I’m a social person, just not a big joiner of groups. That said, ten years ago I joined a critique group when I decided to try my hand at writing a novel. The interaction has all been positive and I’ve made lifetime friends that I wouldn’t trade for anything in the world. When I finally got a book contract, I knew if I didn’t create some buzz in this social media age about my book, it wouldn’t sell. I learned a lot about myself after signing that first contract.
I learned getting social means interacting with people that create, share, and exchange information and ideas, so I called upon my daughter Carla to create a website for me. When someone mentioned I needed a Facebook page to build an online reputation, I signed up for one along with Twitter. I’ve since added Pinterest and LinkedIn but have done little with them for lack of time. By now, I wondered what I had gotten myself into. I couldn’t just sit behind the computer and tap out stories people would love and want to buy? What an old fashioned idea.
I understand how important it is for creative writers to stay connected and reach a wide audience. According to stats, Internet users spend more time with social media sites than any other type of site, but there are many negative effects that stem from Internet usage. Due to the increase in social media websites, we now have a positive correlation between the usage of such media with cyber bullying, online sexual predators, and the decrease in face-to-face interactions. That’s a bit scary. I continue to be overwhelmed balancing social media with time to write, and why book three is still in the research stage.
Public speaking was not on my radar when Five Star released Twisted Vines in August 2012. It was the one thing I’ve always avoided, but when I was invited to join a book tour of the San Francisco Bay Area with Penny Warner, Ann Parker, and Staci McLaughlin, I happily accepted. What a surprise to discover I enjoyed talking about my book and answering questions from the audience. As more opportunities came my way, I became more comfortable and lost most of my shyness.
When I retired, I said I was going to experience one new adventure every year. I’ve been up in a balloon in Utah and in a glider plane in California, but I never anticipated becoming a published writer and willing to speak in public. I wonder what’s next.