A fellow author shared a joke with me a couple of days ago about how social media has made it easier and more acceptable for fans to stalk their favourite writers on a daily basis.
The joke was very amusing, though it did get me thinking about the people who follow this blog, my Twitter feed and my Facebook author page. So far I have published one novel and my Facebook fan base stands at around 220 followers, which may not sound huge, but several of these people interact on my page on a frequent basis and many of them have not only read and loved Dead Letter Day, but have gone the extra mile to recommend me to all their friends and family.
A writer is nothing without readers and that social media has made us so accessible to them is, in my opinion, a very good thing. Here are my reasons why.
1/ Having social media pages can give readers an insight into who the author is. Previously, writers were something of an enigma and unless they were very famous, the only clue you had to the person behind the name on the front cover was a mini biography and, if you were lucky, a snapshot of them somewhere at the back of the book. Giving readers a chance to engage with an author creates an opportunity to build a stronger fan base.
2/ Writing a novel is a lengthy process and it used to be a case of out of sight out of mind, but this is no longer so. Authors are able to keep in touch with their readers by regular blogging, letting them know what they are up to and whetting appetites before the release of the next book.
3/ Fans who are regularly interacting with an author and getting to know the person behind the books are more likely to keep recommending your work and spreading the word to friends and family. You can advertise all you like, but nothing beats personal, word of mouth recommendations.
4/ Knowing people are enjoying your books is the best feeling in the world and I believe this is the same for any author. For me personally, my confidence in my writing was at an all-time low when I entered the Rethink Press New Novels Competition. After years of knockbacks I had clawed my way back and was on the verge of a deal with a major publishing house, only for them to decide my book wasn’t for them. Even after winning my contract with Rethink there was a part of me convinced that people wouldn’t like my story. It is thanks to my fans (and a couple of great critical reviews in local press) and being able to hear from them personally how much they have enjoyed reading Dead Letter Day, that my confidence has been restored and I truly believe I can do this writing lark.
Whatever your view on the positives and negatives of social media, I think it is worth remembering that a writer is nothing without their readers and it is important to make time for your fans.