|The fetishist and the slut|
However, in one arena, I have declared myself a total slut. At the SCBWI conference Candy Gourlay, Sarah McIntyre and I presented a session on social media networking for writers. Planning it over coffee beforehand we got a little giggly and decided to label ourselves ‘the experimentalist’ – Candy, because she tries everything – ‘the fetishist’ – Sarah, who has a distinctly weird preference for LiveJournal, and 'the slut'. And I’m proud to be that slut. But I thought perhaps I should explain my sluttish behaviour, and how you can be a happy slut too.
I’m promiscuous. On the internet that is. I blog, I facebook, I tweet. I do it a lot and I do it with a lot of people. I’m a whole lot less fussy about whom I friend and whom I follow and whom I have (social) intercourse with on the internet than I would be otherwise. I do it with strangers. I do it with acquaintances. I do it with distant relatives and old flames.
I’ve got a bit of a reputation. I became a slut in order to get that reputation. Just under two years ago I got a book deal and I realised that it'd help my publishers' sales team if I was a little bit visible. And also that it'd help me too. Sometimes I might say or do silly things, but mostly I think my reputation's a good thing. It's better than being utterly ladylike but completely invisible.
As for the actual (social) intercourse - it’s not serious and it’s not long-term and I don’t worry about it too much. I have to admit that I don’t take a huge amount of time writing blog posts or composing witty tweets. You take me as you find me. Hopefully you find me entertaining enough to want to read more. Even better, you might want to spend money getting to know me better.
I’m too subtle (just about) to be a total whore. I try very hard not to jump up and down shouting ‘Buy the books! Buy the books!’ I hope I know when enough is enough. I’ll repeat a compliment - a nice review, say, or a nomination – but not so often that it starts to grate. And I’m a lot nicer on the internet than I am in person. I spend a lot of time shouting about other people’s successes, telling my internet pals how wonderful everyone else is. I’m an internet tart with a heart of gold.
I know quite a few people who find the whole concept of internet slutdom distasteful and just too revealing . I used to feel like that too. But, now I’ve got used to it, I love it. I’ve made lots and lots of new friends - real friends, people I’ve met and like a lot and care about (that goes for some of the new friends I haven’t met yet as well). I never feel lonely. And I’m prepared to bet I’ve sold a fair number of books too.
There is a drawback with internet sluttiness. It’s time-consuming. It’s addictive. It can get in the way of serious long-term relationships, such as books to be written and children to be attended to. So at times I have to put aside my social media gladrags, and stay home with the boy(book)friend. But now – with Lia’s Guide to the Lottery written and edited, and new projects just getting started – is not that time. Let’s party!