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Welcome to all new followers and fellow crusaders! 
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I asked HM&B multi-published author Natalie Anderson on a previous post, her views on Social Networking for pre-published authors and published authors, and here are her thoughts:
Firstly, thanks so much to Nas for putting me in her spotlight! I’m thrilled to be here :)
She asked me to give a few thoughts on that big ole’ beast known as social media in relation to pre-published and post-published. Now I’m really sorry because I’m just going to spout the obvious here – but it really is what I think about this. Yep, my thoughts for either camp are the same – it’s all about BALANCE.

There is no denying social media – or the advantages of it. It’s here, to stay, and only going to grow. So yes you need to be onboard (in some form or other) - but you need to manage what you put out there and of course how much time you put into it.

Nothing but nothing can come before the writing. At the end of the day we’re all in this because we have stories we want to share, we want to entertain, and yes, it’d be great to make some money doing that. No product means nothing to sell, no matter how cute your website. So you have to concentrate the best of your effort into your writing. And the most of your time.

So if you’re time pressured, then perhaps you only want to exist as a ‘writer’ on Facebook say – it’s free, its very easy to network and you can build relationships etc by commenting more on other peoples essays and pithy statements rather than having to come up with extended fantastic content yourself.

That’s the hard thing about blogging – it’s a big effort to attract readers and to keep them coming back. It can be a huge time-suck – time that perhaps could be better invested in your WIP. Of course, some people are great bloggers and all power to them. But be sure to think through what the benefits truly are to putting all that time into it.

The other thing that you have to be so very careful about, is what you put out there. Do not, under any circumstances, bite the hand that you want to feed you. Don’t moan about your dream publisher – or any other publisher or agent. What goes up, stays up and anybody can access it. I know this is obvious, but people do it all the time. Think, breathe, think again before pressing the ‘publish’ button. Now I’m not saying you can’t be honest, but just think about the face you’re presenting to the world. You must be professional, so when that potential editor or agent checks your blog/website/twitter/FB account, you want them to see you as someone they’d want to work with.  Sure, show your personality but perhaps not the moments of craziness we all have. I’m also wary of putting anything political up there-  you know the old saying about not talking politics, religion or sex? Well, depending on what you’re writing, it still holds – you don’t want to put prospective readers off by grumbling about the new law they adore...

It’s very difficult isn’t it? Because I guess it’s a kind of self-censorship... But your online presence is a persona – yes be honest, because honesty draws people, but perhaps not about everything. You have to define the lines for yourselves.

The internet has reduced the loneliness of the writer to a degree. It’s been fantastic in making all kinds of information accessible – we all know how to format manuscripts and how we’re supposed to write query letters and synopses – just Google it and you get a ton of great examples. We get to ‘meet’ people striving for the same thing as ourselves. But there’s something to be said for some isolation time as well. I remember in Donald Maas’ book, The Career Novelist (available as a free download here:
http://www.maassagency.com/books.html#career ), he talked about some break-out writers and the one thing they had in common was that they were writing in their own little caves off the network. Now I know this book is coming up 15 years old, but I think there’s still heaps to learn from it. And I do think there is a lot to be said for hanging out in your own cave, ploughing your own furrow. Have some time out where you don’t pay attention to what anyone else is doing, don’t get sucked into checking your blog visitor stats every two hours, don’t worry about how fast someone else has just finished their wip or how fast they heard back from an ed. All of that info is irrelevant to you and your journey. Filter all the garbage that’s on the social networks (‘cos there is garbage, just as there’s a lot of gold and a lot of fun). So yes, try to find the balance – somehow!!!

Of course, I’m still trying to find that balance thing. I blog sporadically – although I do contribute regularly to group blogs and find that great fun. I am much more regular on Facebook –
http://www.facebook.com/authornataliea and  sometimes Twitterhttp://www.twitter.com/authornataliea – but I find around deadline time, I drop everything and zone into book world. My time is very pressured – I still have two preschoolers (plus the two school age kids) and the bulk of my writing is done in the evenings and on the weekends. Perhaps when they go to school towards the end of the year I’ll be able to pick up on the social media thing a little more. For now, actually for always, the writing must come first.

So what do you think? Do you prefer to blog over Facebook say? Have you reserved your domain name for when you sell or do you have a full website up and running already? And do you tend to follow favourite authors on social media???


Natalie Anderson
USA TODAY bestselling author
  • UNFINISHED BUSINESS – M&B Special Releases, Jan 2011 UK
  • WALK ON THE WILD SIDE – M&B Riva, Feb 2011, UK ; Harlequin Presents Extra, Apr 2011 USA
  • REBEL WITH A CAUSE – Harlequin Presents Extra, Feb 2011 USA
  • IN BED WITH HER TALL, SEXY, HANDSOME BOSS – M&B By Request, Mar 2011 UK
  • THE END OF FAKING IT – M&B Riva, Apr 2011 UK ; Jul 2011 US
  • DATING AND OTHER DANGERS – M&B Riva, Jul 2011 UK
http://www.natalie-anderson.com
http://twitter.com/authornataliea
http://www.facebook.com/authornataliea

45 comments:

  1. Great post! I love how easy social networks make it to stay on top of favorite book releases :-)

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  2. Yes Lacey,

    If it was not for the net, we wouldn't know about most of the new releases!

