Hey, all. @gerryboyle here. I was advised that before publication of my next book I need to have “a more robust presence on Facebook and Twitter.” Okay, I said. Not a problem.
Writers everywhere know the feeling. Our craft requires solitude, privacy, contemplation. Economic survival in today’s book world demands that we be out there on public display like B-list celebs.
Now, it’s not that I don’t have a Facebook presence. I’m right here, reporting on my latest doings, sharing pix from my iPhone. Did you see my shot of the muskrats on the lake? How ’bout the finches on the birdfeeder outside my study window? Man, I really expected that one to go viral.
Twitter, too. You can follow me at gerryboyle. I Tweeted three times today: a story from The New Yorker about a pickpocket, an observation about the ironworkers I saw hanging steel in below zero weather, and the third, uh, I’d have to look it up.
Hey, who do I look like? Justin Bieber?
Well, no, but that doesn’t mean I’m not ready. In fact, I was at a Christmas party the other night and I was talking to a young guy about this whole subject. He had his iPhone in his hand, a beer in the other. I explained my new mission and he said he followed a big-time writer. He named the guy, said he had 50,000 followers.
“Shazam,” I said. “What does he Tweet about?”
“Anything and everything. Politics. The weather. Anything that comes to mind.”
Anything that comes to mind. That’s a little broad. I need some parameters, as in, what do people want to know?
So here I am, going right to the source. What is it that a writer can say that isn’t in his or her books? Never mind that many of us are very private people. I can suck it up, open the curtain a bit. What is it that people want to know? Why should anyone care?
My thoughts on my pets? Don’t go outside much these days. Favorite books? finished a good Van Gogh bio. Kinda depressing. The weather? Need more snow for snowshoeing. Travel plans? Headed for St. Augustine in a few weeks. Nice old town. Politics? If there was a real fiscal cliff I would’ve jumped off it weeks ago. My books? Writing some fun stuff these days. More soon.
So I’m putting it to you, and I’ll bet I’m talking for a lot of writers who are in the same boat, who remember when they had a publicist in New York who sent out black and white headshots and press releases on actual paper. I’m not kidding. I remember a publicist at Putnam who said to me, “You guys write your books. It’s not like I can do much more. I mean, what else is there to say?” Or words to that effect.
But I’m ready to elbow my way into your news feed. I really am. Just give me a hint. If you don’t, I’ll start Tweeting my next book, 140 characters at a time:
He bought the wicking online from a candle supply shop in Texas, calling the people up first to ask which type of wick burned hottest.
Now that I can do.
PS I’ll Follow you back, my Facebook friend.