My natural instinct is to be like one of the Grimm Brothers’ elves tiptoeing into the shoemaker’s shop in the middle of the night and leaving him a newly-written book, rather than a pair of boots, to sell the next day. But increasingly writers are being expected to be more visible, engage with readers and market their own stories, particularly with the advent of social media.
I feel conficting emotions about being in the public eye. Using Facebook, Twitter and blogging about my experiences is new to me and somewhat scary as is the notion of becoming a brand, a character, myself. Yet the idea of being able to hear what children think of St Viper’s School for Super Villains is very exciting.
In a recent article, the New York Times asked authors about their experiences using Twitter. Salman Rushdie said, “It allows one to be playful, to get a sense of what is on a lot of people’s minds at any given moment,” while Mat Johnson found that social media enabled him to connect with current and potential readers without a big marketing budget. Most of the writers interviewed said they enjoyed interacting with the people who read their books. Perhaps, some time soon, we’ll see a clip of the elves demonstrating how they make their shoes on YouTube.
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