I spent the better part of my formative years hiding in my mother’s shadow because I suffered from a severe case of shyness. I was so quiet, in fact, that I could be in the same room with a person for half an hour before they’d even realize I was there. Not a joke. It happened. More than once. I was kind of like Mia from the Princess Diaries, sort of invisible in my shyness, though no one actually sat on me. Fortunately. Suffice it to say that I wasn’t the sort to just go out and get what I wanted, especially not if I had to ask for it. Opening my mouth and asking for a favor? Impossible!
It took me years to grow out of this shyness and evolve into the person I am now, but I still feel some residual timidity when I have to go out and ask for something. This can be a debilitating flaw when trying to convince someone to purchase your book, more so if you are a new author just starting out. How do you convince perfect strangers to take a chance on you and buy your book?
Enter the Internet and social networking, a godsend for the shy writer. When I first realized that I would need to do much of my own promotion for my book, I was at a loss. Promotion – what was that? So I went to the Internet and started researching. One thought was uppermost in my mind: What were other authors doing to promote themselves and their books? The simple answer was networking. They were putting their names out there, plugging their books on various sites, giving readers a taste of the content in the hope that they would buy the book. So I followed suit.
In this age of technology and digital content, I think it’s essential for authors to cultivate a web presence. In my experience, from the early days of research to the present ones filled with interviews and blog spots, I have discovered that, not only can you reach more people at the stroke of a key than that of a pen at a book signing, but that the Internet is eternal. This article may debut today, but it is feasible that it will come up in someone’s Internet search years from now. And when it does, it will enjoy a certain rebirth, if you will. Not only will it enjoy longevity, it will also travel to distant places that I may never see in my lifetime, reaching people that I will never meet. It is amazing to think that, somewhere in Africa or Russia or Europe, someone will read this post because the Internet brought it to them and that I could converse with them at a keystroke, thus shrinking our world from this vast sphere to a friendlier social network. And who knows? Maybe, as a result of this connection, my book will make it to those corners of the earth that are otherwise inaccessible to me.
Social networking is an astounding tool that can bring with it great rewards. And even shy people like I was can find freedom to express themselves without having to open their mouths. They are just a keystroke away from connecting with like-minded people around the world. So I ask you, how social are you?
Margay Leah Justice is the author of Nora’s Soul, available at Amazon.com. You can find out more about her and her book at her website: http://margayleahjustice.com