May 28, 2011

Glenda Larke on Authors and Social Media

glendaWelcome to the 12th interview in the Authors and Social Media series; where I interview some of Australia’s most acclaimed speculative fiction authors and some rising stars.

This week we have Glenda Larke (who has also written as Glenda Noramly), who seems to me to be somewhat of a quiet achiever, having amassed 3 trilogies to her name.  

I thank Glenda for taking time out of her busy schedule to answer some questions on Authors and Social Media.


How important do you view social media to selling your books or interacting with fans?


From my personal point of view, very important. Living in a place where I don't have much real-time contact  with other writers and none at all with fans, I find social media has been huge for me. But when it comes to attracting large numbers of fans or readers? -- Not so much.

I have a Twitter account (love twitter!) and 2 Facebook accounts (personal and group). I love the immediacy of both. I've had a blog for over 5 years and a website for ten or more, and yet the numbers have not been growing. I get a little less than 2,000 hits a month on the website and about 50-60 a day on the blog. So I suppose I'd have to say I love the intimacy of the contacts I have, I adore the feedback, I love the way it keeps me in contact with what's happening in the writing/publishing/genre world but I doubt I sell huge numbers of books as a result.


Do you or would you want to receive any guidance from your publisher/agent on interacting via social media, both in a technical sense or in a 'professional presentation' sense?


The only advice I had from a publisher was "use the internet". My agent is actually much less savvy than I am!!I am blessed with a wonderful webmaster. I don't know what I would do without him, I really don't. Because he's there, I already have the help if I need it.


There have been some recent examples of inexperienced authors reacting badly on the Internet in response to blog reviews etc., what are your thoughts on being social media savvy? What advice would you give to new authors?


I'm puzzled by the naivety of people who grew up with social media. I didn't (when I was born there was no such thing as a plastic bag, let alone social media!) Any social setting requires learning the manners and mores, preferably before entering the situation. So my advice would be take a look around first before you plunge in...and of course, the glory of the internet is that you can do just that.

Every parent should teach every kid that what they put up on the internet is probably going to be accessible there forever, and teach them that taking a moment before pressing the send button is a good rule to have.


In my experience Social media breaks down normal communication conventions.  People can be more familiar and 'take liberties'.  Have you experienced problems where this ease of communication has lead to followers/fans 'crossing the line' or has your experience been entirely positive?


I've had almost no problems in the sense that you mean. I think I've more trouble with being misunderstood, especially in chat rooms where people type quickly. In fact, I've stopped using chat rooms as a result. Face to face, it's easy to take cues from tone, facial expression, etc.  With the internet there is so much more room for misunderstanding.


I have had people misinterpret what I've written, sometimes because I said it badly, sometimes because they understood it badly. (I have to say that I do hate the anonymity of the internet -- I loathe comments that hide behind "anonymous". If you have something to say, then please attach a name to it, even if it has to be a pseudonym -- one that you stick to.)


How vital is social media to the genre in which you write and how do you think social media will affect the way you write and interact in the future?


It's already a major force in marketing. I wonder, though, if we are all going to sink under the information. Already people are having trouble winnowing the gems from the chaff for eBooks because there are so many self-published things out there, a lot of them terrible or just scams, and they are all being marketed via the web. People are proud of following and being followed by X number of people on Twitter - yet how many tweets can you read in day and still have a life?

I'm not very good at predicting the future. At the moment I love the recommendations and the contacts and the information -- and yet the proportion that actually has an impact is small. For example, in a week I may have 50+ recommendations of fantasy books in the tweets I read. But I can barely buy or read 25 books in six months, let alone in a week!

stormGlenda was born in Western Australia, the daughter of a farmer. She was educated at government state schools and the University of Western Australia, where she obtained a degree in history and a diploma in education. Married to a Malaysian scientist, she has grown-up children, and now lives in Malaysia, where she is actively involved in rainforest conservation.

Check out her blog here (the photo’s from Cambodia especially).

You should be able to find Glenda in most good bookstores.  Her most recent book is Stormlord’s Exile the last in the Watergiver’s Triliogy.

You can listen to an interview with Glenda conducted by the Galactic Chat crew below:


Peruse Booktopia’s selection of Glenda’s books.

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