Tuesday, October 13, 2009

So, social media websites

I'll admit it. I've started using them. Facebook, sure. Twitter... well, let's just say I've got a lot of tweets. I'm discovering the power of these tools, and can definitely see the potential. For example, someone on the nano forums posted about twibbon, a way to add a cause ribbon to your twitter avatar... and within a few minutes of me posting and tweeting about it, several people had re-tweeted it.

That's what I call viral.

And that's just small stuff, compared to those who have huge followings. I've got less than a hundred. (Wanna follow me? Come on, you know you wanna.)

I also see how dangerous they are. Post some small detail, and instantly you could find it sent around the world.

Facebook doubly so; I have some of my husband's inlaws on there, and frankly, that's a little scary.

I'm contemplating creating a more public Facebook persona for my writing-related stuff. I prefer to keep my facebook to real-life friends and family... not real keen on adding a bunch of random people I don't know. I keep it as private as possible.

So what does this have to do with writing? Well, one thing I've learned in the past couple of years is that the publishing industry is changing... rapidly. The dynamics are changing. Viral marketing using social media like twitter, Facebook, even blogs like this one, are absolutely essential to success. Published author J.A. Konrath writes his blog about this very thing, and is trying tons of experiments to see just what he can do. A lot of his success comes from his own blood, sweat, and tears (and gas miles.) It's up to us, as wannabes, to be aware of these things, and start laying the groundwork now. And by not sabotaging ourselves before we even behind. Remember that as ephemeral as the Web may seem, with it's 140-character rambling thoughts, those memes, and facebook apps that suck away our time (I can say with pride that I have never used a facebook app, and I've blocked every one anyone I know has sent me), these things are NOT ephemeral. With the power of google, something can stay cached long after you've tried to delete it.

And any writing you've posted? You lose control of it. I know, it's protected by copyright, but that doesn't mean everyone will to respect it. And there's some debate about whether or not posting your work counts as publication; You can be certain any potential publishers will google your work and see what comes up. That's why you'll never find any of the work I intend to publish online; I want complete control over it until it's published. If I post something here? It's likely because I don't ever intend to DO anything with it, or have offered it as "free" fiction for your pleasure. If I get rich and famous and they want to make a book out of my blog... well, we'll cross that bridge when we get to it. You know, sometime around the time pigs fly.

So the point is, be aware of what you do online, on social media websites,etc. You never know when it might bite you in the ass.


Makena said...

I totally agree about Facebook. I have two accounts. One for my crazy friends and one for any family or adults that want to friend me on facebook. Facebook is definitely a dangerous thing. It's like giving your journal for everyone to read.

Anonymous said...

I agree that you shouldn't post anything that has not already been published or that you intend to publish. But, what about excerpts to entice editors, agents, publishers, and readers?

Heather said...

Oh, there's nothing wrong with posting stuff... but realistically, there's a LOT of stuff out there, so your odds of attracting a publisher/editor/agent are pretty slim.

But if you just want to share, there's nothing wrong with that. :) I write a lot of stuff I don't mind sharing, but it's also stuff that I have no intention of trying to get published unless someone hands me a few grand for it. ;)

Inkygirl said...

Hi Heather

I'm the person who asked the crabby question about two novels recently in the Rules forum. I apologize for my whininess, which was entirely unwarranted. I'd also like to ask if you'd be willing to be interviewed for Inkygirl.com during November re: your involvement with NaNoWriMo as well as your own writing. I know you're going to be super-busy so I will understand completely if you have to decline, but I'm keeping my fingers crossed, nonetheless.

I wasn't able to send you NaNo mail for some reason. If you're willing to do the interview, could you possibly reply to me by regular e-mail? My e-mail address is http://scr.im/1e0v -- Thanks so much!


Heather said...

It was only a *little* crabby. ;) No worries.

As for why you couldn't send me a nanomail... you haven't turned on the option in your profile (I've tried to send you nanomails before and couldn't.) ;)

But I'd be glad to. Honored,even!

That email sharing thing is cool... I like that.

Inkygirl said...

Thanks for your patience, Heather. :-)

Yay, glad you'd be willing to do an interview! I searched my e-mail account but couldn't find e-mail from you (did a search for "Heather" and "dragonchilde" and "interview"). :-( Not sure what's up with that, sorry.

And thanks for pointing out that (duh) I hadn't turned on my e-mail box in NaNoWriMo! Should be fixed now.

I'll send you a private message through NaNomail now.