HOW HAS NETWORKING HELPED IN THE PROMOTION OF YOUR TITLES?
As well as the final book in my Oxford Blue series being published in e book and print, I also have a special anniversary coming up this autumn.
In November this year, it will have been 10 years since I discovered the joy of writing fiction. (I can barely believe that’s possible!)
My first ‘story’ was a sexy fanfic based on the North & South TV series, for what it’s worth, and I don’t even think I’ve got a copy of it anymore since the computer I wrote it on has long since gone to that IT graveyard in the sky. All I know is that once I’d I printed it off, I was so ashamed that I shoved the ‘manuscript’ in my knicker drawer. I knew no one would find it in there!
So how did I end up sharing it with …um… hundreds of people?
The Days before Facebook
The answer in social networking: but not as we know it, now, Jim.
Back in 2004 there was no Facebook and no Twitter and the main way that people shared their interests was through Internet forums and message boards.
When I’d stopped blushing at my first writing attempts, I ended up posting my story on an obscure North & South Yahoo Group where other fans could read it. Even then, the only reason I dared to post it was because I could ‘publish’ it anonymously.
However, the enthusiastic reaction and positive comments I received were all I needed to carry on writing.
Soon, other fanfic writers came out of the woodwork and posted their work on the same forum. Some were experienced creative writers; others were novices like me who’d been inspired to have a go at writing by the TV series.
Over the months, we writers – and our readers – started to ‘out’ ourselves and many are now good friends in Real Life.
That was the start of my introduction to Social Networking and you can already see how it provided me with the encouragement, feedback and audience that all writers crave.
Platform – what’s that?
Fast forward to 2014, when most publishers won’t take new authors on unless they have a well-established social media ‘platform’. ‘Fortunately’ writers have so many opportunities to network – Twitter, Facebook, Goodreads, Pinterest, Tumblr, author blogs, review sites, blog tours… it’s impossible to keep up with them all.
I now have three different writing names, three Twitter accounts, three Facebook pages and two author blogs and I’ve agreed to join in a cooperative of writers on another blog. I tend to focus on Twitter and Facebook and trying to get to know a core of writers and book bloggers.
I don’t always succeed in keeping up with everyone and the very scale of the Internet writing community is one of the downsides to social networking. It can also be addictive and eats into writing and family time. When the time comes to promote a book, it can be exhausting to meet publishers PR commitments – not to mention the ones I’ve set up myself – while also writing/editing a novel.
Sharing the Love
In spite of all that, I actually love networking. Without it, authors would find it hard, even impossible, to get word around about their work, but that’s by no means the only reason.
Via Facebook and Twitter I’ve got to ‘know’ so many interesting, lively, lovely people – all of them interested in reading or writing or both. I love finally meeting someone I’ve previously interacted with online.
It’s always fun to meet book bloggers and readers because they share their passion for reading in a world where there are so many other demands on peoples’ time. I can’t tell you how much I and other authors appreciate their enthusiasm.
I also love networking with fellow writers because their encouragement and support is as vital to me now as it was when I made my first tentative steps into fiction a decade ago.
Besides, without my Internet ‘friends and colleagues’, who on earth would I talk to all day?
Pippa Croft is the pen name of an award-winning romantic novelist. After studying English at Oxford, she worked as a copywriter and journalist before writing her debut novel, which won the RNA’s New Writers’ award and was later made into a TV movie. She lives in a village in the heart of England with her husband and daughter.