• Fiona McIntosh: Voyager Author of the Month

    Fiona McIntosh was born and raised in Sussex in the UK, but also spent early childhood years in West Africa. She left a PR career in London to travel and settled in Australia in 1980. She has since roamed the world working for her own travel publishing company, which she runs with her husband. She lives in Adelaide with her husband and twin sons. Her website is at www.fionamcintosh.com.

    Her latest book, The Scrivener's Tale, is a stand-alone and takes us back to the world of Morgravia from her very first series, The Quickening:

    About The Scrivener's Tale:

    In the bookshops and cafes of present-day Paris, ex-psychologist Gabe Figaret is trying to put his shattered life back together. When another doctor, Reynard, asks him to help with a delusional female patient, Gabe is reluctant... until he meets her. At first Gabe thinks the woman, Angelina, is merely terrified of Reynard, but he quickly discovers she is not quite what she seems.

    As his relationship with Angelina deepens, Gabe's life in Paris becomes increasingly unstable. He senses a presence watching and following every move he makes, and yet he finds Angelina increasingly irresistible.

    When Angelina tells Gabe he must kill her and flee to a place she calls Morgravia, he is horrified. But then Angelina shows him that the cathedral he has dreamt about since childhood is real and exists in Morgravia.

    A special 10th Anniversary edition of her first fantasy book, Myrren's Gift, will be released in December!



Tweet and the Art of Social Media

'Technology' by Vladimir Moldacsky

 A recent post by Robin Hobb got me wondering about the importance of an online presence. Robin was saying that to get her manuscript delivered, she disconnected from the Internet and wrote. And wrote and wrote.  And for her it was a wonderful experience of immersion, with no little ‘pings’ interrupting the flow.

All good an well for an international bestselling author, but what about those who are just starting out? Can they ignore their online presence? Erik Qualam says no, they can’t. ‘Social Media isn’t a fad, it’s a fundamental shift in the way we communicate . . .  word of mouth has now become world of mouth.’  Like many others, he urges authors, artists and businesses to get connected online. How much time is ‘enough’ to build an engaging presence? I asked my  Facebook and Twitter friends their opinion on the topic:

 @jolantru Twitter shouldn’t become just a platform for self-promotion. We are real!

@mlvalentine  People are online to engage, not to be barraged with BUY MY BOOK.

@AnonymousAuthor  Please buy my book.

@Angus Robertson Edwardstown . . . it does pay off in the long run. We have generated a lot of interest we wouldn’t have had before.

@roguemystic you don’t need one (online presence) but it’s nice to have so fans know what’s happening and see you as a person not just a (brand)

@Lisa Mayers My marketing/PR/networking time on social media sites adds up to hours every day . .  it’s easy to get distracted here. . .

@Andrew J McKiernan & @Devin Jeyathurai Read this post by Maureen Johnson! (great minds think alike)

@Melanie Hope Greenberg it does take time away from creativity. Yet, I was selected for things that I would not have gotten otherwise through being on Facebook.

@Tani ‘Thunderballs’ Teschendorf I run a boutique, and on average I spend an hour a day. Ps, Shoppe At Blue Attic! ….

@Mary Victoria An hour a day? Two? It depends on whether I’m in ‘new release’ mode . . .

@Bhadrena Rose (I spend) too much x but is a great source for links. Personally I love your availability …

@JodyHedlund it’s not all about us. Rather it’s about socializing—communicating and building relationships with others.

@KimFalconer I find it supportive to connect, otherwise it’s so isolating as a writer. But I also make sure I unplug for my daily writing sessions. #bestofbothworlds

@J_Dalgliesh LOL can’t believe I went offline & missed the convo! Amen re engagement, not barrage! #bestofbothworlds

 If you really want to know what some of us professionals tweet about, listen in on a little conversation between bookseller, author, editor and reader:

 @fangbooks  *snort* it says something about my life that I receive an email titled ‘Die for Me’ and automatically open it

 @KimFalconer  That’s so funny! You probably thought it was from Eric Northman . . .

 5 minutes later . . .

 @KimFalconer  OMGs! Somebody call the sheriff! @Eric_ofArea5 is following me! @timorene

 @timorene phwoar – I wouldn’t mind a bit of Eric …!

 @KimFalconer  me 2 . . .

 @J_Dalgliesh Waiting sucks . . .

What about you? How much time do you spend on social media and why? I would love to hear your views. Comments welcome!

Kim Falconer lives in Byron Bay with two gorgeous black cats. She’s on Facebook, on Twitter and runs not one but two websites: KimFalconer.com and Falcon Astrology.

25 Responses

  1. Networking, communication, friendship: I’ve found all these connecting on social media. Online connection is important when you spend huge swathes of time working at home. I’m not part of a writing group here, so it’s absolutely vital that I touch base with other authors and readers on the net.

