A couple of months ago, author Stephanie Chandler addressed our local California Writers Club on the topic of social networking. Since then it seems that the writing community has been abuzz (atwitter?) with presentations on this subject. Everywhere I turn, folks are talking about how published and aspiring authors need to have an online presence. Facebook pages, websites, blogs, and Twitter are the new essentials we’re told.
For the published author, websites, blogs, and such are needed to publicize their books and create rapport with readers. It’s part and parcel of marketing in this digital age. Non-fiction writers are expected to demonstrate that they have a platform and an audience for their books, before their manuscripts are even considered. All this I understand.
What about the yet unpublished fiction writer? What benefit does an online presence have for him or her? I admit to some skepticism. I’ve spent time on online forums and journals. Yes, I’ve found valuable information and tips. Yes, I’ve made contacts and friends. But I also know what a time sink these can become. As an aspiring author, isn’t my time better spend with “butt in chair” typing out my next novel?
We’ve decided to take the plunge with a group blog. Several of us have polished manuscripts and are actively pursuing publication. We hope to be on the published side of the equation soon, when all of this will be necessary. A shared blog will (hopefully) allow us to provide frequent updates and fresh content by dividing the burden among several authors. It’s a chance to get our feet wet with the support of friends.
What do you think?