I don’t know if I can count the number of blog posts I see about how writers need to have a “platform.” Writers need to have a website and a blog. They need to have a presence in social media: Facebook, Twitter, and Google+. Writers need to get their Klout score up. And on and on and on. And yet I think a few writers still question the value of social media, particularly when time spent in social media is time spent away from writing.
But I think writers that ignore or even minimize social media are making a huge mistake, especially if they’re an unknown writer. Rookie writers rarely get a huge publicity budget. Publicity efforts now fall more squarely on the shoulders of the writers. Therefore, when a publisher is looking at a first-time writer, knowing that they already have a fan base or some degree of internet fame, it’s a big plus for the writer. Publishers can tie their publicity efforts into your pre-existing virtual presence. And then your interaction with fans through that presence will drive sales and make you and your publisher happy.
And let’s be honest, fans of genre writers tend to be a bit more comfortable with the internet. I can’t recall the last time I saw a literary writer do an AMA on Reddit. You’re much more likely to see sci fi and fantasy writers interacting with fans online than writers of other genres. For example, look at Myke Cole, author of Shadow Ops: Control Point (reviewed here by me). He has been very active on Reddit and Twitter (@mykecole), answering questions, highlighting reviews, and sharing info about himself. And that interaction will create a deep relationship between author and fan. And fans lead to sales. And sales make everyone happy.
So what inspired this post? this podcast, hosted by John Mierau, and featuring Myke Cole, Philippa Jane Ballantine & Tee Morris. They have a very sharp and lively conversation about social media, publicity, and building relationships with fans. Definitely worth your time.