The world is becoming increasing small and digital. If you’re reading this blog, you already know that, because you’re interested in online tools for writing, rather than just the typewriter or word processor in a corner of the house. But while everyone seems closer and more intimate now (read as: in-your-face, everywhere) your personal world is expanding at a breakneck pace.
Social media… yes I know those are dirty words… has allowed fans access into the personal lives of their favorite authors. It’s allowed them to “follow” their idols and publicly “like” the work they do. There’s always been the belief, half-jokingly, that tools like twitter and facebook are socially acceptable methods of stalking for fans. It’s absolutely true. Twitter allows me to stalk my favorite authors. (cough Neil Gaiman and Patrick Rothfuss cough)
The really interesting thing about it, though, is they didn’t used to be my favorite authors…
If you’d asked me five years ago who my favorite author was, I’d have started with some lame “but I like so many” excuse, then said it would have to be either Walter Wangerin, Jr or Edgar Allan Poe. Why? Because I cry every time I read The Book of Sorrows, and because Poe is so delightfully angsty. Authors were only one thing… they wrote books that I liked to read. Books that changed my life. I liked the books.
Now, things are different because I follow a few authors on twitter. (Namely the above and a couple more.) I chose which authors to follow based on whether I enjoyed their feeds. Amazingly, those authors quickly became my favorites. I mean, yes they are wonderful writers, but I feel like I know them. Both of those gentlemen are avid users of twitter, and they interact with their followers. They’re real people, not names on the covers of books.
I believe it’s something like reading your friend’s work. You’re already a little slanted toward liking it because they’re your friend. It could be shit, but you’re at least going to give it a chance, and you’re going to want to like it.
So authors putting themselves out there on social media… it’s stacking the deck in their favor. Plus, I’m more likely to go out and buy their books because… hell, I want them to be able to do cool stuff for me to read about on twitter.
But how does this help you? Haven’t you figured that part out by now? In a world that’s becoming smaller and smaller, and yet bigger than any previous generation has ever known, you need to speak out. How are readers supposed to find your books in a vast sea of self-publishing and heavy-handed marketing? They find YOU. You need to be there, making it personal. Use social media to make yourself more than just a name on the cover of a book.
Create yourself, and your image can be your most powerful marketing tool.