Welcome to another post in my Birthday Bash! Today is a guest post that our lovely Ellen Hopkins was so kind enough to take some time and write it up. I asked her about her thoughts on social networking and literature in today's world. Here is her response...
I know it probably seems like forever ago since I first stated publishing books. Truthfully, my first nonfiction book published in 2000, followed by twenty more nonfiction books for middle grade readers within a four-year time frame. My first novel, Crank, published in October 2004. Myspace was the social networking site at the time, still on an upswing. Very early in my fiction career, I began to realize the power of Internet self-promotion.
Blogging, likewise, was just starting to catch on, so I surfed the early wave, which was more about personal blogs and less about reviews. The value of reaching wide segments of the population was never in question. But exactly how it could be utilized to build-or level- careers, well, that is a trend I've witnessed with something approaching awe. And look how far all that social networking has brought us in the last few years.
I'm not sure exactly how book blogging got started, or who started it. I do know that fairly early on, a blogger or two found my books and began discussing them. I believe the earliest were BookChic and teensreadtoo. Luckily, they liked them. Luckily, they liked me. I've always made a point to respond to emails, messages, friend requests, etc., and I appreciated the way those earlier reviewers helped my career forward. Then, yay, this trend caught on. Took off. Blossomed into what it has become today. Bloggers began talking about books. To their readers, and among themselves, and that meant opening the discussions to even-wider audiences.
As social networking boomed, so did blogging. From MySpace to Facebook to Twitter and beyond, bloggers talked about books. Some grew large numbers of followers. Some remained fairly small. But, either way, it was also a boom for books, many of which might have remained in relative obscurity. Instead, people saw their covers. They read reviews. They found new favorite authors, and heard about upcoming titles from their long-time faves. Win-win-win.
Well, mostly, anyway. The reviews weren't always good. And sometimes that led to rather rancorous discussions, especially if an author got his/her back up and reacted in an unprofessional way. I mean, not every book is great. Reviews reflect that, and authors do need to learn a certain amount of humility. Defending your book might be human nature. Calling bloggers ugly names or telling them they wouldn't know a great book if it hit them in the face is never a good plan. Word gets around. After all, it is a network.
Overall, bloggers are an amazing resource. God bless 'em, they read hundreds of books every year just because they love what books are, and what they can do for their readers. On the traditional side, bloggers extend legacy publishing's outreach. On the self-pubbed side, bloggers have truly made careers. And yes, they've probably leveled a few, maybe deserved, maybe not. But that is the nature of publishing.
So, thank you, bloggers, for reminding us of the value of books. Thanks for what you do.
And I want to thank you Ellen for taking time away from your busy schedule and putting up with me. You truly are an amazing person and embody what all authors should be like. Thank you not only for this but for writing the books and for doing everything that you do.
To get to know this awesome, epic, coolio lady, check out her website http://www.ellenhopkins.com/
Send her a tweet @EllenHopkinsYA
And check out her facebook; Ellen Hopkins's Very Own Fan Page
Check back in half an hour where I'll give away one of her books (you'll see which one) for free!
Check out all the posts from the beginning;
The Subtle Chronicler's Birthday Post
The Subtle Chronicler's Giveaway