Technology can be an author’s best publicist

Over at the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, Rege Behe gathered an impressive number of writers like Anne Rice, Gregg Hurwitz, Ayelet Waldman, Alafair Burke and Hallie Ephron to talk about authorial presence on the Internet – what works, what doesn’t, and how much is too much:

Rare is the writer who doesn’t have a Web site, from best-selling

authors such as Rice and Stephen King to literary novelists the likes

of A.S. Byatt and Ian McEwan. Writers have turned to social media sites

such as Facebook and Twitter to interact with fans and market their


”(Publishers) expect you to not only write the book, but you also

have to sell it,” author Hallie Ephron says. “And the selling is with

new media. It makes it both easier and more daunting, because there’s

so much noise out there. How are you going to make yourself heard?”

I’m in there as the resident critic, too, worrying about over-exposure: “I can’t tell you how many examples I can come up with of authors who

are out there semi-spamming Web sites, blogs, social networks, mailings

lists, etc., because they are desperate to get their names out, and

forget that interactions with prospective readers have to have meaning

and purpose.”

But this topic is more important than ever, especially in light of the news that Oprah’s daily talk show has a definite end date – even if it only means she’s going to move it to her own cable network (or barring that, someplace else.)