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This is a guest post from Mariam Kobras, author of The Distant Shore, coming winter 2012. I met Mariam on Twitter and thought she had an interesting story. Twitter has certainly benefited me and many others. How about you?
I really don’t have a story to tell.
Except perhaps, How all of a sudden, I’m that thing every writer dreams of: Accepted. I have that new label, “Soon to be published”.
Where before there was encouragement, friendly interest, there is now the curious question, “How did you do it?”
And every time that question is put to me I pull back a little and reply, “Oh, you know. Like everyone else.”
Which is, of course, a totally inane answer, but telling the true story of how I got my book deal always sounds a bit like bragging, or like a lie, and I’ve even had people pull back because of it. It is strange and amazing how enormous good fortune can lose you friends! This is something to think about in detail, but not right now.
This one time, I’m going to tell exactly how I came to be an author, and then I’ll shut up about it.
I started writing my first book because I was bored. At the time I was working as a teacher, and among my duties was supervising the detention room. During the slow hours there, I wrote. There was this story in my head that wanted out, and at some point it was no longer enough to just play around with it in my head, so I began taking my laptop along and typing away when there were no kids around. The writing itself took me about a year.
Somewhere around that time, twitter happened to me. That’s really the only way to call it: I stumbled upon it through a friend and found I loved it. Here, I met people who were curious about me, who wanted to know what I did with myself and my time, who soon asked to read what I had written. A little abashed, but nevertheless very pleased, I let them have my manuscript.
Encouraged by their enthusiasm, I posted pieces of it on my blog.
This is where my publishing story starts.
One of my twitter followers was a black cat. We had been chatting on and off, nothing more than a friendly “good morning” or “have a nice day”, and suddenly I get a blog comment about one of my manuscript posts , “threatening” that they might have to sign me if I went on writing like that. Hours later, I received a direct message on twitter asking when they could see the complete manuscript.
Uh… in six weeks or so. Maybe a couple of months, was my answer. Editing was not finished yet, and . . .
Ok, they replied, we will wait.
They did, but not patiently. They kept on asking, until I one day l just stuffed it all in an email attachment, mostly unedited as it was, dashed off a couple of bio lines and a synopsis and sent it off with a terse, “Here it is, then.”
Publishing had not really been on my mind until then. I had not even looked at agents, much less publishers, and I had not spent a moment on those very important things, a query letter, a good synopsis, the “elevator pitch” (I still don’t know what that is to this day).
It took them six weeks to make up their minds. Then I got a mail asking for a Skype meeting, and would I be available the next day, some time around lunch. The very nice lady on my screen told me what they thought about my novel and that yes, they indeed wanted to publish it, and if their suggestions sounded good to me they would send a contract proposal shortly. Needless to say, I agreed.
And that’s about it. I wrote a book, told it to twitter, and got picked up by a publisher. No agent interference, no rejections, no waiting.
All that happened four weeks or so ago. The contract has been negotiated and is signed, the editing is underway, I’ve seen my future book cover, have a publication date, and a pre-launch reading tour across the USA is set up for this summer. In fact, I’m leaving home in three weeks time.
So far, my life has not changed that much. Except I’m getting asked to write guests blogs and join writers’ groups on Facebook, and I now have my own business cards. I gave one of those to my dentist the other day, just so I’d know how it feels. He stared at it in bemusement for a moment and then said, “Open your mouth wide, please.”. But he put the card in his pocket first.
So you see, not even that is much of a story.
It just happened.
Has Twitter helped your writing or publishing career?