Those of you who caught my little show with Russ Marshalek at the Spring Book Show: go look at Eugie Foster’s new Facebook group. For the rest of you, the catch-me-up: more than anything else, we talked about the fact that the Book World of Today is not a place in which writers can afford to just sit in the garret of their choice and write, waiting for the reading public to beat a path to their door. We talked, in particular, about:
* using social networking, not as a way of dropping publicity-bombs but as a way of reaching out to your audience and community;
* becoming a real part of the community: making contributions to the ongoing collaborations and dialogue among publishers, audiences, writers, the press, and booksellers
Eugie is the exemplar of the sort of work in the community I’ve been trying to encourage aspiring and newly-pro writers to do. Eugie is very, very talented and has been working in the field for a long time–the first time I read her work was in the Critters workshop, about a hundred years ago (well, maybe not *quite* that long ago) –and she has been polishing her craft to within an inch of its life for at least that long. She serves the community tirelessly, giving countless hours to organizations like Dragon*Con. And she gives the sense that she does these things not out of a sense of obligation, but for the joy of being a part of it.
People always ask how to publicize a book; as Russ noted last weekend, there’s no single right answer, because every book is different. Every author is different, too: I am not trying to suggest that every writer should go out and do all the things Eugie does (though polishing your craft can’t hurt). I am suggesting that it’s worth paying attention to what people like Eugie do: enrich their own lives and become active participants in their communities by figuring out how to turn their particular talents and passions into productive ways to serve, and thus find the community predisposed to receive their written work well.
Writers are natural-born introverts; but becoming a part of the bookish community is not just good business: it’s an opportunity to find like-minded people. What do you enjoy doing that could make Book World a better place?