Sunday, August 26, 2012

Lessons from my first week

This new social network of mine is about a week old now, and I've learned more in a week than I have since... well maybe ever. Just when I feel like I'm getting a little handle on it, something hilarious or humbling comes along and reminds me that I'm still getting my sea legs. But the good news: it seems like 99.9% of writers/publishers/readers/professionals who are spinning this invisible web of information and camaraderie are NICE. Like, really nice. Southern hospitality nice. It's an industry that seems to want only the best for its contributors. Neat.

As I've toured (okay, stalked) a dozen or so writer blogs this week, I've been struck by the dialogue that occurs between an author and his/her readers. I can't wait for my book to come out so that part can begin. I am also inspired by how much of their souls these writers and readers bare. C.J. Redwine wrote a blogpost about a book called "Speak," and then spoke very candidly about the sexual abuse she suffered at the hands of a relative. Readers were set free by her confession, pouring their hearts out in their comments about their own experiences. It brought me to tears. Not only have I picked up tips for writing and marketing, I'm learning how to be a better person. That's amazing.

Of course, I'm also learning the value of triple checking my work. It's so easy to hit the "publish" button or send a tweet out into the stratosphere, but when all of your pages are connected, one glaring error then becomes five glaring errors. Oops.

And then there's the value of key words. My first two posts got hundreds of views in just a couple of days and I thought: WOW, I must be doing something right. Then I checked my stats page and saw a link to the top contributing website, clicked on it, and then closed my internet explorer as fast as humanly possible: I came face to face with more anatomy than I have ever seen. "How has this happened?" I gasped with horror. "Have I been hacked?" Nope. But I did use the words "sexy" and "half-dressed" in my second blog post. And the view counter lit up like Las Vegas. Of course there's a good chance the same thing might happen again since the words are making an encore appearance in this post.

Who knows what the next seven days have in store for me...

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