networking so different?

The tools available to us have both helped us and cursed us. Now, we don’t have to type, print, and snail mail our stories. Now we can attach it to an email and send it to multiple agents. (Not that I recommend doing that… Actually, it’d be a suicidal idea, but you get the idea.) On top of that, the simplicity allows thousands more people A DAY to send MSS to your favorite agent. What’s to make you stand out as more worthy of their attention? Your social networking.

If you’re able to include a website or a blog or a facebook page in your query that the agent can look at and see your network, your value goes up. If they can plug your name in Google and you pop up, your value goes up. It is less work on their end to promote you and shows that you have something the market wants. How outrageous, that you do their work for them! What are they, leeches? Before you freak, think about it this way: now that social media is out there, they have that many more bases they need to cover. They’re already trying to polish your (already polished and edited and tweaked to the most perfect product you can manage yourself) MSS as well as sell it to editors and publishing houses. They also have to create enough buzz to manage to break even, in both paperback AND ebooks. They have to get your name out there, so why not make it a little easier for them? After all, they only get paid if you get paid. Y’all are on the same team!

(On a side note, if you have a writing style or format that doesn’t conform to the market’s current format, having social networking is even MORE important for you. Without it, you stand on shaky ground. If the agent loves it, they’re more likely than not to ask to tweak a lot of it. If they hate it, too bad. Now, if you have 300 hearts on BookRix.com, 159 subscribers on Youtube, 457 followers on Twitter, and 267 likes on Facebook, you might have some more wiggle room. Imagine if you promoted and talked and shared bits and pieces of it consistantly! One friend had over 1000 hearts on BookRix and a solid following. That was a major part of why she was picked up: she had a fan base. Now, she had the traditional format, but do you see what I mean?)

 

So, are you willing to set aside your stereotypes and adapt? Are you willing to lay down your pride? I personally think that my writing is superb (in a completely non-arrogant way), and I’ve got the comments to show for it. (I have had people who hate it, but the majority like it.) I would love to send my completed MSS to an agent and have them accept on just the quality alone. Am I willing to place all my hopes on that alone? No. If I can garner a few more things in my favor, you bet I’m going to go for it. Which would you prefer: 10% or 13%? It might only be slight, but that’s slightly more in my favor.

Plus, I’ve always been a sucker for giving others less work. It just seems like the nice thing to do. Maybe the real question here is are you nice or are you lazy? 🙂

Leave a comment and let me know what you think.

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About S. G. Ricketts

I am a dreamer. This page holds all of the dreams and desires and hopes and wishes of the first of my two dreams: to share my imagination with the world. For those of you who have read a book or written a book, these stories are not merely words on a page. They are living, breathing creatures, worlds so compellingly real that you can smell the sweat and feel the rain. This is what I want to share ...with all of you. Yes, becoming rich and famous would be fabulous. I won't deny that. However, it would be so much more satisfying to see my book in the hands of someone on the bus, hear my book talked about at a restaurant, see a cluster of fan-art. I want to inspire the mind to imagine different worlds and different situations. If I can achieve that, I will have achieved my dream.

Posted on November 19, 2011, in Musing, tips and tests, writing and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 3 Comments.

  1. Gone indeed is any semblance of an age where all writers were expected to do is write – social media marketing is critical to those new to the game. You certainly lay things out well here – and I’m certainly not offended. In fact, I found the whole matter of particular interest, as I’m just working toward that game myself. Though I’ve been steadily garnering support via the blogosphere and twitter, it’s in two weeks that I’ll be releasing my own first novel, so I’ve been sifting through so many of these sorts of posts, looking at the “secrets” and the “tips” and the “realities” and the like, to make sure I’m doing everything right – and the consensus on the lot of them, the diversity of opinions throughout that vast sea of information (I’m willing to say there’s more “tips” out there than authors at this point…), is amusing to behold.

    But I digress. Coming back to the main point: I do agree with you, and with R. Lynn. Web presence? Key. This is the internet and information age, after all, and it affects writers just like everyone else. Though traditional fare certainly still works as well. The more you can get your name out there in publications for things like short stories, essays, even articles, certainly serves to boost your name in your target audience…

    • So true! The more people see you, the more they’ll be interested in reading you. I’m starting to realize as well that the docile, sweet personality is not what people want to see, which is a relief. They want the funny, crazy, controversial-but-not-too-much-so person. And intelligence is key to any of these ventures.

      Like you were saying, I’ve been amazed at some of the advice I’ve been given and some of the tactics used. I personally prefer not to cajole or spam or over-whelm anyone who comes to any of my sites. As a former sales person, I’ve seen the pros and cons to both sides of that coin. The “in your face” group fails miserable compared with the “face time” group. But, that is the blog for today!

      Btw, what’s your twitter and your website? I’d love to check it out.

  2. Thanks a heap for this post, glad to see there are still some excellent writers around the web!

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