Friday, June 18, 2010

How Twitter Can Help The Shy Writer


Please welcome erotic romance author Cari Quinn to the blog for the second time (her first post was 11/09 if you're interested). Cari wrote her first story - a bible parable - in 2nd grade, much to the delight of the nuns at her Catholic school. Once she saw the warm reception that first tale garnered, she was hooked. She attempted her first romance in junior high, long before she'd ever read one. Writing what she knew always took a backseat to what she wanted to know, and that still holds true today. Cari's genres of choice include contemporary, romantic comedy, romantic suspense, urban fantasy and paranormal. Recently she discovered erotic romance. Oh, how far she's come.


HERE'S CARI--This topic has definitely been touched on before, but I wanted to share some of my own experiences, as well as a few things that have worked for me.

Coincidentally, last night I was tempted to post to my Twitter feed how much I appreciate the friends I've made on Twitter, and it's so true. Because of that site, I've spoken to editors and NYT bestselling authors that I more than likely wouldn't have had a chance to make contact with otherwise, or at least not in such an informal forum. As writers - especially for those of us who publish with e-publishers - it's not enough to write a great book, because if no one knows about it, your reputation likely won't build. Word-of-mouth is key. So how do you generate buzz about your books? Doing interviews, writing guest blog posts, and having a website all help. For me, I've found the biggest way readers have heard about me is from other readers. And where can you find a lot of them?

Twitter.

My next book, Ex Appeal, from The Wild Rose Press' Wilder Roses, is coming out next Friday. So far I have a pretty good list of great reviewers I've met on Twitter who are all willing to review my book. Some I approached. Some approached me. But as we all know, reviews are golden in getting your book out there. I've seen this work for some of my friends, too. There are so many wonderful reviewers out there who take the time to try to find the next gem in a haystack, and they want your book! All you have to do is be visible and friendly and do a little legwork to see which reviewers like your kind of material.

The bulk of my Goodreads reviews for Full Disclosure came from friends/reviewers I met on Twitter. Some of the sweetest people have taken time they don't have to plug my book. Which brings me to my next point: reciprocation.

I've seen more than one writer wonder why their blog posts or their books don't seem to receive any response. Often, this person is rarely seen on other blogs and can't figure out why people aren't seeking them out. The reason is simple. People like people who like them. If I come by your blog fifteen times and you don't ever stop by mine, I might wonder why. It could simply be that you're busy. The only problem with that is we're all busy. None of us are given more hours in the day than someone else. It's not a matter of "well, I'll comment a bunch of places then more people will come to my blog." That may be true in the short term, but when it comes to building relationships, that won't work. It doesn't take much to connect with people. Really, a line or two commenting on their latest Twitter update or their recent book or even the picture they posted of their puppy can do wonders.

Some of the people I met two years ago when I started blogging are still friends today. And that means if I have an unexpected release, I can email them out of the blue and they'll post my blurb/excerpt or write me some interview questions or anything else they can do to help me get a little exposure. That's a tremendous help, and that offer wouldn't be there if I hadn't made the time - consistently - to get to know them better through their blogs/website/Twitter or Facebook (which is a pond I've only recently waded into, I admit!)

I recently sold my first book to Ellora's Cave, and guess where I met my editor? If you guessed Twitter, you'd be correct. ;) She allowed me to email my submission to her directly, and as someone who receives a LOT of manuscripts, I don't doubt that helped me stand out from the pack a bit. Why did she do this? She's a sweetheart, but also because we'd begun building a bit of a rapport on Twitter and she extended an opportunity to me because of that.

Twitter is teeming with agents and editors. Last night, I saw a prominent Samhain editor discussing what she had in her submission stack and what she wanted to see more of. That isn't information that will be posted on any blog, because she was just going through recent submissions and commenting. Invaluable. Twitter really is like an "inside source." Editors and agents - not to mention other authors - you meet there just may be able to help you reach your goals in ways you'd never imagined. But when I approach them, I take the long view and try to get a sense of their personality, which also helps me to know if I'd like to work with them.

I follow a lot of people who follow me on Twitter. Not all of them, but if someone's a writer, then more than likely I will. I've met lots of wonderful people this way. I also make sure if I love an author's book or a recent blog post, I tell them. I met one author on Twitter after I adored her book and told her, and since then she's bought my books and done the same for me.

Getting out there means, at least for me, reading other authors' books and letting them know I enjoyed them. Posting reviews is huge in building goodwill with your fellow authors. Even a couple line Amazon, Goodreads or Twitter review can help them generate more buzz, and there's a good chance they'll want to help you too. Besides, it's just good karma! I know how hard it is to be an author, and if I can make your day a little brighter by sharing how much I loved your book, you can bet I will.
And the best part of all of this...this shy writer can take advantage of any or all of these opportunities from the comfort of her easy chair!

My new book, Ex Appeal, release June 25th at The Wild Rose Press' Wilder Roses
. You can also visit me on my blog.

19 comments:

  1. Hey Rebecca and Cari :)
    Such a great post and so absolutely true. No writer is an island : ) And the comfort of networking in my PJ's, makes the Internet the perfect tool for the incurable introvert that I am!
    So, so, so looking forward to Ex Appeal next week.
    Thanks for sharing.

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  2. This is a great post, Cari. And yeah, I'm one of those shy writers. I really need to try and get out there more but boy, I really suck at making that first move. This blog post has given me a kick to be more out there. Hope you don't mind if I grab your hand :)

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  3. Hi, Cari! (Waves!!!!) Loved your post. I"m a shy writer and I agree, Twitter is invaluable. I've met so many wonderful people, including you!

