Paula’s thoughts about social networking
Way back in 2009, when I started writing romance novels
again after a 20+ year break, I began to explore Yahoo groups and then
Facebook. This was two years before I had another book published, but by June
2011 when ‘His Leading Lady’ was released, I had a fair amount of online
friends. Two years later, and with four more books published, I’ve continued to
expand my online friendships. It’s true to say many ARE now my friends, and not
just names, because we’ve exchanged comments, often to the point of feeling as
if we’re having a real life conversation. I’ve made more friends through
several FB groups too, notably the GBE2 and Writers’ Post groups.
Blogging has also helped. I make a real effort to visit and
leave comments on friends’ blogs, probably two or three each day (on average). I
took part in the Six Sentence Sunday group for about 18 months, and the April
A-Z blogging challenge for the last 3 years, and ‘met’ more people through both
of those. Inviting people to be a ‘Friday Friend’ here has strengthened many
friendships, as has being a guest blogger elsewhere.
I don’t spend as much time in the Yahoo groups as I used to,
as many of these seem to contain only promotion, but I often follow the links on the loops to different
blogs. I also dabbled in Twitter for a time, but I found it difficult to
keep up with all the activity there (especially as a lot of it seemed to be
pure advertising of books).
There have been times when I felt I was spending too much
time on ‘socialising’ – which I prefer to call it, rather than networking. To
me, the latter implies that you are ‘using’ the networks simply to promote
yourself and your books. That’s not to say I don’t advertise from time to time,
but I prefer to think of it as socialising and making friends.
What I didn’t actually realise was that by doing this I was
establishing an online presence for my name. Several times in the past few
weeks I’ve had friendship requests from people who have said (to paraphrase one
of them): “I see you around so often
on different pages I thought we were already friends.”
presence’ came home to me last weekend. On Saturday evening, I posted a message
to the effect that my next novel would be released next February, and I was
looking for blog visits in February and March. Within a couple of hours, I had
ten offers to host me, some by leaving a comment, others through direct
messaging. By the time I got up next morning, there were five more. I know
there are other friends I can approach directly to ask for a guest spot on
their blogs, but what was especially gratifying about the offers was that only
two of these were from bloggers I had visited in the past. The others were from
other friends I have made on FB, and it’s always good to be able to visit ‘new’
blogs. I also had two offers to read and review the novel (in addition to their
offers to host me on their blogs).
Bearing in mind
that FB posts soon get pushed out of sight by all the other posts appearing
there, I could probably repeat the request next week, and get more offers.
However, I think 15 is enough for now!
One short message
on FB has resulted in me being able to plan a two month blog tour. It’s also made me
feel a whole lot better about the time I spend socialising on Facebook!