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  3. Nothing comes before the book is an oldie but so, so, so true.

    It needs to be engraved deep in the wall of any author's workspace.

    Finding the balance is also a challenge considering the role of the author has morphed from "just a writer" to "business author" in charge of a good portion of their own branding and promotion.

    Finding something you enjoy in the social network is probably the best piece of advice Nat gave. Commit time to it and stick with that limit.

    Great post, Nat (and Nas). Enjoyed it.

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  4. Hi Kylie,

    Thanks so much for your input. As aspiring writers we all are struggling with time for writing versus social networking.

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  5. Hi Nas. What a great interview. I agree about blogging, ha ha, it really does impact on writing time, but it is also invaluable for networking and learning I think. Twitter and fb are just so throwaway, I prefer the more substantial relationships on blogger.

    Thanks Natalie for the links. Love, love Donald Maass. He's my writing guru! You sound very disciplined. All power to you!

    So Nas, why I'm here today. I'm just finishing up my Publication Party series so now I've a little time to get around and say hi personally to everyone in my 2 crusader groups. I've made a blogroll in my sidebar especially for my groups so I can see your latest posts and comment (which is the idea as we can't keep up with 200+ crusaders!)

    Oh, and I also created a badge which is yours to copy and take in my latest post of welcome to romance crusaders. I'd be delighted to see it in each of our sidebars.

    Denise:)

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  6. Natalie, you make some excellent points. Blogging is a time-sucker - you have to comment to receive comments - follow to get followers. But I've also learned and received many benefits from blogging: support, information, contacts.

    Facebook is quick and easy, but I don't often feel I build the same relationships.

    And I don't have a Twitter account - enough is enough!

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  7. Hi L'Aussie,

    Thanks for dropping by and I already did. I added my crusader group 20 on my right sidebar!

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  8. Hi Theresa,

    I completely agree with you. So true. But I do have a twitter as well! *hides head*

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  9. Hi Nas. Love your new romance badge. Sweet. Thx for letting me know your link wasn't up. I thought they were all good. Now I'll have to go through my list again. But I'm so glad you told me, maybe someone else is missing...:D

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  10. Hi Nas. Hi Natalie. Thanks for sharing your time and thoughts. This is an annoying subject for me. I do it all, and don't really get a kick out of it. lol Really, I am working on my website still but I love to blog 3-4 times a month at times. I Twitter off and on, not obsessively and Facebook sporadically less than I probably should.

    But my writing comes first. I don't have a problem shutting everything down internet and going into my cave to write. Especially now that I'm in my first requested full revisions. I even am known to turn off the tv to write. What can I say? I distract easily! ;)

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  11. Hi Calisa,

    As Natalie said, it's all balance! It really is a time suck.

    I fired up my laptop today to write and connected the net on my daughter's desktop PC, my poor laptop shut down all by itself because I'm too busy surfing and networking!

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  12. I like to blog and Facebook (and Twitter, for that matter) for different reasons. When I blog, it tends to be of more writerly things; Facebook is a chance for much broader conversations about all things, including the publishing world. Ditto for Twitter, although the conversations are much shorter, obviously.

    I tend to follow people who are just plain interesting to me, not necessarily just authors and publishing folk, although there are many of them too.

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  13. I had no idea how much time blogging would take up and am still finding that balance. I really appreciate the connections I've made, though and I've learned so much already. I FB as my family is scattered but,as yet,no tweeting!

    Great interview!

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  14. Hi Nas!
    You're blog is wonderful. Each time I visit I find something new! Thanks for the ad on your sidebar!

    Hi Nataile!
    Great post!
    You are spot on about writing in a cave. My first book and the revisions, took twice as long as they would have if I'd stayed away from the Internet. I am much more disciplined now. (Thanks to official deadlines.) But at the same time, I feel I'm letting my blogging buddies down. I used to be quite a blogger. Now I make the rounds a lot less frequently. This week for intstance, while I'm waiting for my editor to get back to me, I'm planning to catch up. I don't twitter. Between Facebook, blogging, and puttering around the Internet, I am at my distraction limit.

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  15. What a great interivew...There was so many ways to stay on top of stuff, each day a new site pops up. The hard part is keeping track of them all.

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  16. Great post! I agree Natalie, it's all about balance and the writing comes first. I currently blog (at a doable rate), but I haven't touched FB or Twitter yet. I know that those may become important once I'm published, but for now I just don't have the time. I love the personal connections/friendships blogging offers...however, as you say, one must be careful about not getting too 'comfortable' with what they say online. You give sage advice.

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  17. Hi Rula,

    If we get too comfortable online we might say something against someone, and what is said on the net stays on the net forever!

    Hi Savannah,

    I agree, internet is a great time-suck, but we do learn a lot as well.

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  18. Hello Wendy, Thanks so much for your lovely words.

    Hi Margo, on twitter, people usually tweet links to awesome writerly advice, competition and contests, so it actually is very helpful!

