My Hero’s Blog Hop post is here.
Today’s topic of the Buccaneer Blofgfest is: “Share your feelings and opinions about social media and its relation to writing and reading.” (There was an unnecessary apostrophe in the word “its,” which I had to remove to prevent my eyes from itching. That’s what happens when your mother is an English teacher and you’ve been reading since the age of three!)
I think it’s great that today there’s so much more social media than there was 10-15 years ago, in the earlier days of the Internet becoming available to laypeople. It’s so much easier to connect with friends from school, discover other writers, learn about agents’ and publishers’ preferences, and read reviews of books, films, records, and other products.
I haven’t regularly written reviews at Amazon for awhile now (real life got in the way), but I have written quite a few reviews over there, and was ranked relatively highly for a long time. I got my start as a reviewer on thewho.net, back when the site had an album reviews section. It wasn’t so much about connecting with other fans (though I did snag a copy of the bonus disc for The BBC Sessions thanks to my review of that album!), but sharing my opinions and knowledge.
I always wrote as though a complete newbie were reading it, since I was turned off by how many other reviewers wrote as though only hardcore, longtime fans were reading it. I wanted new fans to know if a certain album might be better saved for later in their fandom journey, what was most ideal for a newcomer, etc. I still write book, film, and album reviews in this way. If I’ve helped even one newcomer to one of my favorite writers, bands, or silent actors, then I’ve done a good job.
Since I took my long-deferred dream of publication off the back burner last year, I’ve been very glad for the opportunities that weren’t available when I was too briefly querying my Russian novel and The Very First in 2000-01. I’ve found out about contests, agents, other writers, all sorts of germane things. Sadly, it’s also revealed to me that historical apparently isn’t as popular as it was when I was growing up, that fat historical novels are no longer considered the norm (at least for first-time published writers), and that much of what passes for historical in modern YA isn’t the kind of YA historical I knew and loved at that age.
It’s caused me to seriously rethink pitching and querying some of my historicals with younger characters as YA, and to seriously consider e-publishing, indie publishing, or some type of self-publishing. Self-publishing has come a long way since I was considering it for Anne Terrick’s story in 1992. It’s no longer just vanity publishing, and doesn’t have to cost an arm and a leg. A lot of quality books are e-published and indie published these days.
In short, it’s nice to be able to read reviews of something before you buy it and discover it’s not your style, or complete garbage, to be able to network with other writers and agents through contests and blogs, and to find out about an agent’s preferences so you won’t waste your time querying someone completely uninterested in your genre.