Tuesday, April 21, 2009

And Now SomeThoughts from Sunny...

To cyber-socialize or not to cyber-socialize? That is the question.

My New Year's resolution for '09 was to finally, seriously and extensively take a look at all the social sites I kept hearing about. My Space. Face Book. Crime Space. Twitter. Blogs. No more letting the info slide by, no more shaking my head and saying, “Who's got time for all this bulls__t?” I would do an investigation, just like my sleuth Christy Bristol. I would finally find out what all the fuss was about.

First, I had to learn to put on the brakes. I was painstakingly setting up my profile, tentatively adding friends, photos, an opinion or two. People responded. “Will you be my friend?” Uh, yeah, guess so. Messages began to flood my mailbox.

I found myself overloaded with all these strangers clamoring for attention. I decided to create a folder to stuff the socializers in until I could find time. Sunday mornings were free because business emails slowed on weekends.

As I took time to look at blog sites, I noticed links listed. My former training as a narc secretary kicked in. Where I once sifted through allegations to detect clues on drug trafficking, I now investigated these links for info. I speeded the process by copying the entire group and creating a new folder titled Blog Sites. I could already see where this was going to become unwieldy, so as I checked each one out, I discarded what I couldn't use and put the “possibles” in alphabetical order.

Yes, I'm a bottom feeder. Let others do the work, I'll reap the rewards. I discovered an incredible number of sites and slammed profile on in record time. I tossed in photos, never the same as the other sites. I recycled good blogs, figuring I'd find a different readership at each site. I insisted my friends from my publishing house (Oak Tree Press) join me. I was a brat.

The work immediately paid off. People invited me to guest blog. Would I consent to be interviewed? Would I like my newest book, WHERE ANGELS FEAR, be reviewed? My Murder Circle was named a professional site by Linked In (yes!). My googled hits tripled in two weeks.

But, with success comes controversy. Those I left behind in the dust, the naysayers, carped that I wasn't doing any “real” writing. Or, why should they follow my lead without a book to market? On a panel in Hawaii, two major authors cautioned, “You should all be writing books, not wasting time on these sites.” Even the moderator let out a gasp (and befriended me as soon as we returned to the mainland).

Waiting means playing catch-up. Smart writers create a presence that will be ready when their first book is published. The rest of us, late to the game, are running to keep pace. Being aggressive pays off when it comes to selling books.

The way I see it, writers are now divided into two categories: Those who “socialize” with the possibility that their efforts will pay off in the end, and those who are “unsocial” and assume hard work will eventually be rewarded in sales.

My opinion? Do nothing and nothing is all you get.


Gayle Carline said...

I think it's pretty darned easy for established authors to warn me off of social networking sites ("Write more! Twitter less!"), but I need to know more people than just my immediate community. Yeah, I may end up a big deal in Placentia, but I'd like my novel to at least cross state lines. So how else do I introduce myself to a potential audience?

Gayle Carline

WS Gager said...

Great post Sunny! I have been trying to navigate my way through the same things but have not had the response you have yet, but I have only just begun. I loved the idea of borrowing from other writings to maximize time. Any other tricks you have would be appreciated. Will have to look up your facebook page and become "Friends." Thanks for the encouragement!
WS Gager

F. M. Meredith, author said...

Woo hoo, Sunny, perfectly stated.

Of course as Sunny put it, we're already partners in crime.

Name recognition is the key folks. I was in an elevator at a conference and a lady looked at my name tag and said, "Oooh, Marilyn Meredith" like I was some kind of celebrity. That's name recognition folks. We visited for awhile and became friends at the conference. And yes, she did buy a copy of the book I had on display.

But do keep on writing too, it's a balancing act.

Marilyn a.k.a. F. M. Meredith

Gus Cileone said...


I just wanted to say thanks for your emails and helpful hints. I started to visit some of the web sites, and have posted on Crime Space, and commented on Make Mine Murder. I'm a low tech person, but I'm learning.

Gus Cileone