Friday, February 15, 2008

NET WORK IT, BABY By Robert W. Walker

When we’re at a party or a book event or writers conference, we network. It’s how we interface with other authors, agents, critics (uggg!), publishers, librarians, and fans of fiction. So why not do exactly the same online? Why not organize “murder parties” and book events like electronic tours, blogs like ACME here, join Myspace and “MyAsylum”—okay, just kidding as am not sure there is such a place beyond my own place. But the question remains, how much are you missing by not being a member of a chat group as intimate or as large as you want it to be?

There appears to be a group on alone for any and every interest and taste. I belong to which has some 3219 avid readers, writers, librarians, and a few jerks like myself. We discuss a wide variety of topics related to books, and I get to sound off sometimes on issues close to my heart like literacy! Another group I belong to is quite small and are mainly a bunch of friends.

There is a connection to be made with the major organizations from Mystery Writers of America to Sisters in Crime to Horror Writers of America, Romance Writers of America, Science Fiction Writers of America, and Western Writers of America to name but a handful. These are all extremely supportive groups, and the loneliness of the long distance runner is nothing compared to the loneliness of the long distance writer.

The disease needs a support group, whether you believe it or not. There are times, many times, in a writing career when having some one(s) to talk to and rant with might just keep a writer writing. Another wonderful group I belong to is where we exchange ideas for promotion and event marketing. A wonderful support team this, as are individual book publishing groups which, if you are fortunate enough to be published by have created sites where all the authors of say Echelon Press or Five Star Publishing can share recipes for writing but also recipes for success and marketing tips. Out of all of these come friendships, real, true bonding experiences.

At Love is Murder this year, at Malice Domestic, at Charlottesville, Virginia’s BookFest and other gatherings, I meet my online associates and friends in this field, and often I meet fans who’ve actually gushed over my books online or have been kind in their online reviews.

Bottom line is I have made some of my most important contacts right here online. I started the ball rolling on getting reviewed in the Chicago Tribune via contact made on DorothyL, and the resullt has been two great reviews in that paper. It began with writing to a member offline.

I have gotten other great contacts as a result of being on MurderMustAdvertise, not to mention the many wonderful ideas for marketing here. Then to meet "folks" at conferences like my Acme Authors crowd, DLers, yous guys reading this, and others at conferences, well it just stands to reason that this is the way to go for the method which I am continually being told is the world’s best advertising for books: WORD of MOUTH. Fact is, recent studies say this is true. Social networking, as I understand it, promotes word of mouth, so I am there, man! As you may oughta be. But it does take a huge amount of time investment, and you gotta sometimes just stop it so you can write the next damn book. Which is what I am not doing now but am doing now.

In fact, as my panel at LIM with Carolyn Haines, Alex Matthews, Carl Brookins, and Mary Welk suggests in its title, I am juggling several projects at the moment. So bye-bye all.


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