MySpace Addict

Well…I’m more a convert (yeah, I know I’m in denial).  Last February my publisher hinted strongly that I should get a MySpace page – it felt the same as if she told me to go live in Tibet.  I had no idea what MySpace was, let alone have the time to put together a page and maintain it.  But the publisher was going to advertise the trade paperback release of my book, Poison Study on MySpace and run a text messaging campaign and sweepstakes, and I wanted to support that effort.  Plus, since I just sold two young adult novels, I thought having a presence on MySpace would be a good thing.

I contacted my web guy and asked him to put a page together for me.  Those who are web savvy can now laugh at me. I’ll wait……..  Of course, now I know how easy it is, but at first, I just didn’t speak the language.  Kudos to my web guy, who is also horror novelist John Passarella for his patience in explaining just what “friending” is and how to insert graphics into my comments. (and NO – I’m not the murder victim, Mariah B. Schneider in his latest novel – Really…except for the curly hair, height, weight, place of residence, and age – we have nothing in common. So there!). 

Once my page was ready, the friend requests came…er…limping in.  I thanked them all for the invite and put comments on their page.  I mentioned my new page in my monthly e-newsletter to my readers and then the deluge began.  Suddenly I was spending lots of time communicating via MySpace.  I was thrilled when I reached 50 friends, and did a fan-gush/squeal when Joss Whedon added me to his friends! (although no word on my proposal – about turning my books into a television series – sheez not THAT kind of proposal). 

Nine months and 800 friends later, I’ve learned a few things.  

First – MySpace is fun.  I enjoy going to my friends and readers sites and seeing what we have in common.   

Second – MySpace can be a huge time suck.  Visiting sites, writing comments and being part of groups can use up a lot of time I should be writing.  I’ve learned to limit my MySpace time to 30 minutes each day – enough to thank my new friends and to respond to messages.   

Third – MySpace isn’t just for teenagers.  There are many people over the age of 25 who have MySpace pages. 

Fourth – MySpace is GREAT for making contacts.  I’ve friended other authors – who have been willing to share advice and ideas.  I’ve swapped books and guest blogs with many of them.  I also friended reviewers, librarians and book store workers.  With reviewers, I offer review copies of my books, for librarians, I offer book discussion questions for their book discussion groups, and if I know my friend works in a book store, I offer to send him/her a package of bookmarks, postcards and book plates for my books in their store.  

Fifth – MySpace is cheap marketing.  See number 4 about making contacts, but also, by using the bulletins, I can get the word out to 800+ people when I have a new book release.  By mentioning my free email newsletter and having a sign-up form on my page, I now have over 2000 subscribers to my newsletter and get about 40 new subscribers every week. 

Sixth – MySpace makes it easy for me to blog.  Blogging was something I avoided.  My first website designer wanted to include a blog in my site, and I said no.  Now I realize the importance of blogging (plus it’s fun, too), and for the web-challenged person, MySpace is very easy and convenient for me to blog.  I don’t know how people can blog every day, but I try to post at least twice a week.   

And I’m fully aware of all the negative aspects of MySpace – the inappropriate comments and pictures.  I’ve been hacked and had to change my password and had the site eat my blogs.  Also the fact that 800 people really aren’t my friends.  Although, through this site, I’ve found a couple of people I wouldn’t mind having coffee with – which, I think, isn’t bad. 

If you’re a fellow MySpace addict…er….convert – come find me at: http://www.myspace.com/mariavsnyder 

Okay Simon – you can stop laughing now.   

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There are 11 comments. Get the RSS feed for comments on this entry.

  1. 1. Heidi Ruby Miller

    Great points, Maria.

    My husband and I both got freelancing gigs from an editor who found us on MySpace.

    ~Heidi

  2. 2. S.C. Butler

    Aargh. I really don’t want to do this, but you make a compelling case.

  3. 3. Jim C. Hines

    I haven’t had as much success with MySpace as Maria, but I suspect that’s because I haven’t been putting as much effort into it. And I’ve still made some contacts and found some new readers, as well as connecting with other authors. Even a low-key MySpace presence seems to have some benefits.

  4. 4. Sarah Weir

    Awesome, awesome!! :D I love this Maria!!!

