Someone said to me a couple of days ago that social media has made it easier and more acceptable for fans to stalk their favourite writers on a daily basis.
The joke was quite funny, though it did get me thinking about the people who follow my Facebook author page. So far I have published one novel ('Daughters of Nazareth') and my Facebook fan base stands at around 125 followers. That doesn't sound very large, but several of these people interact on my page on a frequent basis and many of them have not only read and loved 'Daughters of Nazareth', but have gone the extra mile to recommend me to all their friends and family.
A writer is nothing without readers and that social media has made us so accessible to them is, in my opinion, a very good thing. Having social media pages can give readers an insight into who the author is. Previously, writers were something of an enigma and unless they were very famous, the only clue you had to the person behind the name on the front cover was a mini biography and, if you were lucky, a snapshot of them somewhere at the back of the book. Giving readers a chance to engage with an author creates an opportunity to build a stronger fan base.
Writing a novel is a lengthy process and it used to be a case of out of sight out of mind, but this is no longer so. Authors are able to keep in touch with their readers by regular blogging, letting them know what they are up to and whetting appetites before the release of the next book ... hence my 'snippets'.
Fans who are regularly interacting with an author and getting to know the person behind the books are more likely to keep recommending your work and spreading the word to friends and family. You can advertise all you like, but nothing beats personal, word of mouth recommendations.
Knowing people are enjoying your books is the best feeling in the world and I believe this is the same for any author. For me personally, my confidence in my writing was at an all-time low when I began the process of finding a publisher. After years of knockbacks I had clawed my way back and was on the verge of a deal with a few publishing houses, only for them to snatch the juicy carrot back that they were dangling in front of me and decide my book wasn’t quite for them. Even after scoring a deal with Austin Macauley, there was a part of me convinced that people wouldn’t like my story. It is thanks to my fans and being able to hear from them personally how much they have enjoyed reading Daughters of Nazareth, that my confidence has been restored and I truly believe I can do this writing thing.
Whatever your view on the positives and negatives of social media, I think it is worth remembering that a writer is nothing without their readers and it is high time I thanked each and every one of you.
The publication of my baby 'Vikings to Virgin' is looming and as the day goes by, I am getting more excited, and apprehensive. Will the years and years of research and writing pay off in the end? Will someone even buy my book? It is after all about history. It's not everyone's cup of tea. But even saying these words, I feel a little proud of myself. I love this writing lark and I love history. I'm not a historian but I am passionate and I hope it shines through in this first instalment on British monarchy.
I'm hoping someone sends me a comment. I'd love to hear from you.