Welcome to the first of my interviews with some of Australia's most acclaimed speculative fiction authors. Today we have Rowena Cory Daniells answering 5 questions on Authors and Social Media.
How important do you view social media to selling your books or interacting with fans?
I really don't know if social media sells books. In fact, I don't know if any kind of advertising sells anything. I do think that people reading your books, then blogging that they've enjoyed them is going to recommend your books to their friends. I am much more likely to read a book that one of my friends has recommended, than a random book that I come across. So social media is great for fighting the writers worst enemy - Obscurity!
As for interaction with readers, I've found it wonderful. When my first trilogy came out the social medias were in their infancy. We had email lists and that was about it. Now I get people dropping by my blog to comment how much they've enjoyed King Rolen's Kin and ask where book four is. That is such a buzz for a writer. (We're needy things. LOL)
Do you or would you want to receive any guidance from your publisher/agent on interacting via social media, both in a technical sense or in a 'professional presentation' sense?
I don't expect this. I've had a web page since 1999 and I had a book trailer in 2002, when my publisher didn't know what to do with it!
My current publisher did advise me strongly to join Twitter, which I thought would be a waste of time because I didn't see how you could say anything useful in 140 characters, but I'm ready to eat my words. I've met some amazing people through twitter and I keep up with what's happening. I find the divide between personal life and professional life, and between professional contact and friend an interestingly grey area. It's a fine line between making a fun comment about some weird thing my kids have done and over-stepping the boundary of their privacy. Also, when working with an editor or agent, you want to be professional - always hand in the books on time, get stuck into edits and return them ASAP. Meanwhile, you're chatting and bantering on Twitter. So it is challenging.
There have been some recent examples of inexperienced authors reacting badly on the Internet in response to blog reviews e.t.c., what are your thoughts on being social media savvy? What advice would you give to new authors?
I take the attitude that not everyone is going to like my books and that is their right. If I agonised over every quibble people have - (one reviewer said the prose was simplistic, but for some reason they couldn't stop reading. LOL. I can live with that) - I'd go crazy. Rule one, don't take yourself too seriously. Rule two, don't take anything a reviewer says too seriously. Rule three - never respond to a bad review. Rob Will Review named my trilogy one of his top reads for 2010. So I emailed him to thank him.
In my experience Social media breaks down normal communication conventions. People can be more familiar and 'take liberties'.
Have you experienced problems where this ease of communication has lead to followers/fans 'crossing the line' or has your experience been entirely positive?
I'm lucky, my experience has been entirely positive, but I do try to maintain a little distance between my private life and my public life. And I also try to maintain some professional distance with my editors and agent.
How vital is social media to the genre in which you write and how do you think social media will effect the way you write and interact in the future?
I am SO grateful to social media for putting me in touch with the readers and other writers. Everyday it makes me smile and reminds me I'm not alone in the crazy business! I can see social media growing the contact between writers and readers. The more the better!
The King Rolen’s Kin trilogy can be found in good bookstores and on Amazon in paperback .
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