Complicated, isn’t it?
In the good old days a writer wrote books, and if someone liked them, he or she might write a letter on a card or a piece of paper and post it off to the publisher, who would then post all the bits of paper on to the author to read and reply.
So a very successful author might need an assistant or a secretary to handle the correspondence and perhaps do a bit of research. They might have a few letters to sign at the end of a day’s writing – letters nicely typed for them. With a carbon paper duplicate for filing. If they weren’t Agatha Christie or someone of that level of stardom, they might even write their own thank you letters, perhaps even by hand.
I suppose some fabulously wealthy authors do have secretaries or PAs or even researchers – I remember Lynda La Plante saying at the Melbourne Writers’ Festival last year ‘My people see to that sort of thing,’ with a wave of one be-ringed hand.
But everyone else does it themselves, especially in Australia and New Zealand with our relatively small markets, and nowadays it’s almost a full time job. There’s all the usual guff involved in running what is, essentially, a small business. I fit that stuff in at nights and the weekends.
And then there’s talking to the world. No longer the bunch of envelopes. Now it’s a constant whirl – you have to have a networked presence, and you have to maintain it, even if it means being witty at 7.30am or checking your emails at 10pm.
You know me. I’m bloody everywhere. I love the web and I love finding interesting information and spreading it around. So in spite of being a complete introvert who would happily never speak to anyone ever in real life, there I am on all the online networks, writing several blogs and just enjoying the medium. And the community. And then I do it all again for my day job, and for a few community groups, and as a civilian – on facebook with my friends and family, for example. Juggling my different profiles and personae keeps me on my toes. But that’s life. Agatha Christie would have hated it.
I use Hootsuite to manage social media, which allows you to post from several different accounts in the one spot and also to schedule tweets so you can find stuff to share when you have time, but publish it later. At work, for a different set of profiles and platforms, I use Tweetdeck. I also like to use Tweetchat for specific chats (I drop by #PhDchat, for example, and #YAlitchat on Thursday mornings my time).
So here’s where you’ll find me:
I particularly like using Twitter and now Pinterest for gathering historical info and story ideas and sharing them. I’ve recently started using Pinterest to gather resources and images for works in progress – it’s like a virtual pinboard. Usually, I’d just bookmark such things, but now I can share them with you.
But be warned. Pinterest especially is horribly addictive. And I have the lost weekend to prove it. Or at least I would. If it wasn’t lost.