I’m grateful for lots of things about modern living—epidurals, electricity, antibiotics, etc.—but as I think about the year 2011, I especially love how social media (Twitter, Facebook, etc.) has been such a plus for writers. Here’s the thing, when I think about what being an author must have been like in the last century, I kind of cringe. Writing with quill and ink by candlelight. Entrusting your manuscript to the postman and waiting months and months to receive written correspondence from agents and editors with news that your book is accepted or rejected (can you imagine?!), etc. But the thing that would be toughest, I suspect, is the isolation factor.
When I sold my book in February of last year, I hit the fiction world with wide eyes and zero knowledge, really, of how a book goes from being a Word document to a printed product. I didn’t know how one goes about getting blurbs, or really what to expect in the pre-pub and publicity phase. Clueless? Pretty much. And you know who helped me (besides my wonderful editor and agent, of course)? Other authors. Kind and giving and supportive veteran authors who had been newbies themselves at one point or another. I connected with many of these folks via Twitter and Facebook and email, and now, a year into the game, I can tell you that the community I have built via these networks has been amazing and so helpful to me. (P.S. I’d love it if you’d follow me on Twitter, and come on over and say hi on Facebook!)
Advice to new authors or aspiring authors: Follow your favorite authors and those you admire on Twitter and find them on Facebook. Most love interacting with fans and those who are just as excited about writing fiction as they are, and who knows, you might learn something or even build a relationship that can help you down the road when you have a shiny new book to debut.
I’d like to take the opportunity to give a shout-out to the many amazing authors who have helped me this year, including (and in no particular order): Sarah Pekkanen, Allison Winn Scotch, Carol Cassella, Beth Hoffman, Kelly O’Connor McNees, Claire Cook, Jodi Picoult, and many, many more who have offered advice and pointers along the way. I am so grateful.