In our second guest post (and your second chance to score some points to win that sweet prize pack!), we’re welcoming Lisa and Laura Roecker, who are commonly referred to around the internets as LiLa! (I feel the need to use jazz-hands hands when I say that: LiLa)
The Roecker girls are known for their snarky take on authorhood (to which they’ve joined the ranks with their upcoming release: LIAR SOCIETY), celebrity, and parenting. And they do it with the absolute right amount of self-deprecation and tongue-in-cheek good humor.
Let me just break that down for you: These. Ladies. Rock!
So, on your feet, people, as we welcome LiLa!!! *jazz-hands and rainbow sparkles*
How to Make Friends and (hopefully) NOT Alienate People On-Line (by LiLa)
A couple of years ago we decided to start writing books together. You know, to keep life interesting. The very first thing we did (after copious amounts of online research and cyberstalking) was start a blog. We figured every writer needed a blog. Plus we were absolutely, positively sure that our book would be selling at auction within a month or two, so we really needed to develop some kind of on-line presence.
That was the sound of the publishing industry laughing in our faces. Turns out our manuscript sucked, so instead of a million dollar book deal, we ended up with (what felt like) a million rejections.
But it turns out the blog was actually a good idea. Sure, no one commented on the thing except for our mom and our other sister, but writing random posts on a daily basis really helped us create a voice. And eventually we started connecting with other writers who actually knew what they were doing. And then a year later, we sold a book. Without the blog there almost certainly wouldn't be a book and here's why:
1. The blog holds you accountable. Sure we could have given up writing after the endless rejections, but then what the hell would we say on the blog? How could we admit to all of our amazing readers (all five of them) that we'd given up? So we kept writing. What choice did we have?
2. You usually end up meeting people who are smarter than you. This guy I used to work with always told me that the secret to success is surrounding yourself with people who are smarter than you are. He was kind of a douche, but he was SO right. A lot of really amazing writers blog and usually if you comment on their blogs, they'll stop by and comment on yours. Pretty soon you're friends and if you're really lucky your new, crazy smart writer friend offers to read your manuscript or critique your query or whatever. We have met all of our genius beta readers via our blog and I can say with 100% certainty that we would never have gotten an agent or book deal without them.
3. Your blog helps you develop that all-important, ever elusive voice. A lot of agents were worried about our voice being inconsistent in our first doomed manuscript. We wrote together, but we hadn't developed a unified voice. Enter the blog. Posting our random thoughts on a daily basis helped us develop a unified voice. When we eventually started querying our second manuscript, agents were shocked that two people had written the book. Success!
4. It's easy to be a social butterfly on the interwebs. Commenting on blogs is easy. Replying to someone on Twitter is fun. And you can learn a lot from writers, agents and editors by simply making an effort to connect with them. The key is not to be afraid or intimidated by the publishing peeps who dominate the blogosphere. It took us a LONG time to learn that lesson which is probably why we averaged 0 comments on our blog posts for the first year or so. But once we stopped being the on-line equivalent of wall flowers, we met a TON of really cool people.
5. Rejections don't sting quite as much when someone comments on your blog. This sounds random, but it's totally true. Publishing is a tough business and we had (er...have) A LOT of really tough days. It's amazing how a fun comment from a new blog reader or a nice tweet from a fellow writer can make it all better. Okay, fine, maybe it doesn't make it ALL better, but it really does help. Blogs and Twitter provide writers with a way to "publish" their thoughts and get instant feedback from friends and peers. With all the waiting and e-mail refreshing we do it's really nice to get a little positive reinforcement every once in a while.
So, fellow writers and friends, don't be afraid to dive head first into social networking. The water might be a little cold in the beginning, but we promise you'll warm up in no time at all. Plus all the dicking around on the internet really DOES make you a better writer. At least that's what we keep telling ourselves...
Another great guest post, and now it’s your turn! Leave a comment (that’s all you have to do!) and you’ll be entered to win a bunch of really cool stuff (including an ARC of FIRELIGHT!).