“Social media is not just an activity; it is an investment of valuable time and resources. Surround yourself with people who not just support you and stay with you, but inform your thinking about ways to WOW your online presence”—-Sean Gardner
In continuation to our interactive series with Author Kiran Manral, here is the third article wherein she tells us what it is to be an ‘Author in the Digital World’. It is a very relevant issue in today’s times because our focus has become as short-lived as the next tweet on our timeline but at the same time its so handy to reach out to people in all corners of the world. Let us read to know how can an author make the best of this digital power.
Things have changed a fair bit since the day when authors locked themselves up in a cave or an attic or a remote cabin at the edge of the woods or the tool shed at the bottom of the garden and bashed away at their typewriters to produce their books. Today, with social media out there and the temptation of being able to reach out to as many readers as possible through social, most authors would take advantage of its reach, and rightfully so.
The world today is just a mouse click away, books are available online, so are downloads available on hand held reading devices. For an author this has been, like the venerable Charles Dickens put it, the best of times and the worst of times.
The best, because an author can now not only self publish if he or she chooses to, reach out to readers through the unlimited reach of social media, through posts on blogs about the book or the writing process, through twitter by reaching out through readers with promos and contests to get them to take notice of the book, and via Facebook, where an author can respond to queries and comments from readers. There an immediacy of reaching out and interacting with readers that is precious to an author. There is also the flip side of social media and the digital world. There is a need to be out there and be seen or heard, either physically or through social media. For authors, most of whom are reticent people (which is probably also why most of them became writers in the first place) this can be rather draining. Also there are a lot more books being published these days. Which is a wonderful thing and a scary proposition as well, as there is a lot more to choose from for the reader.
As an author in this digital world, I say embrace what you are comfortable with. I am comfortable on twitter, on blogs. I use those to reach out to my readers. I know that digital can reach where I physically cannot, and am thankful for that. But I also know, and bow to, that no matter what your reach on the digital medium, no matter what the marketing you do, the best outreach and marketing you could hope for is still goodwill and word of mouth. And that is non digital.
Kiran Manral has worked as a journalist with The Asian Age and The Times of India before she quit full time work to be a full time mommy. One of the leading bloggers in India, her debut novel, The Reluctant Detective, was published by Westland in 2012 and her second novel Once Upon A Crush, was published by Leadstart in May 2014. She has three books due for release in 2015, the first of these being All Aboard! from Penguin Random House. She is on the planning board of the Kumaon Literary Festival, an advisor on the Board of Literature Studio, Delhi, an Author Mentor at sheroes.in and a columnist at iDiva.com. She currently blogs at www.kiranmanral.wordpress.com and is on twitter @kiranmanral.