    Hi Liz, I also follow people who I find interesting on twitter....and then I have some people's tweets delivered on my mobile(which is a free service) and I don't miss some important stuff, like upcoming contests or competitions!

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  19. Great post, ladies! I love social media, but it can be difficult to find that balance. I blog, Tweet and Facebook, and sometimes it's all a bit overwhelming. I try to have one day a week just to close the lid on the laptop and 'be'.

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  20. Great post! I prefer blogger to facebook- but I like facebook too- I just use it more personally. :)

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  21. Hi Talli, I love you tweets!

    Hello Summer, but the question remains, using all these social media, when do we find time to write?

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  22. Hello Natalie, great post. Social networking is so time consuming but it’s so important for an author. So many of the author’s I read I found through social networking, so hopefully my readers will find me the same way.

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  23. Hi Angelina,

    Social Networking is so time consuming, yet so important!

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  24. Great post! I love the camaraderie that comes with hanging out with all you writers and I'm still reeling from having 200 followers on my wee blog. Coming up with interesting posts is definitely a different type of writing challenge.
    It's definitely hard to juggle all of these balls though - thankfully, my story still excites me and working on it is joy enough to pull me away from Facebook et al.
    Most of the time [g]

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  25. Hi Deniz,

    Congrats on your 200+ followers!
    Great that your story pulls you away from social media, at least you'll be able to have completed mss!

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  26. Thanks Nas! I hope to complete it in a few months...

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  27. Hello everyone! I'm sorry I haven't been in sooner - as I think you all know there's been a disaster here in New Zealand and we're very busy coping with the terrible fallout from that. In one way, however, its been an incredible example of how important social media can be - real time news/information coming through Twitter etc and also the unbelievable power of Facebook in terms of rallying and organising volunteers to help the clean-up effort in our beloved Christchurch -have you heard of the student volunteer army? Its *amazing*. So yes, do NOT underestimate the power of social media. Cool to see lots of bloggers here - I enjoy reading blogs, but struggle to find time to write much for my own... maybe one day, but they can be so awesome.

    Had to laugh Calisa - we don't have our TV plugged into the aerial - it is only used as a screen for DVDs - KILL the telly I say - that's all good writing time... for me it's movies that feed the soul - I like getting the whole story in around 2 hours and not much more ;)

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  28. Great discussion! The blogging is definitely a time sucker, but the obvious benefits, including the great support, so far make it worth it. I'm way more on top of the publishing pulse and what's out there on the shelves (or ebooks) because of blogging.

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  29. Hi Natalie,

    So sorry about the disaster in Chrischurch. But we all are glad you dropped in on us. And yes, we did see the FB organised student groups helping out. So thoughtful of them!

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  30. Hello Lydia,

    You welcome to join us in this discussion! We all are on top of new release because of the social media!

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  31. So correct on many levels. We can be trapped by it all, so balance it is.
    Nancy
    N. R. Williams, The Treasures of Carmelidrium

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  32. Hello Nancy,

    What Natalie says is so true, isn't it?

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  33. Passed you an award, fellow crusader! http://thegirdleofmelian.blogspot.com/2011/02/passing-on-awards-and-passing-on.html

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  34. Hi Nas and Natalie!
    Terrific post! I'm still working on finding the balance, Natalie. I enjoy blogging on the group blogs (like the LoveCats! :D) But I'm not sure about having my very own blog - keeping up with my website is hard enough! LOL

    I feel a bit at sea with Facebook and *completely* out of my depth with Twitter! But then I hear things like how fantastic it's been to connect people in disaster situations.

    :)
    Sharon

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  35. Thanks for the award, Deniz! I'll swing by to pick it up.

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  36. Hello Sharon,

    When the disaster struck in Chrischurch the other day, you should have seen twitter, it was bursting. Everyone was asking about Natalie and Soraya and these were people from US, UK and other countries across the globe.

    The power of the social media is awesome!

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  37. A great big THANKS to HM&B Medical Author Sharon Archer for the follow!

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  38. Hi, new follower. Great post. I prefer blogger to facebook, but I have both...and twitter.

    Lyn
    W.I.P. It: A Writer's Journey

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  39. Hi Nas and Natalie, sorry I'm a bit late to the party, but great interview and great subject. I agree that it's very easy to get lost in the world of social networking and it's important to remember that the writing's the most important thing. I try not to have the internet open when I'm writing as my eyes automatically stray to the inbox every time I pause!

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  40. Really a hot subject for the taking..As writers, its so difficult to balance our writing with social media and promoting :)

    Thanks Nas for hosting this and Natalie for sharing :)

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  41. Hi Serenity,

    You're not late to the party, but we're early!
    And yes, I agree, I'm always lost in surfing the net instead of writing!

    Hello Ju, the trick is in the balance!

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  42. What a great post about social networking. For me, it's been a game-changer. There's so much information and support out here, I'm blown away.

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  43. Hi there Julie, I 'm so glad you liked our social networking post.

    Personally for me, there are so many awesome links for crafts, contests and other good stuff on FB and twitter. SO many good things to learn.

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