Some of you might know that this year my novel The Vessel of Ra comes out from Curiosity Quills Press, and I am getting ready to gear up to promote that book. Over at my website, I’ve posted entry one of this ongoing series The Year of Living Authorly.
Until recently, my primary activity as an author has been to craft stories to the best of my abilities and get rejected. I had rejection down to a science. 🙂 However, the rejections started getting more acceptance-like, and then they actually turned into acceptances, and then I had a book accepted and an agent took me and bam! I am in new territory.
So this series is to educate me about being a publishing author and I thought you might enjoy being taken along for the ride. I thought tonight, since I’m kicking off my part of this series on Unreliable Narrators, that I should talk about online presence. I do know a little bit about that, although I am no guru. We hope to have a guru on the show in February.
Clearly, I am online. As in right now. Where can you find me online? Twitter (@cathschaffstump). Facebook (both an author and a personal page). My own website. Here. I am given advice about where I should be. For example, I am publishing a YA book, so I should be on Tumbler, maybe. Or Pinterest. Or Snapchat.
The truth of the matter is online can in fact take away huge chunks of time in your life. But at the same time, maybe some online is good. Not the buy my book barrage that some people think is useful, but rather the hey, I’m talking about interesting things, or I’m a person. Maybe if you like hanging out with me a little by my book. Or, even more honestly, this is me. Buy my book or not.
I like being online. I debated whether to start being on LiveJournal (remember LiveJournal? My blog hooks up to it still.) back in 2002, thinking that it would consume all the time I should use writing. And, it can do that. But I like writing essays and reviews for their own sake, so it’s not hard for me to find things to talk about. When I’m drafting, I like to live tweet my action and word count on Twitter. Facebook is more for authorly announcements, although these days my personal space is largely political (who’s isn’t right now?)
The point you should take from the previous paragraph is this: first of all, writing is number one. If you’re spending more time writing online, maybe you are a different kind of writer, but if you want to write short stories or novels, no amount of time you spend on line will magically make that happen. Yeah. You know this already. Secondly, if you don’t like being online, you probably shouldn’t do it, or you should find a way to do it that is the least painful you can. Sort of like finding the workout that is best for you kind of thing.
Now, let’s talk a little about this podcast. Unreliable Narrators is a different kind of endeavor. Certainly, it can be a publicity platform for the four of us, but it is not only about that. We felt the need to put something fun that we enjoyed into the world. In the writerverse, sometimes no can get you down. So this was another creative endeavor used to rejuvenate us. Don’t be afraid to get out there online in a different format you want to try. There’s youtube, podcasting, all sorts of things you can do. Again, make sure you’re having a good time.
Also realize that if you do have readers, they will want you to put things out. I have lost a lot of my readers recently for my blog, because I spend more time writing. You can count on me writing an article a week here and an article a week there, plus link posts to all the awesome on Unreliable Narrators when I’m not posting an article at my blog Writer Tamago. If your blog goes silent, that’s clearly a sign doing the whole online thing for you is not a blog. Try a variety of experiments. Find what works for you.
Is being online a requirement? I’d say if you can be, yes, if you’re suited to it and you find a way to do it that’s fun for you. It’s certainly one of the ways to put yourself out there. We’ll talk about more of them a little later on. And this kind of online is about you. There’s also online that can be about what you’re writing. I have some ideas about that, but I should save that for a different post.
Next up–going to Cons!