My first novel was published by Avalon Books in 1990, which means I’ve been a published author for twenty-five years now. What a difference twenty-five years make!
In 1990, it was simple. I wrote the book; I sent it to Avalon; they published it. I did a few readings and signings for each book, mostly at a local bookstore or with various groups of authors. That was it. I got to work on the next book.
The Internet did exist then, but the World Wide Web was in its infancy. My first real online experience was with the Prodigy bulletin board. I logged in via a dial-up modem and it slowly—very slowly—downloaded content to my computer. I found some shared interest groups, including groups of authors writing mystery and romance. It was wonderful, though the slow interface limited my interaction. It still felt like an amazing thing to connect with other authors online.
Today I connect via cable modem and it’s lightning fast and always available. I belong to tons of different writers’ groups and listserves. I’ve learned a huge amount from online interactions. It’s amazing.
It’s also a nightmare. It’s the amorphous blob that swallows all my time. And I’m not even talking about the hundreds (yes, hundreds!) of emails I get each day or the temptation of so much news and information available. I’m talking about the pressure to join more groups, interact with people on Twitter and Facebook. Learn Linked In. Figure out Goodreads. Join Google +, Tumblr, Tsu, Instagram, Hologram and Phooeygram.
I can’t do it. I have a day job and family. I barely squeeze in time to write in my crowded schedule and I resent having to take some of that time to join conversations on Twitter, mostly on topics I don’t care about, or try to make sense of all those other social media sites.
I like blogging, since I’m always willing to give my opinion on any particular subject, especially if it’s one I know something about, like writing and telling stories. I use Facebook mostly for family connections and occasionally get rewarded when one of my children posts pictures of the grandkids. I connect with other author friends there, too, and I like keeping up with what they’re doing. But I don’t like posting too much about my own writing stuff. I’m really not much for self-promotion.
I do a few public appearances at science fiction conventions and writers’ groups events. In fact, as you’re reading this I’m probably at Con-gregate, a local science fiction convention. I have a great time at science fiction conventions. They’re so much less format than mystery and romance writer conventions and I always learn a few things as well. (And frequently come home with dragon ear-rings or a unicorn pendant – I mean where else can you get those things?)
But I think I’m going to try to relax about promoting and just do what works for me – blogging, a few appearances, some other online writer events, but mostly just try to continue to write the best books I can!