    Taking time out: sure. But I love my writer/reader community, and would always come back.

    • Yes to the feeling of community and connection. I love our community of online writers, this community here at Voyager, and others as well. You are part of that, Mary!

      And it is hard sometimes, working in isolation. The web connections get us out of our ‘writing towers’ and into the conversations!

      But do you ever find it distracting? Like now when I know you have two days to go on your copy edits?


      • Heh heh. I’m just taking in the edits, so that’s fairly mechanical work. If I need head space, ie when I’m reading a hard copy to get the flow of the work, I move to the couch and don’t go online. 😉

        The online stuff is most distracting when I need to get a rough draft down. Then, I try to check it morning or evening, but remain offline during ‘work’ hours. It doesn’t always happen… it’s a question of self control!

  2. Absolutely agree on the community and connection point. As a freelancer, I look on the internet and social media as the replacement for the office kitchen and colleagues I used to have in-house. Except it’s so much better because, obviously, online you gravitate towards others with the same interests and connect to people who share your passion. You don’t necessarily have a choice about who you’re sharing a desk with in the real world!

    I watch my time carefully. There’s so much information available online and since I focus my attention fairly narrowly in terms of how I use twitter and facebook and other social media, it all tends to be work-related: industry news and concerns, people talking about publishing and editing, so it doesn’t feel like “wasting time”. But it could be really easy to lose an entire day getting involved with all that.
    Luckily, once I am “in the zone”, I don’t tend to get too distracted, even though I am never technically “offline”.

    • I love that: you gravitate towards others with the same interests and connect to people who share your passion. That’s one of the huge advantages. We find our like-minded others, even if they’re on the other side of the world!

      Here’s to staying focused in the zone AND connecting!

      🙂 Kim

      • I agree that social media has replaced the office kitchen for those of us who work from home, BothersomeWords, and that it helps alleviate the isolation Mary Victoria speaks about. But I also agree with Natalie that Tweetdeck can get distracting (especially when there are Voyager competitions to enter!) and that social media is no substitute for the real thing as KJTaylor suggests.

        What I disagree with is the idea that social media is going to change us as a civilisation.

        This question was posed recently on io9.com and I answered it via a blog (let me know if I can direct people to it, Kim, in case they’re interested in reading the full article), in which I argue that social media is a tool for more immediate communication but nothing more. It won’t turn us into cyborgs or social hermits, it won’t create a hive mind or fragment our identity any more than other forms of communication already do.

        All it does, really, is help us to realise, in Kim’s words, what a magical world we live in! For, quoting myself here, social media allows us to travel into the past now in the blink of an archived eye – and some might call that time travel – and we no longer have to journey to the library or our local political club to banter information or discuss ideas, we can do that from our keyboards – and some might call that teleportation…

      • Great point, Zena. I don’t see us sprouting CPUs or routers out the top of our heads any time soon.

        What a wonderful notion–archives as time travel!

        Nat, can Zena post a link to her comment on io9.com? I would like to read it and I think others would too.

        Zena, I think you just post the link as another comment and then when Nat has time to get to it, she will approve it and it will appear.

        Thanks for dropping in!

  3. I don’t think writers can ignore the social networks but I also heartily agree with Robin Hobb that when it’s time to get something done, it does in fact help to disconnect! I have Tweetdeck running in the background most days because I tweet for @voyagerbooks but there are days where I just have to keep it off, because it’s distracting – especially when the people I like to talk to are talking – and I need to concentrate on certain projects. @BothersomeWords and @KimFalconer are -very- distracting 🙂
    I love to see how Voyager authors (and other authors!) support each other by tweeting out news and links for each other – and I often stumble on fascinating articles and photographs because of my connection with people on Twitter who have similar senses of humour and wonder. More than Twitter, I am a bit addicted to Facebook and check it every day via my phone. I love reading status updates and keeping up with my friends and family who aren’t in the country or who I haven’t seen for a while. I find Facebook and Twitter enrich my connections with people, rather than taking me away from them.

    • Nat, you really touched on a vital point! I haven’t seen my sister in eight years or my mum in ten years. We keep up via FB and email. It it weren’t for the little notes that pass between us every day, it would seem like they were lost to me! What a magical world we live in!


      And can I mention the vicarious travel? You are always trotting off to another country and we all get to see the sights. I mean, Lemurs!!!!

  4. People have asked me if I have a Twitter account. I always say no, and I’m not going to get one, because my day-to-day life is way too boring to be worth telling the whole entire world about it.

    I have a day job as well as doing the writing thing, so I get my social interactions that way, and through my real-life family and friends.
    But I do like to talk to my good friend and illustrator Allison via instant messenger, and I use my LiveJournal (and eventually my personal website, once it’s up and running) to keep in touch with readers.

