Writers, do you do it? Readers, do you follow them?

I just posted a long rant about this topic on my blog and wanted to see what other crimespacers thought about the trend. Is it a useful promotional tool, or just another non-writing timesuck?

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Seems that folks are missing the opportunities we are being offered for FREE to get your book and yourself in front of new people - people you will NOT reach any other way. I agree that you should post reviews and other info on a website - but if you blog about it - that info and a link can be in Google overnight - on an active blog. Post on your website alone and it could take 2,3 or 4 months to reach Google.

Blogging and social networks are also a great opportunity to brand yourself. Lesser known authors have an inexpensive way to get themselves in front of potential readers. Sure it would be nice if all we needed to do was to write books - but what is the point of writing if you aren't going to promote the book and get it in front of potential readers? These things are one of the reasons I wrote my latest book - it goes into all kinds of details about how and why to promote online. Yep - blogging and Twitter etc are definitely included. Social networking is a powerful promotional tool and you have a chance to meet all sorts of people. If you are only using social networking to reconnect with old friends etc - you are missing most of the possibilities that we have through Web 2.0. I've been in promotional work for over 16 years - I can only imagine the things I could've accomplished with the internet (as it is today) over those years.

Have to comment about people going off about event invitations - I get irritated by excessive messages (4 or 5 copies of the same thing) and invitations to an event in other countries or across the country. Invitations to events in Switzerland (for example) when I live in the US shows the person sent a bulk message and didn't look at or consider who it was going to.

Nikki Leigh
Good points all, but I wonder how many people actually buy a book after reading an unknown author's promotional post on Twitter or Facebook.
I don't have time to read many blogs - whether micro or macro :o) But there are a few that I keep up with - mostly because I like the writer and/or their writing. I log onto Facebook (mostly to play Scrabble or pick up messages), and sometimes I even update my status. Mostly, however, I don't, but I have good intentions :o) I only have a look on Myspace for bands - it's great for those but I find it tedious for anything else. And Twitter? Is that like being all of a flutter? I've heard of it but can't be arsed finding out what it is so I guess I am not that interested :o)

On Facebook, I like the status updates that tell me what my chums are doing, but ignore those which are obviously promotional, and I ignore messages that are of the "Come and see me doing a reading in Poughkeepsie" type. They don't bother me, but they're not really of interest. But then, I'm not a very good Facebook person. The only applications I have added are Scrabble and Scramble and, while I appreciate that someone wants to send me an odd sock, or give me a gift of a red-kneed patagonian spider, I just don't like downloading the applications so I ignore those. People probably think I am very mean :o)

I may not be fond of the impersonal blanket messages, but I really like getting personal messages on Facebook or here or in e-mail though. I have made a number of good friends due to social networks like this. In fact, I have just waved goodbye to one. I met Jools on Crimespace and she was up in Glasgow last night so we could go and see Kings of Leon. We had a girlie visit, stayed up late and talked and laughed. So that's why *I* like sites like this and Facebook.
It's both a time suck and non-writing, but it's a great way to find a community. Doesn't matter how much you update or post ("Tweet") but it's great to have a presence there. Think of it as a huge, constant chat-room. Not always necessary, but worth visiting once in a while.
"All these incessant updates as to what someone is up to at any given moment: "Now I'm writing. Now I'm writing. Now I'm having lunch. Now I'm jerking off (no one is ever honest enough to microblog that, near as I can tell) are just so much dull chatter." By Eric Stone

Calls to mind "The Real World" and "Big Brother." You would think these shows would provide candid windows into their characters' lives. What do we get instead? People vacuuming in their underwear while wearing fuzzy slippers. The trouble with microblogging and similar concepts, is that what people don’t need to know is precisely what people want to know. Imagine if a microblogger made the following posts:

1. I was contacted by the IRS. Found out I haven't paid taxes for fifteen years.

2. Tried to impress a chick with my celebrity. Was rejected like a shot blocked by Shaq.

3. Made it to first base with the chick I am dating. Tomorrow I will try to realize my destiny.

Now if microbloggers would put out messages like those, I would tape my computer to my face.15 minutes left to edit your comment.
1. Contacted again by the CIA, they want me to solve Iran for them. They can fix their own mess.

2. Transdimensional portal opened in basement. Led to alternate universe where Paris Hilton won Nobel Peace Prize.

3. Dinosaur cloning success. What do you feed a baby Tyrannosaur?

4. Too busy making up silly Tweets to write anything substantial.

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