Monday, July 16, 2012

What is Social Networking Anyway?

Janalyn Voigt, author and speaker

When the oriental man pushing a shopping cart full of books hailed me in the parking lot of a hardware store, I knew I was in trouble.

His forehead creased with concentration. “I…book…writer.”  

I smiled and nodded as I edged for my car, not feeling quite safe.

Perhaps emboldened by my response, he flashed a bright smile and waved a paperback in my face. “You…want…book?”


He placed the book in my hands. The cover wasn’t bad, I remember thinking, but if he could barely speak English, what would the inside be like?


I took myself in hand and, shaking my head, thrust his offering toward him. “I don’t want the book.”  My tone was a little abrupt, so I added a polite “thank you,” but he’d already turned away, possibly on the look-out for his next customer.

Sometimes I feel like that man.

As a debut author I’m out there pushing my shopping cart as I try to convince people to buy my book. I can get caught up in narrow-focus marketing efforts and forget there's a better way. I won't succeed if I go it alone. In the first throws of building a platform I gave little thought to how much help it actually takes to launch a novel and a career. I have never felt more needy than now, when I have something to offer. Yes, I have more traction than I did but a taller mountain to climb.

My launch of DawnSinger, the first novel in Tales of Faeraven, my epic fantasy series, was successful because a number of people I helped along the way pitched in for me in return. That’s the way social networking works. Wherever you are in your writing journey, it’s never too soon or too late to give your help to someone else. But you can’t give to get. People smell that motive immediately, and it stinks. Be sincere in all you do.

If I didn’t understand before, I know it now: Any pinnacle I reach will be because many hands carried me there. That will always be so. I am nothing without others.

And neither are you.

Have there been times when you helped another person and the only return you received was joy? Was it still worth it? 

The High Queen is dying… At the royal summons, Shae mounts a wingabeast and soars through the air to the high hold of Faeraven, where all is not as it seems. Visions warn her of danger, and a dark soul touches hers in the night. When she encounters an attractive but disturbing musician, her wayward heart awakens. But then there is Kai, a guardian of Faeraven and of Shae. Secrets bind him to her, and her safety lies at the center of every decision he makes. On a desperate journey fraught with peril and the unknown, they battle warlike garns, waevens, ferocious raptors, and the wraiths of their own regrets. Yet, they must endure the campaign long enough to release the DawnKing—and the salvation he offers—into a divided land. To prevail, each must learn that sometimes victory comes only through surrender.
Available in paperback and ebook form at and Barnes & Noble.
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