On Friday night I went to a launch party for Darrell James's debut novel, NAZARETH CHILD. It's a book I've been looking forward to, and it was great to celebrate the release with Darrell and well, a hundred or so of his best friends. The great thing is that many of those friends are my friends too.
The following morning, I tweeted "I talked so much last night my throat is sore today." See, you get me in a room full of writing friends and I get so excited to have someone to talk to about writing and books, I can't shut up.
Which brings me to the subject of this post.
On Monday, the esteemed Steve Weddle asked this question on DO SOME DAMAGE:
"Wasn't Twitter supposed to kill crime fiction conventions? You make friends online, you don't need to meet them 'in person' to know them. Isn't that the, ahem, conventional wisdom?"
For me, the answer is no.
Don't get me wrong. Twitter is the single most useful tool I've found for networking on a daily basis. Every contact I've made in the publishing world started there, but I never intended for them to end there.
From the beginning, I made an effort to go out and meet the people I connected with on Twitter in person. If I recall correctly, the first Twitter friend I met was Linda Brown from the Mystery Bookstore. Soon after I met James Scott Bell. When I became aware of conferences, both local and national, I attended them. At my first Bouchercon in Indianapolis, I not only met Ali Karim, a twitter buddy for whom I have the highest regard, but two of my writing idols, David Liss and Sue Grafton. I walked away from that conference higher than a kite, and it wasn't because I'd spent too much time in the hotel bar.
I could go on and on, but I won't.
Social media (primarily Facebook and Twitter, and to a much lesser extent, this blog and other websites) have all been important in my journey to publication. They are, in many ways, crucial to getting published, and I could quite easily argue they're all you need (well, besides a kick ass book and some luck).
But I need the personal contact too. I need to be able to sit at the hotel bar and geek out and be a fan girl and talk incessantly about books and writing to like-minded people until my voice gets hoarse. I love doing it online, but that personal contact, however infrequent, strengthens the common bond we all have: a love for books.
And now, if you'll pardon me, I need to go pack for Bouchercon 2011. See you there, my friends.