Samantha Sotto on Her Debut Novel Before Ever After

Blogs, Twitter, and Things That Go Bump in the Night
By Samantha Sotto

Forget the Boogie Man and the monster under the bed that likes to eat my right slipper. As a certified cave-dwelling, pajama-wearing writer, there are other things that I find far more terrifying.

Blog posts. Twitter. Facebook. Decaf Coffee.

After spending more than a year working on my debut novel, Before Ever After, emerging from the safety and solitude of my little writer’s cave was daunting. Remaining holed up in it, however, was not an option. If I wanted readers and reviewers to discover this book, then I needed to buckle down and treat social media the same way I had treated school. In short, it was time to brush my hair, change out of my pajamas, and start interacting. First stop, the Blogosphere.

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I used to think the most anxiety-filled time of my life was when my novel was out on submission to publishers was. I was wrong. Pressing the “Publish” button for my first blog post was. A million questions zipped through my mind as I sent my first post out into the world. Will anyone read it? Will it make friends? Will I go crazy stalking my “comment box?”

The answer to all of those questions turned out to be a resounding “yes.” Blogging evolved from something that pushed me to the brink of panic attacks into something that I actually began to enjoy. I’ve made real connections with people I otherwise would never have met, and have discovered that virtual hugs from friends thousands of miles away are as warm as real ones.

Having conquered my blogging fears, I was ready for more torture, er, Twitter.

Twitter was 140 characters of panic. There were no rewrites to make me sound smarter than I really was. I needed to find some wit. Fast.

(And yes, that last paragraph was officially a “Tweet.” Go ahead. Count. I know you want to. One hundred forty characters exactly. I may not be part of the Twitterati, but I’ve brushed up on my Twitter Speak. #iamnotadinosaur)

Tweeting has proven to be rather fun and I’ve enjoyed the updates and exchanges with my Tweeps. It also makes me feel a whole lot closer to Neil Gaiman. (Only 1,584,415 other followers know that he wasn’t listening to 80s dance music while running on the beach yesterday.)

And as if I wasn’t twitterpated enough, I ventured into Facebook. For the record, setting up my author page was the most nerve-wracking experience to-date. (Did I mention I am a sucker for punishment?) Why on earth would people “like” a page of an author whose book isn’t even out yet? Were they just supposed to take my word for it? Worse, was I asking them to “like” me? This was like throwing a party and then holding your breath while waiting for people to show up. Luckily, the canapés helped, and every now and then, I pass around brownies. (“Like” me and I’ll email you the recipe.) I’ve also been known to do a happy dance on the page to keep things interesting.

I would never have imagined that I could make peace with the monsters in my closet. My blog, tweet deck and facebook page weren’t so different from my cave after all. They were just much larger rooms where I could have more friends over for pizza without bumping into a stalactite.

Decaf coffee, however, is another story.

samantha-sottoSAMANTHA SOTTO fell in love with Europe’s cobbled streets and damp castles when she moved to the Netherlands as a teenager. Since then, she has spent nights huddled next to her backpack on a Greek beach, honeymooned in Paris, and attended business meetings in Dusseldorf in the pleasant company of a corporate credit card. Before Ever After was inspired by her experiences living, studying, and traveling through Europe. This is her first novel.

Visit Samantha Sotto online at SamanthaSotto.com and on Facebook and Twitter @samanthasotto.

About Kira Walton

Kira Walton

KIRA WALTON has been stalking books all her life as a college English teacher, bookseller, book club consultant, author, and editor.

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