    The internet is a very useful thing for finding information, and it can be a handly social outlet, but it’s no substitute for the real thing and what I eventually learned through sometimes harsh experience is that it tends to exaggerate the obsessive side of our natures. Online, people can wind up sending each other death threats over (I’m serious) knitting patterns and who should be dating who in the Harry Potter universe (I’ve seen both of those things happen).

    You see what I mean? Spend too long online and you can lose all sense of proportion. And also, you generally aren’t as compassionate toward others because you can’t see them and read their emotions. The ‘net can turn some people into outright sociopaths. Trust me. I’ve seen it.

    I’m not saying the internet is bad, per se – I’m just saying it’s got limits.

    • I wouldn’t call the internet a social outlet necessarily. I think you can have relationships via the internet that are just as satisfying as offline relationships in their way. I have a friend in the US who I’ve never met, but have been writing to for the last twelve years via email. So much has happened in both our lives over that time, that we have shared, that makes him one of my best friends despite never having met face to face.
      With Twitter, I must say that my own life isn’t particularly interesting and I am not on Twitter to hear about what people had for breakfast (unless it is v delicious) but I do like hearing what others have to share – and you do tend to get the latest news and info there very quickly, which is great. And good conversions come up – like the one posted above by Kim! But everything in moderation, certainly!

  5. Social Media gives people a chance to interact with authors of books they are reading. They can hear how the author’s next book is coming along and when it is likely to be released. For those budding authors it can be a way of finding out how to go about getting their work published. Many will turn to publishing e-books but personally, having purchased an e-book reader and finding it not quite as good as it should be, I still prefer a paperback novel. Going back to a time when computers didn’t exist thus no social networking, an author would not have been able to get much of an idea as to what people think of their work. How very hard it must have been back then to get published. When I was a teenager and buying my first novels, it was the cover of the book that caught your attention and a brief description of the story. The author was just a name on the book. authors today are very lucky to have the internet at their disposal.

    • That’s so interesting, Stephen. Authors used to be just names on the jacket.

      Now there is a true feeling of connection. For example, at this moment, it’s after midnight in Dubai and Margaret Atwood (who is at the Emirates Airline Festival of Literature ) has just gone to bed. (via @margaretatwood on twitter)

      How much more real can our favourite authors get?

  6. That’s interesting, Katie, about the internet exaggerating the obsessive. It can distill things down to sharp points, I agree. That there can be so much drama and emotional attachment to things like knitting patterns and the HP universe to me shows how ‘real’ it can get. People are living there, expressing there, interacting there and being extreme and even pathological there. (where IS ‘there’? Chat rooms and message boards are metaphorical spaces!)

    I think it brings something out in us–something that was there all along. But you’re right. The net, like any other environment for social exchange, has its rules and limitations. Just not everyone plays by them!

    When will your site be up? Looking forward to that! Is there an address yet? Coming soon?

  7. Social media is an important tool to connect with the outside world of readers and other authors. I love the fact that I can talk to readers about things other than my books. I really don’t like the “buy my book” kind of tweeters – and don’t stay connected very long. That is not to say I don’t do the occasional “buy my book” tweet – but most are just interacting with people. Just day to day stuff. But there are times where it is all too difficult to write because of life – and those times I do tend to do less on the social network.

  8. Hi
    For me, so far, one of the biggest values I’ve been getting from facebook and blogs, websites etc, has been in keeping in contact with many different people in various parts of the the specfic ‘community’ and making new connections too.

    Right from the beginning for me (circa 2006), this communal activity has been great for developing my specfic interest and has considerably enhanced annual convention experiences too. In a country the size of Australia, that’s no small deal! 🙂

    Cheers and thanks for all the great online company so far! 🙂

    • That’s so true, Tim. It’s a wonderful, communal feeling. Because of these online communities, I feel like I actually have a social life, even when I’m working 24/7.

      It is a big deal! 🙂

  9. Thanks Kim!

    Here’s the link in case anyone wants to read my full post on internet archives as time travel and its immediacy as teleportation…


    Comments and discussion are of course both welcome.

    Keeping up the conversation,


    • Zena, this is a great article! I’m tweeting about it right now 🙂

      I remember Stephen King (boy his name is coming up a LOT) said in his book On Writing that authors, in this case novelists, and readers were in a kind of telepathic connection–the author’s thoughts are transferred to the reader, a true mind to mind link! Add to that the notions of instant communication over vast distances (like quantum theory’s ‘action at a distance’ and you have a model for ‘teleportation’ of thought. And we all know how long the novel has been around! (11th century Tale of Genji?) Great point to make–this is NOT NEW!)

      I love it!

      Thank you so much for sharing the post here. *recommended reading* !

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