    As an avid reader and aspiring writer myself, I can’t say enough to all those yet to be addicted… errr.. converted to myspace authors about how important a resource websites like myspace are!! Myspace, facebook, yuwie, xanga… all of these and more are really great resources!
    If you are struggling with marketing or building a fan base especially, you really should consider more networking and advertising of this type.
    I have found several new authors to read this way, either through recommendation of other myspacers, from seeing what others are reading, or who they are friends with! :)

  5. 5. Tez Miller

    Another great way to make contacts is http://www.facebook.com – and I think it’s less complicated than MySpace, so maybe you can figure it out for yourself ;-)

    Mariah B Schneider… classic!

    Have a lovely day! :-)

  6. 6. Simon Haynes

    How could I laugh when you mention me by name? ;-)

    I’ve been pushing Myspace to other writers for a while now, because it’s a much better way to keep in touch with readers (and potential readers) than a blog. With a regular LJ you’re preaching to the masses and hoping some will comment, and it’s hard for someone to just stumble across your corner of the web.

    With Myspace you’re much more involved – comments on other people’s profiles and bulletins being two bonuses – and if you participate in a group or two you’ll get invites. Adding people is much more hands on than with an LJ, and if you search for profiles where people have mentioned authors writing similar fiction to your own, you can easily send invites to people who are very likely to accept them. (Every now and then I go on an invite binge, searching for profiles with Terry Pratchett, Red Dwarf, Blackadder, HHG, etc, and then inviting a couple of dozen people. I haven’t done this for ages, but if you’re new to Myspace it’s a good conversation starter. I also avoid sending invites to teens, because it seems kind of creepy. If they invite me, fine.)

    Oh, and be careful about leaving blatant ads in other people’s comment trails, and over-using bulletins. You only need a handful of people to mark your ‘informational post’ as spam, and your profile is history.

  7. 7. Simon Haynes

    As for Facebook – the apps drive me mad, and there’s something called ‘beacon’ you really need to read up on.

  8. 8. Becky Walsh

    I love your books Maria! I have my daughters hooked on them. Can’t wait for Fire Study… now I’m going to check out John Passarella’s books! Have a super day!

  9. 9. Maria V. Snyder

    Thanks for all the great comments – lots of good tips to remember.

    I agree – blatant and shameless self-promotion is a danger. I’ve only used the bulletins once, when Magic Study came out in trade paperback. I also like to use my photo instead of my book cover – I think it’s more personal and more about connecting with people rather than having a book cover represent me. I do put the cover of my latest release in my first thanks for the invite comment, but after that I don’t.

    Becky – you’ll want to read John’s “Kindred Spirit” that’s a good one! Glad you and your daughters have been enjoying my books.

    Simon – decent of you not to laugh :)

    FYI – Sarah Weir created my background for my Myspace page from my first book’s cover. She was my third Myspace friend – she’s been a wonderful source of Myspace knowledge – I owe her more than a couple cups of coffee :)

  10. 10. A. Preacher

    Although I haven’t yet read “Magic Study” I’m assuming that the magician is rogue and not rouge as stated above in the ‘Author Information’.

    Also just so you know there are already two Facebook groups devoted to your writing.

  11. 11. Maria V. Snyder

    Thanks for letting me know about the typo! Spelling is not my thing.

    And two Facebook groups – oh my! I might have to wander over there……

Author Information

Maria V. Snyder

Maria V. Snyder has been writing fiction and nonfiction since 1995. She has published numerous freelance articles in magazines and newspapers. Her first published novel, Poison Study appeared on the shelves in 2005, and chronicles Yelena’s challenges in surviving her dangerous job as a food taster. Magic Study follows with Yelena’s efforts to learn about her magic while searching for a rogue magician turned serial killer. Fire Study chronicles Yelena's adventures with a Fire Warper and was released in March 2008. Born and raised in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Maria earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Meteorology at Penn State University. Much to Maria’s chagrin, forecasting the weather wasn’t one of her skills. Writing, however, proved to be more enjoyable and Maria earned a Master of Arts degree in Writing Popular Fiction from Seton Hill University. As part of her research for her Study novels, Maria signed up for a glass blowing class to learn how to shape molten glass. The first thing she learned is it is considerably harder to sculpt glass than it looks. Maria now has an extensive collection of misshapened paperweights, tumblers, and bowls. When she’s not traveling, Maria lives in Pennsylvania with her husband, son, daughter and yellow Lab. She is working on her next MIRA novel, Storm Glass, due out Spring 2009. Readers are welcome to contact Maria by e-mail at maria@mariavsnyder.com, or they can find more information on her Web site at www.mariavsnyder.com. Visit site.

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