Social Media: Ideas for Connecting Writers and Readers

My article is the first stop on the Rolling Mystery Blog Tour. 
See what Nancy Lauzon has to say at:  
And finally Ryer Islingston at :
If you like what weve written, please leave a comment.

Once a year I have the wonderful opportunity to attend an author/reader extravaganza of the largest book group in the country, The Pulpwood Queens Book Group (500 chapter strong), which meets in the quaint village of Jefferson, Texas. Founder Kathy Patrick invites authors and members of the book group to spend three days visiting, talking books, and having fun. Every year I come home with a renewed sense of my place in the writing community and a satisfaction knowing I have met dozens of readers who enjoyed my books. Needless to say, these connections are invaluable to me as a writer. The rest of my year is spent socializing in my little room with my laptop. I actually enjoy it, too, but that wasn’t always the case. 
I entered the world of social networking, kicking and screaming. After two years, I still throw a tantrum every now and then when I have trouble maneuvering through the sites’ technical pathways, but I will be the first to admit the necessity of this tool for connecting to readers. Whenever I receive a message from a fan through one of my networks, I set my laptop aside and dance a little jig. Then I reply and add the person to my friend list.
I first entered this cyber network through Facebook, then signed on with LinkedIn, Twitter, and Goodreads. Each one offers something a little different, and I approach each one from a different prospective.
Goodreads is one of my favorites. It’s all about books. I can post reviews and comments about the books I’ve read and enter into discussions of these books with others who have read them. I have an author page, which allows me to display my book covers. Goodreads provides advice and programs on promoting and marketing. Authors can sign up for giveaways when their new books are released. I tried this tool with my second Sydney Lockhart mystery and within a few days, more than 400 readers had added my books to their reading list. I can also publicize my events, add writing samples, create quizzes, and submit discussion questions. Promo ads are available for purchase as well. Goodreads provides a great tutorial for authors and they allow you to send them questions through e-mail. Even better, they respond.
I view social networking as a vast treasure hunt where I discover readers and they discover me. It allows me to connect with people whom I otherwise would never meet. Many of those folks have wonderful comments about my writing. Talk about motivation and inspiration to continue my craft, that’s nothing else like it. Okay, maybe a hefty royalty check. Na . . . not even that.