Monday, June 29, 2009

Connections

by Myra McEntire

Today’s post is about connections. We are all surrounded by one big worldwide web - wait. That analogy is already taken. Crap. Thanks, Al Gore.

So much for originality on my first guest blog.

Back to connections. Last August, I attended a writer’s conference, Killer Nashville, where I met Jennie Bentley. *waves to JB*

I also met Tracy Barrett, president of the Midsouth Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators. Tracy’s wise advice prompted me to join SCBWI, which led me to the Midsouth listserv, a fount of writing information. On that listserv I met Kimberly Pauley, who is the author of Sucks to Be Me, as well as the book goddess over at Young Adult Books Central. Now I review for YABC – books in my genre that I get FOR FREE in the MAIL!

I heart brown paper packages tied up with string.

Yippee for you, you might say. What a nice little serendipitous circle.

Question. What if you want to make connections but can’t attend a conference? What if you want to communicate with other writers but you’re shy, or just don’t … like people? Face to face, I mean.

Have you ever considered social media networks such as Twitter and Facebook? I know, I know, you don’t need followers or friends. You refuse to drink the virtual KoolAid. You think Twitter is for twits and Facebook is for fruit loops.

Not. True.

Check out this article in The Tennessean about Michael Hyatt, CEO of Thomas Nelson. He believes social media can put a human face on a company. I believe it can put a public face on a writer.

Writers aren’t pop stars. (Although, I personally fancy myself to be a rock star.) You don't see James Patterson or even Stephenie Meyer starring in Coke commercials or hosting Saturday Night Live. Media attention can be a hard thing for a writer to garner.

Allowing a reader a personal glimpse into your life and your writing process – as well as into your personality – pulls that reader closer to you. And your work.

Conversely, no man is an island. Twitter and Facebook connect you not only to readers, but to other writing professionals. On your terms. And in your time. Because when your characters stop talking to you, finding another human in that worldwide web who "gets it" can be a priceless lifeline.

Twitter allowed me to vicariously experience a Donald Maass workshop as Fine Print Literary agent Colleen Lindsay tweeted her notes to her followers. I wrote the notes down and applied them to my manuscript. I still feel like I should send her money.

This past weekend, I happened to see a certain book I’d reviewed on the shelf at a bookstore. I love this writer’s work and wanted others to love it, too, which led me to put the book into a couple of teenager’s hands after I sort of chased them down the YA aisle. I didn’t follow them to the checkout stand. Exactly. But they bought the books.

I tweeted about the incident, very generally. When I woke up the next morning, Sarah Rees Brennan - the author I referenced - was following me on Twitter. How good do you think the review I give her book is going to be? Not just because the work deserves it (and it does), but because she added a personal touch.

Don’t underestimate the personalized face social media outlets can give you as a professional. Even if joining up makes you feel like a twit. Try it. You might like it.

Your readers might, too.


Myra McEntire is a writer of Young Adult paranormal romance and blogs about duck minions, Edward on a Stick and toddlers that refuse to wear pants at writingfinally.blogspot.com. She is represented by Holly Root at Waxman Literary Agency. Her Twitter handle is @MyraMcEntire, if you'd like to drop by and say howdy.


11 comments:

Joyce said...

Hi Myra! Welcome to Working Stiffs.

I haven't signed up for either one yet. I'll do Facebook eventually, but I'm not sure about Twitter. I don't quite get Twitter.

Elizabeth Spann Craig said...

I was very reluctant to join FB and Twitter, but they've been so beneficial in many ways. Now I'm connected to booksellers, readers, online book clubs, and other writers in a way I've never been before.

Great post, with some good points.

Elizabeth
Mystery Writing is Murder

Jennie Bentley said...

Hello, Myra, darling! Great post!

I enjoy Facebook - you need to join, Joyce! - but I just don't 'get' twitter. I can see the benefit, sort of, theoretically, but I have no idea how to actually work it. I signed up, so I'm over there somewhere, but I don't know how to use it. Still, with people like BookEnds Literary Agency taking twitter-queries for books now, I don't think it's something a writer can afford to ignore, really.

Jennie Bentley said...

BTW, people, Myra just signed with Holly Root at the Waxman Agency. That was after sending queries to her top ten agents, and getting five requests for full manuscripts from those ten queries. (I know. Unheard-of, right?) By the time it was all said and done, she had several offers for representation. If anyone else would like to know how to do that, ask her, why doncha?

Myra said...

Hi Joyce! Thanks Elizabeth!

Now, Jennie, you know I have no idea how that happened. *grins*

Really, it's about educating yourself on which agents would be most interested in your work, reading every blog you can about query letters and the business in general, and as Janet Reid puts it, trying your best not to be a yahoo.

Sometimes I don't do so well with the yahoo part.

Myra said...

I would also highly suggest never to use Twitter in this way...

http://mediadecoder.blogs.nytimes.com/2009/06/29/author-apologizes-for-twitter-outburst-about-a-bad-review/?src=twt&twt=nytimestv

C.J. Redwine said...

Great post. :) I agree that the networking benefits of Twitter and Facebook outweigh the learning curve it takes to get used to them.

queenofmean said...

Joyce, I'm like you. I haven't got around to either one yet. My kids are on Facebook, though!

April said...

As a non writer who just enjoys reading (excellent blog my friend) ~ let's not forget one dirty little secret ~ shhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh.......twitter and facebook are



fun!

Wilfred Bereswill said...

Hey Myra! Welcome to The Stiffs.

Connections are a funny thing. By the way, know any Hollywood Producers out there that need a Thriller project?

Myra said...

Hi WIlfred! I don't, but one of my friends on Twitter, Joe Finder, talks about his film projects occasionally. So does a screenwriter friend, Jon F. Merz.

See? You never know...