Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Social Networking and the Writer

Let's all face networking has become HUGE! But with each person, the reason for using social media and how it's used, varies drastically.
There is the 'Magic' social media guy; you know him or her well. They breeze in every few months, type out a line or two, download a hideous photo then, like magic, they are gone just as quickly as they appeared. There are the 'Trendy' social media folks who jump on the bandwagon in short violent bursts, usually when some star makes mention of a site or one of the sites hits the headlines. Then there are the 'Denial' networkers who limit themselves to social media 'only on weekends' or 'only late at night if I'm having trouble sleeping'. There are people who use social media to find lost family, old friends, love, money and fame. Some people even go as far as to create an alternate existence chock full of farm lands, big cities, fake friends, fake pets and alter egos. So, which one are you?
I began testing the social media waters as a means of creating a foundation to introduce myself to the world as a writer. Soon my co-writer & I began to accumulated more and more friends. We then decided to branch out a bit, at first delving into book reviews and author interviews. Today, one year later, we have a review site, web site, multiple Twitter accounts and even a fanpage on Facebook.
So what has been the up side of social networking for me as a writer? Simple... not only have I had the opportunity to meet some amazing people but I have had the chance to really know them as friends and colleagues. We met our agent on Twitter, and several authors were already friends of ours before signing with our literary agency, Tribe Lit. A lot of well known authors have graciously agreed to interview with WebbWeaver because of the rapport we already had with them through social media sites. There are wonderful writer's groups and discussion forums available through social media and a host of advertising possibilities. You can even blog about or showcase your writing on social networking sites. Publishers, editors and agents all can be found on these sites and if you happen to be in the right place at the right time, you can get the opportunity to not only know these folks, but be welcomed into their circle of friends. Now all this may sound great but there is also a down side to social networking.
If you are planning to use these sites to get your name out there, then there are a few things you should try to remember. Social networking means you have to be 'social', even if you aren't normally. It also means that you would do well to be diplomatic in your wording at times when you would like to be rude. You will have to deal with people that you don't necessarily like but who offer up incite or knowledge into the writing world, that is crucial and necessary for your growth as a writer. There will be spammers who will, no doubt, drive you insane by posting penis enlargement advertisements on your blog, Facebook wall or website. You will most assuredly get a first hand look at back-stabbing and cut-throating which is sadly, a part of life as well as the writing industry. On days when you want to string together a series of obscenities so intricately woven that they could fill the hole in the ozone layer, you can't or rather you shouldn't, because now you never know who may be watching or reading your posts!
And the biggest drawback to this social networking conundrum... it is time consuming. Everyday I say my good morning's to a rather large group of individuals, I post on the fan page or write a review or blog post. These things can take you away from the task at hand... writing your novel. In the time it took me to plan & write this blog post, I could have easily written a couple thousand words on a manuscript. In the time it took you to follow the link from Twitter, Facebook or wherever, and then read this post...You could have done the same.

Monday, July 19, 2010


As writer's, we all have to face the dreaded 9-letter word... REJECTION. Sadly, the next step can sometimes be self-doubt. It starts with that nagging voice in the back of your mind that says, "Maybe you aren't good enough". Perhaps the self doubt goes even further and tells you that you chose the wrong dream to chase, give up now and forget about this whole 'writing thing'. I have even once, allowed self doubt to push me right into a slump, or what we writer's lovingly refer to as WRITER'S BLOCK. It took my co-writer & my agent a bit of reverse psychology (using my own 'pep talk' against me) to pry me off my pity pot and get me back in line. Today when the fear of rejection creeps in or self-doubt begins to whisper ever so softly in my ear, I simply remember the following, and I am instantly renewed...

1) William Golding's LORD OF THE FLIES was rejected by 20 publishers and was even called 'an absurd, uninteresting fantasy which was rubbish and dull'.

2) Frank Hubert's DUNE was rejected 20 times before making it's way to print.

3) Stephen King was rejected dozens of times for his novel CARRIE. One publisher even stated, 'we are not interested in science fiction with negative utopias...THEY DO NOT SELL'.

4) Meg Cabot, author of THE PRINCESS DIARIES, was rejected by 17 publishers before landing a deal.

5)Madeline L'Engle's A WRINKLE IN TIME was rejected by 26 publishing houses.

6) Margaret Mitchell's riveting GONE WITH THE WIND, was rejected a whopping 36 times before landing a publisher.

7) John Grisham's A TIME TO KILL was rejected by 16 literary agents AND 12 publishers before marking the beginning of the best seller's career.

8) James Patterson, one of the most prolific and successful writers alive, was rejected more than a dozen times.

And last but certainly not least...

9) J.K. Rowling's (Yes! 'THE' J.K. Rowling) HARRY POTTER AND THE PHILOSOPHER'S STONE (Now, The Sorcerer's Stone) was rejected by over a dozen publishing houses including, Penguin Books and Harper Collins. OUCH!!

Next time you get a rejection or self-doubt begins to poison your thinking, remember... The ugly 9-letter word doesn't mean that you aren't good enough, it just means that someone else will have the grand opportunity to kick themselves later on when the 9-letter word turns into the 3-letter word...YES!

Thursday, July 8, 2010

The List

I began this blog as a means of sharing with others the entire process that my co-writer and I went through on the road to publication. I wish I had started it much sooner, like before the novel was completed. Since I got a late start I have decided to bring everyone up to speed as simply as I know how...Welcome to THE LIST!

1) Wicked cool idea rears it's head for the first time.
2)Ran idea past best friend who inevitably becomes co-writer.
3) Began researching and tweaking every aspect of story concept including characters and locales.
4) Putt our butts in chairs and began writing.
5) In our free time, began utilizing various social networking sites in an effort to advertise our new roles as authors.
6) Met a wonderful lady through one of those sites, who happened to be an editor and was interested in our work. She offered to help us and we jumped at the opportunity to work with someone who knew the editing business and believed in us.
7) Continued to write while establishing ourselves as book reviewers and author interviewers with the WebbWeaver sites.
8) Wrote, wrote and wrote some more.
9) Edited, refined, tweaked and, did I mention that we wrote!
10) Got offered a contract for representation from the same wonderful lady we had confided in and trusted as an editor.
11) Established and met a deadline for completion of our debut novel CRUELTY TO INNOCENTS.

Now, before you ask, Yes, we met our agent on a social networking site. And Yes, we did sign our agency contracts before completion of our novel, BUT we were well into the book with only a few chapters remaining and our now agent/editor had every one of those chapters as well as a clear and detailed outline for the remaining ones.
Will you find your agent through social networking? I really can't say. Will you sign a contract for representation before you complete your novel? Most likely no, but that doesn't mean it can't happen. We know that it is not only unusual, but also very rare that our story has unfolded the way that it has, but we also know that it happened this way, not just because our agent/editor believed in us but because we believed in ourselves as well.
It is now 7 months since we signed those contracts, our book is out to several publishing houses and we are working on new projects everyday. We will continue to wait, to write and to believe in ourselves and our work until we can complete the list by adding;

12) Signed book deal.
13) Made 'THE LIST' at The New York Times.

Oh, how I dearly love THE LIST.