Kootenai River in NW Montana, near Canadian Border

Kootenai River in NW Montana, near Canadian Border
photo by Gene Tunick of Eureka, Montana

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Tip O'Day #416 - Hello, Lurkers!

Guest blogger Lucy Pireel rants about online forums for authors.

When Dixon asked me whether I would like to supply him with a guest post for his blog, I jumped at the opportunity — like I always do. Head first and oblivious to the existence of shallow, shark infested waters. But that’s me.

Anyway, I had a nice topic to ramble on about — where to get new ideas — but got distracted. By? Yup, the evil Book of Faces. It has me in its clutches and won’t let go. Mind you, I’ve liked being on there ever since I signed up rather reluctantly. It’s a major distraction, but also a source of great fun and a wonderful means of reaching out to people. We get to ‘meet’ individuals we would have never known without Facebook.

I thought it would be useless to me, but to be honest I’ve learned quite a bit about self-publishing and marketing during the mere month since being suckered in. Hahaha. But there’s a balance to be kept, because before you know it — Poof! — there went another day that could, no should, have been spent on writing, editing, or other writerly habits.

So, there you have the topic of today. Facebook. Let’s take a long hard look at it. Fun? Yes! Useful? Yes, and… Oh, well, yes. Even if I sometimes think the authors gathered there are mainly promoting our works to one another, I still honestly believe that there must be other people watching and reading too. People who lurk in the shadows and think, because they do not write, they have no right being part of an authors group.

How wrong they are. There are heaps of readers too. Readers who love to connect with writers. Take for example the Book Junkies group, a gang of readers who not only love books, but are also dedicated to helping writers get their names and works more exposure throughout the online universe. Book Junkies members think ‘outside the box’ and have set up not only their group, but also a site to promote authors, and a site to promote books by posting reviews. They offer a complete platform for writers.

And there are many other similar groups.

Not only are there promotional groups, but recently a new group called Authors Against Piracy has been formed. Now we not only unite in the search for an audience, but we’ve started the effort to protect our intellectual property against thieves. Much like the music industry struggles to protect itself, we ought to do the same. Digital books need the same kind of protection that recorded music has. And I don’t mean that lousy excuse they call DRM, because any second grade digital thief can take that off any file in a jiffy, ruining a beautifully formatted book while at it. Leaving the ripped off copy a mucked up mess.

So Facebook and other online forums offer an opportunity for authors to network and create friendships all over the globe. We get to learn more about the craft of writing, about the publishing business, and about our legal rights. We have the chance to discover what readers are looking for, and how they choose which books to purchase. For those of us in rural or isolated locales, we have the opportunity to create a writing platform.

And the lurkers get plenty of places to hang out.

1 comment:

  1. I'm going to join Authors Against Piracy. I've been hit and have taken action (so far, success) but it hurts when you hear (especially young) people say, 'It's out there; I'm entitled to take it.' If ideas were never protected this civilisation would have got nowhere.