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  4. Hey Cari--Thanks so much for another great post. I'm guilty of not visiting others' blogs as much as I should. I just don't remember to unless I see a Twitter post or Facebook post about it. Thanks for the gentle reminder.

    :)Becky

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  5. Hi Cari and Rebecca!
    Great post and great blogsite! Perfect for me, the timid hermit writer.

    I'm on Twitter, Myspace, and FB, but I'm guilty of not using them enough. It's really tough to balance mommyhood, writing (under two names), and networking. Something has to give and unfortunately it's usually the latter. But maybe someday I'll get it together. :-)

    Congrats on your upcoming release!!!! Can't wait to read it!

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  6. Oh, Cari, you've hit a lot of good points. And it's so true that Internet hides the shy writer. I'm pretty quiet in real life and would never speak up with strangers, heck sometimes not even with people I know. Put me in the cyber world and I can be whoever I want and cut loose with the naughty humor that echoes quietly in my head when in the "real" world. But I'm not nearly as "out there" as I'd like to be. Thanks for being one of my internet friends. You're a doll!

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  7. Excellent post - I'd love to hear how other people mix their "relationship-building" time (visiting blogs, tweeting, chatting, etc.) into their "work" time.

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  8. Hey Cari,
    I think we're Twitter friends! You make some excellent points about fostering online connections. It reminds me of advice I've given my kids: To have friends, you have to be a friend.
    A big thing (Becky and I have talked about this) that shocks me, is when you post a comment on someone's blog and they never respond. It's one thing if it's a huge blog w/ a zillion comments, but when it's a personal blog w/ 3 or 4 comments... Oopsies. If that happens once or twice, I never go back. It feels as if I'm talking to myself, and that the person doesn't care. I totally agree with you!

    (Watch Becky not reply, then I'll be really mad at her. Love ya, sis, but I'll give you the cold shoulder next time.)

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  9. Great points. I've enjoyed lurking and chatting at the chats on Twitter. I still feel shy, which is kind of annoying, but I'm getting better. :)

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  10. I'm on Twitter but obviously I'm not using as effectively as I could. Thanks for the input.

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  11. Hi Rebecca and Cari,
    Great post. Very interesting. I haven't dipped my toe into the Twitter pond as yet.

    Regards

    Margaret

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  12. Hi everyone--
    Shout out to Laurie! When someone else is a guest on my blog, I don't always respond to the comments. I'm not intentionally giving a cold shoulder, I just don't want to rain on my guest author's parade, so to speak. Maybe I should reconsider?????

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  13. Snork! I know. I'm giving you a hard time. But you know what I mean. Someone will make a blog post on their personal blog. They tweet or link it to FB which says to me they want ppl to comment. So you do. You pour your heart out in a comment, hoping to have a nice conversation, then you hear crickets.

    It's wonderful when you have a guest and the guest comments back. (Yay, Cari! We've been twittering about her post here.) I've commented plenty of times on guest blog posts, to find that person never even came onto the blog to read comments.

    I guess it's fine if that person doesn't care about building a community and interacting with people. But if that's important to you (like Cari's comment about that person wondering why no one comes to their blog), you gotta care about people and converse.

    Sorry if I'm coming across a little surly tonight. I don't mean to, it's just that it's kind of a pet peeve of mine.

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  14. Hi everyone...and thank you so much for all the awesome comments! A big thank you also to Becky for having me here again. :) I responded earlier and deleted my comment accidentally - good thing I didn't claim to be tech savvy - but didn't make it back here as soon as I would've liked.

    Laurie's right...and that's something I'm lax about on my own blog, I admit. I love when a blogger comments on their commenters' thoughts. I always check back on other people's blogs to see if they've commented, but I don't reply to people on my own. I've meant to. I do it occasionally, but not enough. Definitely something I need to work on.

    Also, as Viola said, there's not enough hours in the day. If something has to suffer, better to let the networking slide than the writing. Without a good product, we don't need to network. My point was more for people I've seen who don't seem to "get it" that reciprocation goes a lot farther than just asking for comments and sitting back and not participating elsewhere in the blogosphere. I'm very behind on reading my friends' blogs. I used to stop by and read them every day, but I haven't had the time to do that lately. So I try to check in with a note to say hi, or a comment on their twitter feed, or even a "like" on FB. Just to let them know they're important to me, even if I can't offer as much time as I'd like.

    Thanks again, Becky...this was fun!

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  15. Great post, Cari! Totally agree with what you're saying. I've been meaning to read Full Disclosure. You're in my TBR pile!

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  16. What a great post, Cari. I try and keep up with my blog, Twitter and FB, but have discovered the more I do FB the less I manage on Twitter (or vice versa!) I'm not very well organised with my time but I do love catching up with the friends I've made through blogging etc.- even though I don't get as much time to now, as I did a couple of years ago. I'm still struggling to find that balance!!!

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  17. Hi Cari and Rebecca - not always easy, but so true. I love getting to know other writers through their blogs and websites. Blogging and Twittering regularly are things I need to bring in line - although as someone else said, when you're blogging, tweeting and facebooking the writing doesn't get done. I'm trying to structure my days so that these activities are a set part of my normal work routine rather than the seductive hours-long detours they can become!

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  18. Hey everyone, what great comments we're getting. FYI--a Seattle news site asked permission to reprint this article. Way cool, eh? Nice job, Cari.

    Laurie--you were most definitely NOT surly. You brought up a very good point in a very nice way.

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  19. Great blog post, Cari! And wow, a Seattle news site picked it up too? Congratulations!

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