Social networking: an author’s best friend or evil distraction?

Wikis, writing forums, weblogs, microblogs, Facebook, Reddit, Goodreads, LinkedIn, Google+, MySpace…the list of social networking platforms is endless.

As a self-confessed luddite, I have enough difficulty understanding what these things are let alone having a presence across all of  them. But everywhere I turn there is an agent, publisher or professional author reaffirming that it is a “necessity” for writers. Only the other day, an author was telling me (via a social media site no less) that a clause in her book contract stipulated she had Facebook, Twitter and weblog accounts.

Even though I have an author page on Facebook, I hate wading through some of the tripe that people regurgitate. Does anyone really care that their friend took a photo of their breakfast, found a video of a cute animal or rounded up twenty sheep on FarmVille?

And as for Twitter…
Even if I had a mobile phone (did I mention I was a luddite?), I’m not sure I could stomach microblogging. I have little interest in joining the denizens of Twitter-land who seem to deny the existence of punctuation, complete sentences and sometimes even real words. LOL  ; )

Oh, I long for the days when a semi-colon was a punctuation mark for linking clauses, rather than a pair of evil eyes winking at me.

As arrogant as it sounds, I blog because I’m proud of my publications and want people to read my stories. But at the same time, every time I post about my writing it feels like I’m standing on a roof top and shouting to the world ‘look at me, look at me’.

Especially in the wake of the recent cyber bullying of TV personality, Charlotte Dawson, I do worry about having a presence online. In real life, I live in a secluded valley in an undisclosed location emerging for sunshine as frequently as a sparkling vampire, but online I am everywhere for everyone and anyone to see and scrutinise.

I can see the benefit of spreading the word of publications as wide as possible, but some research suggests social media doesn’t equate to sales. I also don’t understand how people can contribute to all these social media outlets on a regular basis and still find time for their works in progress. I’ve found some articles that suggest if you use social media as much as the “experts” suggest you’d have almost no time to write.

So what are your thoughts: a necessity or distraction?

Either way, I guess I’ll continue to write pointless babble and pimp my stories.

So that was my pointless babble for the day and here is the pimping bit.
My flash fiction ‘Third time’s a charm’ is currently online at Daily Science Fiction ; )

P.S. I almost forgot the pictures of adorable animals. Well, here’s something for the 38 million people who “like” FarmVille.

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Third time’s a charm now online

I’m excited to announce my story ‘Third time’s a charm’ is now up on the Daily Science Fiction website.

http://dailysciencefiction.com/fantasy/magic-and-wizardry/melanie-rees/third-times-a-charm

Character coming to life

I’ve often heard professional authors comment on how their characters end up taking on a life of their own and end up acting autonomously, but I’ve never really believed it until now.

With my NiP (novel in progress) I really wanted to avoid cussing as I’m not one to swear in real life, but my character, Walter, won’t let me cut out the swear words.

I had a long heated argument with him the other day where he told me in no uncertain terms that I was a bloody effing muppet for trying to make him censor his language. I told him he could try punching the table or slamming his fist into the wall instead of cursing, except he yelled back at me that if he did that he’d hurt his hand and effing swear his head off. Needless to say, I didn’t win that argument and he’s been effing and shitting all over my novel ever since.

Once he started talking to me, he just wouldn’t relent and now all I hear every time I write a scene with him it in, is ‘Bloody heck, woman. Is that really what you think I’d do in that situation?’ I could just kill him off and that would shut him up and stop him cursing at me, but them my plot wouldn’t work as well

Doing happy dances!

I’ve been getting my weekly exercise with all the happy dances I’ve been doing recently.

I’ve just heard that my story ‘Third time’s a charm’ will be published next week at Daily Science Fiction. I’ll provide a link soon.

Also last week I received an acceptance for my story ‘The Dragon’ from Cosmos online. More details soon.