In this day and age, we as authors are super lucky. We have *plays fanfare* THE INTERNET!
I'm not sure what authors did before the internet. Lots of pounding the pavement, probably. Lots of visits to the post office with thick manila envelopes, I'm sure. So let's all take a moment to say a thanks to that British guy who invented it.
Online presence was the very first thing my publicist and I talked about when I signed with Entangled. Getting your name out there, connecting with readers and other writers, is super important. Of course, actually writing is the most important thing, but online presence does a lot for a writer. Those people you connect with will be there for you when you need advice or when it's time to promote your book. So, how does one start? Here are my suggestions in list form because I love lists, if you haven't already noticed:
1. Twitter: Oh man, go get a Twitter account right now if you don't already have one! Follow authors you like, agents you'd love to be repped by, publishing professionals, and Misha Collins (always follow the Misha). And don't just sit quietly back
I also think it's important to tweet at least every other day or so. I frequently go through the people I follow and unfollow those who haven't tweeted in a long time. Except for J.K. Rowling (always follow J.K. Rowling).
I really could do an entire post on the importance of Twitter and how to use it. Maybe I will... Would you like to see that? Post in the comments :)
2. Facebook: I was lucky enough to find the WraHM (Writing at home moms) society group on Facebook back when it was first started by Gennifer Albin, author of CREWEL. I've met soooo many awesome author ladies since I've joined. I've watched as they found success in publishing. We've commiserated about the many obstacles of writing, having a family, publishing, etc. I mentioned them in my acknowledgements because they're all awesome. And I've made a lot of other connections through them.
There are tons of Facebook groups for writers and readers. Through them you can meet other writers and readers. And when the time comes for you to promote your book, they'll be there to support you!
3. Blogs: Having your own blog is great and everything, but I've found it's not useful unless you interact with other bloggers. There's that word again: INTERACT! You have to visit other blogs, comment on their posts, join blog hops, and do memes. Don't have an agenda. Don't copy and paste the same comment on every blog you visit. That's called spam and everyone hates spam.
There are plenty of other social media sites like Tumblr or Goodreads that I haven't mentioned, but I think they all follow the same rules. Be genuine. Be nice. Make friends!