You remember when we were told that everyone had to have a website? Then participation on message boards was a must. Then we all had to have a blog. Now life is all about the social networking sites. I’m having a hard time believing that all of this stuff is worth putting my effort into. I have precious few hours to write as is, yet I find that when I sit down, I have to do a lot of what amounts to maintaining my online presence. It varies from checking in on a few message boards (my own included) to e-mail to the various social networking places … and eats up hours of my life. Is it all worth it?

JA Konraths blogged about fixing your online billboards and casting your net because to him, the answer is yes. Online billboards, as he defines them, are places “on the Internet where you have a little bit of property people pass through.” Your online presence may not directly translate into book sales, but it is a way for new potential readers to find you and for you to interact with them. So in short, your online presence, whatever they might amount to, is designed to attract new readers.

So I made a list of my online presence:

My website – which I’m preparing to re-vamp a bit

My Blog – where I touch on a lot of my favorite themes: race, spirituality, pop culture, and writing

Twitter – for the record, a lot of gibberish runs through my mind

My Message Board – my main interaction with folks

MySpace – I mirror my blog over there

FaceBook – this can be a sink hole of time, but other than my message board, I hang out here the most

The remainder of my billboards I need to do more with:

Goodreads

LinkedIN

SmallerIndiana

RedRoom

So, I have a few, some I’m more active on than others. I can think of quite a few writers who have made names for themselves with absolutely no web presence and I know I’d rather be spending my time writing (cause, wow, have I mentioned how FaceBook and MySpace can be time sinks if you let them be?) Whether this effort translates into sales is debatable. At the very least, you’re out there talking to new potential readers. Don’t get me wrong: FaceBook alone has destroyed any hopes of a serious professional image on my part. (Yay Broaddus Christmas party pics!) However, the more signs you have pointed to your books, the better. And a little bit of effort goes a long way.

At the very least, if you’re already on one of these sites, come friend me.