Thursday, April 07, 2011

On Blogs, Facebook, and Zombies

Current Project: Romancing the Genres
Status: 23 Days to Blog Launch

Like many other pre-published writers, I didn’t want to believe the published author who first told me that I needed a Website, a blog, a Facebook page and a Twitter account before I sold my first book. But she’s a really savvy author with years in publishing under her belt and a strong career. I respect her opinions.

So, despite the fact that I wanted nothing more than to finish my damned book, I forced myself to accept the unwanted truth. Whether I liked it or not, agents and editors would google me when I queried or pitched. They’d expect to find an established blog demonstrating my ability to write to a schedule, as well as my ability to entertain with my writing and create buzz. They’d look for a Facebook page and/or Twitter account to evaluate my social interactions (i.e., manners, professionalism, friendliness, charm, appropriateness) to evaluate our possible compatibility level.

Another light bulb went off: I needed to check them out through blogs and social media as well!

I bought (and read) Facebook for Dummies and The Twitter Book. I even understood some of it, but I was still very intimidated. Social networking sites seemed so complicated that I felt overwhelmed. So I decided to check out blogging. I read lots of blogs and articles about blogging. This, too, seemed overwhelming.

Then a writer friend, Sammarie Ashe, graciously offered to help another social-media-phobic writer friend, Judith Ashley, and me set up Blogger and Facebook pages. She went on to do so with infinite patience and good humor, I might add. She gave us confidence.

Judith and I began to blog and friend people on Facebook regularly. For a few weeks, I did pretty well with Facebook. Then life got in the way. I faded out. Resurrected myself. Faded out again. I call myself a Facebook Zombie. J

I kept up my blog for a few months, posting three times a week, but the time demands overwhelmed me. I had no idea how to promote my blog aside from sending posts to Facebook (and you already know how that was going.) So I closed the blog down. When an opportunity to blog twice monthly here at MWVRWA this year came my way, I decided to try again.

That was a smart move. I have wonderful co-bloggers for support and examples. I’m writing to deadlines. I’ve gained the confidence that only time and overcoming obstacles can instill. And blogging here inspired me to plan a new group blog with Judith that launches May 1st – Romancing the Genres.

Guest bloggers, including reviewers and quirky/informative writing-related bloggers, will post on weekends and ‘extra’ days of the month.

We recruited over twenty amazing romance writers from ten states who write in many different subgenres and categories, across genres and in between genres to join RTG. Half are published, many are award-winning authors, some have long careers and some are debut authors.

One is our own Paty Jager!

Among our wonderful unpubbed bloggers are contest finalists, including Golden Heart and Daphne Finalists. Some are long-time bloggers, some are beginners. They all have one thing in common: a love of romance writing and a commitment to blogging monthly about romance writing from their unique perspectives.

And best of all, each of our bloggers has the help and support and networking capabilities of all of us!

Not bad for a Facebook Zombie, eh?


Paty Jager said...

I'm looking forward to the launch of Romancing The Genres. Should be one more facet for me to connect with the people across genres since my books genre hop.

And I'd say hopping in and doing this will definitely keep you on a schedule for blogging!

Genene Valleau said...

Very thought-provoking post, Sarah!

And a different way to look at social media for me. That social media is a way to "...demonstrate[ing] my ability to write to a schedule, as well as my ability to entertain with my writing and create evaluate my social evaluate our possible compatibility level..."

Um, I'd rather go back to thinking all I have to do is write the darn book. LOL!

I definitely agree that setting up a blog with other authors is a great way to step into the social media pool without drowning. I'm delighted that the MWV blog is up and running again, and I also blog with a group of writers published with Rogue Phoenix Press.

I also find my participation in social media depends on where I am in the writing process. When I'm deep in writing, I tend hibernate from all social interaction--online as well as in person. When I move to edits or have a release coming up, I emerge from my cocoon and become more sociable. (I know, social media isn't supposed to be all about promoting. :)

The end of this year and next year will be interesting as I will be writing and promoting at the same time. Social insanity, anyone?

Will be looking forward to the launch of Romancing the Genre!

Sarah Raplee said...

I'm looking forward to the launch, too, Paty! Wow, it's a lot of work!

Genene, I'd rather only have to write the darn book, too, LOL! But it seems that nowadays much more is required. *SIGH*