On the second day of the New Year my Twitter followers list hit 1,500. I have been engaged in Twitter in earnest since early May. For a year or so before I began this engagement I had heard of Twitter but ignored it, until I read what literary agents had to say about finding an agent and getting published. Aside from the usual ‘write a compelling, interesting book’ or words to that effect, again and again I read words such as ‘develop an author platform’ and ‘engage in social media.’
I am of an age where nothing related to computers, the Internet, World Wide Web, social media or anything else is as normal and familiar as breathing for some other folks. My career journalism dates backs to paste pots and blue pencils, radio beeper reports and “film at 11.” Writing a short story and submitting to a magazine consisted of many hours at the typewriter, many envelopes, a small fortune in postage, subscribing to the small press, and living for the mail delivery to see who was rejecting me that day.
So, needless to say, the events that have unfolded in the publishing world over the past dozen years have not only been a shock, but trying to catch up with technology that runs counterintuitive to the way my brain works had been nothing short of miraculous.
So there came a day when I said, “OK, I’m going to use Twitter for something other than following comedians, use Facebook to find writers I find on Twitter, share my reading interests on Goodreads, and develop a social media platform that, hopefully, won’t get me laughed out of the cool kids club.’
So far, meh. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve met (digitally) lots of cool people and read lots of interesting stuff, stuff I would never would have read before delving into this world. But I wonder what it all has to do with writing.
But here I am blogging about my journey through the writing life, such as it is, and the further I get into all of this, the more I think JAKonrath is right when he says at the end of his excellent blog on resolutions: “Let it all go. Spend your time working on your books. That’s the only thing that really matters, and the only thing you have control over.”
After seven months of dipping my toe into the social media waters, I have to agree. Not that I’ve ever had a publishing contract, had a book tour, a speaking engagement, anything like that. I’ve yet to have any of my fiction published. But I am standing on the corner of “What If” and “Why Not” and the traffic whizzing by me seems to be noisy with marketing and connecting and quiet about craft. I recognize the need for entrepreneurial acumen, but I am concerned that storytelling and writing gets lost in all this.
There is no doubt that the publishing world is changing, and it is a great time to be a writer. I’m looking forward to riding this wave for as long and as far as I can.
How about you?