In the world we live in today, authors have to be more than just writers.
Readers want to have more than just a name on a book spine. They want to know more about the person behind the writing. It’s illustrative of our culture today. As consumer, readers and viewers, we have access to everything, to everyone. Even the most elite film stars can’t hide behind billboards anymore – they are papped in the streets, stories told to tabloids about them, and given their say on Twitter.
But consumer-interest isn’t just reserved for film and TV stars any more. Readers want to know about authors, and the paragraph at the back of the book just doesn’t go dig deep enough! Readers not only want to know about the author behind the books, they want to communicate with them. And increasing numbers of top authors are bowing to the demand, there are a number of prolific authors who are very candid with their readers. For example –
Neil Gaiman is an avid tweeter, and a keeps a regularly updated blog.
Lauren Kate keeps over 13,000 fans updated on her book tours over Twitter, and a regular and very personal blog with personal photos, annecdotes, and interestingly open polls for tour destinations.
Twitter and blogs are also an increasingly popular way for upcoming authors to advertise their work. A number of novice authors, self-published authors, and those who have just signed contracts with publishers use social media to make names for themselves, forge fan-bases, and advertise their new work.
Finally there’s the third tier of authors – the almost-there crew, much like myself – who are represented, but don’t have book deals yet. Here I think social media becomes a bit of an experiment. You don’t have anything concrete to advertise, but social media instead provides a forum for discussion, self-growth, and the opportunity to trial your work on complete strangers.
Interestingly, the only authors who seem to be shying away from providing the ‘full author package’ are those at the very very top. Those, whose name alone sells.
John Grisham steers clear of both Twitter and blogging, and Stephen King last posted on his blog in 2009.
Whilst ‘Queen Rowling’ as she’s been called this week DOES have an official Twitter account, 4 of the only 6 messages she’s ever tweeted are variations of the same statement – ‘This is the real me, but you won’t be hearing from me often I’m afraid, as pen and paper are my priority at the moment.’
Also Twilight’s Stephenie Meyer has over 50,000 followers on Twitter, but has only ever tweeted twice!