“You’re on Facebook, right? Twitter? And you’ve got a blog?”
So asks everyone in the industry when a writer speaks of publishing a new book. You’ve got to sell yourself, they say, because these days writers have to expect to do all their own marketing.
But when a writer markets a book via social networking, invariably her personality becomes part of the package. It’s not just about the themes in her novel, that one cool plot twist, that familiar archetype turned on its head–it’s about where she went on vacation, what kind of cheese she prefers, how she dressed as an obscure manga character for Halloween. It’s a funny video she made about her addiction to post-it notes. It’s a link to an online photo album of her iguana.
In short, a writer who uses “social marketing” ends up selling herself.
So it’s no longer about that new book.
Is this a problem? Is all this talk about post-its and Halloween drowning out the carefully crafted noise of a well-written story? Some writers make it point to avoid publicizing their personalities–they want their work to speak for itself. But that’s not necessarily the “right” way to be a writer, is it? It’s not as if Mark Twain holed himself up and let his work “speak for itself.” And who would want him to??
Some writers feel comfortable in the spotlight. They like connecting with their readers on multiple levels–through their stories and through online platforms. Some writers feel like they’ve said everything they meant to say right there in those two hundred plus pages of their novel. So perhaps this is a matter of respecting each writer’s bent toward extroversion or introversion.
Are you annoyed by “social marketing” or does it draw you closer to your favorite writer? Does a writer’s online persona (or lack thereof) affect your reaction to her writing?