Thursday, June 25, 2009

e-connecting with the world

I’ve never considered myself slow to adapt to technology, but with the speed of e-evolution it’s admittedly difficult, at times, to keep up with the latest wave. As an author, I aim to keep connected to readers and industry news and discussions, but things change so quickly, a writer really has to be on her toes.

When my first book, The Profiler, was released in 2005 this wasn’t so hard. At the time – and it seems so archaic now – most of my online socializing comprised of emails, posting in online community discussions, and occasionally being a part of a chatroom discussion or IM. Now, 2005 wasn’t that long ago and using those mediums to communicate with readers and editors was a very valuable resource. Undoubtedly I met and established relationships with several great people. The times, though, they are a changing.

Since my first book debuted, there has been an avalanche of social networks that have debuted and succeeded (some more so than others) and changed the way authors interact online. Facebook opened its doors to the public sphere in 2006 and gradually authors gravitated toward that phenomenon. Now, though, a writer can interact with others through networks such as myspace, twitter, personal and industry blogs, you name it. There are a great many social networks out there and an author really has to pick and choose to truly make a connection. Otherwise, it can be overwhelming to try to keep up with absolutely everything, all the time.

The other day I mentioned a blog post I read by author Allison Winn Scotch, who argued all the right reasons why a writer should use twitter. That was barely more than a week ago but since then I have become convinced. Over and over I hear from authors, agents, editors, and readers how great twitter is and how valuable it is to them in staying connected. After following a few tweets, as they say, I finally caved. I now have a twitter account and, my goodness, it’s brilliant.

It’s super user friendly, not time consuming (unless you want it to be), and it’s a lightning fast way to keep abreast of what’s happening in the world of books. Of course, people use twitter to chat about any number of topics but I have set myself limits to focus on book discussions, primarily. Each day, I am greeted with a number of industry news, book releases, author event announcements, and so forth and I am thus far finding it quite useful. I’ll keep you posted. Feel free to find me on twitter @ loriamay.

In addition to blogging and twittering, I try to post on online discussions about books and publishing news. Also, I’ve joined reader discussions on and also have a shelf over at shelfari. This allows me to keep in tune with what others are reading while talking about books and authors I love to read. These groups are a great way to learn about new titles and hot trends, and –most importantly – it’s a great way to meet and interact with others who have similar tastes.

Now, all of this is 100% more than I used to do online, going back to The Profiler days. But times change. Technology changes. And if I can’t keep up with where people meet to talk about books, I risk falling behind. It’s important for an author to have a connection with others. It doesn’t have to be a full-time commitment, but one should dress up and go to the party from time to time.

For this blog, I’m hoping to include some additional perks I hope you’ll enjoy. Occasionally, I will provide an interview with an author, agent, or other booklover. I hope that will be a nice complement to the reviews and other news I share on here. If you know of any authors, agents, editors, booksellers, or other interested parties, send them my way so we can chat about setting up a blog interview date.

By the way, this week I updated my website with new content: past interviews with authors such as Melissa Senate, Cathy Yardley, and Suzanne North. More white space was added to improve readability and I’ve increased the overall content. Check it out and let me know what you think. I’d love to hear your comments and suggestions.

Also, I just sent out the quarterly newsletter. If you haven't yet subscribed, check the most recent one here and sign-up today for occasional e-blast.

I’m signing off with a new contest! In September I’ll be giving away a signed copy of one of my books to a randomly selected “follower” of this blog. Follow this blog by clicking on the link in the right-hand panel and you could be the lucky winner!

Don't forget to let me know how you, as an author or reader, like to stay connected online.


  1. Hi Lori,

    I agree with you about twitter, it's chock full of writing info. I can't believe the online friends and connections I've made so quickly. It makes writing at home alone not so lonely.

    I'm still experimenting with how to use Facebook to connect with writers. I recently created a Fiction City "fan" page to be my professional profile, so I can keep silly photos and notes about weekend plans private just with close friends. I don't think I've got it quite figured out, and would love to know how you and other writers use Facebook to connect. Do you just friend everyone or has anyone managed to keep personal and work life separate on Facebook?

    Love the blog!

  2. Hi Lisa, thanks for stopping in. Love your twitter posts @FictionCity, by the way.

    We agree twitter is awesome and so user friendly. And while I occasionally visit other profiles and fan pages on Facebook and MySpace, I don’t have an account for myself. I think for those who have them built up, they are great resources. The links I provided in my post are examples of authors who make them work. Laura Caldwell has a great FB page here: and Sarah Mlynowski has a great MySpace page here: Both authors rock by the way!

    For me, I have to limit how much online socialization I do and for now I think I have adequate presence with the website, blog, twitter, and random book club appearances. As much as I’d love to use FB, it seems a little more time consuming and with a few wips on the go and a new book coming out… time is precious. However, in time I may find my way over there.

    To answer your question, based on my experience, it’s up to you to control how personal you get or if you keep things strictly business. Your fans may post more personal comments and links, but they’re your fans and you want them there! So, it just means finding balance somehow. Best of luck with the FB page!

    Thanks again for stopping by. You’ve got a great blog, too!

  3. Lori - Great to meet you! Thanks for your kind comments on my "Voice" blog post. Sending smiles ... so glad you are on Twitter! Let you voice be heard! @authenticstyle


  4. Hi Lori, It took me a while to figure out how to use Twitter effectively, but now that I know, it's great. I basically use it to be an information feeder to me on all things literary. So I don't really interact much with people on there, but it acts as a kind of filter for me, if that makes sense.

  5. Hi Frank,

    Thanks for coming by. That absolutely makes sense. Twitter is amazing for receiving little blasts of publishing/literary news, often with links. I find it’s like my own personalized search engine – without the searching. I love that the news comes right to me based on what I decide to follow.

    I think you’ve figured out how to make twitter work for you!

  6. Yep, you too, I see. Guess we're Twitterized now!

  7. Thanks for the insight Lori. I checked out Laura Caldwell's FB page. Great page, and she's in my hood in Chicago!

  8. I've been on facebook since January of 2008 when Sirenland Writers Conference encouraged us to join. It's a great way of keeping in touch with people I met during the conference. Also a great way to keep up with friends.

    I joined Networked Blogs through Facebook too, which is a great way to let friends on facebook know a new post is up.

    I just recently started tweeting and at first it felt very sterile as opposed to facebook. And You have to exert a lot more effort with twitter to stay up to date. You don't get an email when someone has tweeted to or about you.

    I do agree that with time and effort twitter has become an invaluable resource for articles on writing. You almost have to read it like a circular feed--going back until you pick up where you last left off.

    I've enjoyed reading your blogposts, and btw I found your blog through She Writes!

  9. Hi Cynthia, thanks for stopping by!

    You seem to have found some great uses for facebook and made it work for you. That’s great.

    I do exactly what you mention, regarding twitter. I find where I last left off and then catch up from there. And, no, while there’s no email to alert me to when I have been commented on, I do like the @ feature on the side panel where you can click to see where you were mentioned. I find that works and I check that daily to see if I have been RT’d or linked to. So far that seems to work, unless someone mentions my website url and not my twitter name. Then I have no clue!

    Thanks again for stopping in. I’m glad you enjoy the blog! Next Monday I am blogging about, so hopefully you come back for that.

    Happy writing!