So guys, confession time.
I understand that my chatty Tweets and bursts of OMG HYPER digressions might lead people to believe that I’m a sugar-high extrovert that gets excited in large groups and loves to schmooze at parties.
Alas, I’m afraid to say that’s not the case. It’s quite the opposite in fact.
Truth is, I’m an introvert. 100%. I was that quiet girl in class that nobody noticed because the only time she talked was to get participation points for class. The one that read while walking in the hallways and occasionally sat alone at lunch.
I know a lot of writers are the same way. Many of us like our privacy and cherish those moments alone because that’s when we can really slip into our writing. It’s when we can let our minds wander to faraway places and write some of our best. And twenty years ago, that was ok. Authors could get away with sitting in their offices with their treasured books and shying away from the masses.
Today, not so much.
I’ve touched on e-books and how they provide new opportunities for writers. But as I’m sure many of you are aware, that’s not the only thing changing the game in the publishing industry. With social media exploding the way it is, writers can no longer afford to be introverts.
I’m not saying you have to totally change your personality, in fact I hope you don’t. It’s being genuine that gets people to connect with you.
I’m also not saying that I’ve pretended to be someone else. Truth is, rather than shying away from social media (which I’ll admit, I initially did) I’ve found that by embracing it, I’ve been able to get past my normally timid exterior and open up to other writers. To people like you, my lovely blog readers.
Social media is making waves, and beyond my own experience, I have a pretty epic example.
I’m sure you’ve heard of her: Tahereh Mafi.
First of all, if you’re on Twitter and you’re not following Tahereh, you need to. She’s funny, genuine and best of all, actually answers your tweets. Even annoying questions required to write an accurate blog post on her. :)
Tahereh is a living example of how social media has changed everything for the writer. She’s 23 years old and her first book SHATTER ME will be released in November. Five-ten years ago, that meant no one would have heard of her. She didn’t yet have a book on the shelf which meant she didn’t have a fan base.
But today that’s not the case at all. Between Twitter, Goodreads, her blog, Facebook and Tumblr she’s built an incredible fan base all before the release date of her first novel. When she went to BEA, the line to get her autograph was so long they had to cut it off seven minutes after she started signing. 7 MINUTES!
And SHATTER ME isn’t even out yet. That was unheard of until now.
Let me get something straight, I’m not saying that because of social media we can all magically attain a level of super-fantabulous-amazingness like Tahereh. Like everything else, building a fan base is hard work. It requires hours online, making sure all your sites are beautiful and kept up to date and trying to connect with your followers all the while still writing and keeping the day job and everything else we have to do.
Yes, it’s another thing to add to the already overflowing plate of the writer, but it’s necessary.
And if used correctly and treated with care, the rewards are well worth it. Just ask Tahereh.
How do YOU think social media is changing the industry? The life of a writer? The life of a reader?