Today's post is a Q&A with Peter Jurich, author of Typing With One Hand
. Peter is a young author who is using social media, such as Facebook, Twitter, a blog
and Web site
to connect with readers.Q: How did you decide to write your first book? Please describe it, and what inspired you to write it.A:
First and foremost, thank you for hosting me. What a wonderful thing web 2.0 is that we have the option to "meet" one another!
There are two main reasons that I decided to write a book -- specifically a memoir. They're not very exciting reasons, but they are what they are. The first reason was that I was bored; the second was that it was an accident.On boredom:
My first year of college was over and it did not go over very well. I attended school to be an actor and realized halfway through my second semester that it is not what I wanted to do. I transferred to a community college and was not enjoying it. I just needed something that would make me happy. Writing did just that.On accident:
My friend and I were having a conversation about the future -- not unlike many conversations young people have. One of us had brought up the idea of what we'd like our memoirs to say when we grow older. That got me thinking: Why do I have to wait until I'm older to write a memoir? Isn't life exciting now?
Of course, the truth of the matter was that life was NOT exciting. But I came up with a title I adored. "Typing With One Hand" implanted itself in my head and would not leave. I couldn't wait until I was 50-years-old so I could write it. A title that catchy HAD to be worth the wait!
But I couldn't wait. One night, I sat down at my computer and didn't get up for two years.Q: How do you use social networking in your writing and in promoting your work? What sorts of tools do you use, and which get the most reaction for you, or the best feedback/criticism? Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, blogging, etc.?A:
Social networking is becoming a pretty unhealthy addiction with my generation. Five minute homework breaks can easily turn into two lost hours when you're browsing pictures of your friends and pretty girls on Facebook. So the key is finding a way to use it without feeling lethargic or empty.
That said, I would be absolutely nowhere today if not for social networking. I owe about 90% of my success to Facebook. Facebook makes it way too easy to establish an Internet presence for yourself, and if you have a product to sell, there's no excuse for you not to have one.
I never quite jumped on the Twitter train until very recently, but have discovered that, while Facebook is excellent for spreading the word, Twitter does just that for meeting other people in your field. Probably because of the ease with which it is set up.
Currently, my blog (sympathyforthepencil.blogspot.com)
gets more traffic than my website (www.typingwithonehand.com)
because I've started blogging a little more consistently. I haven't really made a substantial update on TWOH since I put it up a year ago, but at least with "Sympathy," I can depend on my RSS feed to transfer my writing to Facebook, and I can tweet about my new blog posts.
Social networking -- as old as I feel seeing 14-year-olds with BlackBerries and asking myself, "Why can't we just go back to how things used to be?" -- is an absolute necessity for anyone who is trying to get noticed by providing a service.Q: When did you start writing on your own, for things that weren't for a school project? What has been the reaction from friends/family, among those who've seen your work?A:
Actually, as I said earlier, I was never really into writing too much as a career. It never struck me as a good idea even though I LOVED creative writing assignments in school and often went above and beyond what was expected. I guess I was pretty set on acting.
Be it as it may, I couldn't escape what I secretly loved the most, and what happened happened.
My favorite reaction thus far has been from my 83-year-old grandmother who looked upon me as incapable of the brief sexual and drug experiences I touch upon. "I'm very disappointed in you," she said, "but I love you anyway." She and I had a half hour phone discussion we brought her to terms with the differences that come between generations. She may not respect us young'ns any more than she did, but she at least understands us now.
The responses have overall been encouraging. Because I've made myself so accessible to readers, they absolutely love being my editors! I receive an email every two weeks or so from someone who has caught a typo, didn't like the way something was phrased, etc.
The real hurdle came during the writing process itself when I told people I was writing a book. The real criticism happened before some even saw a product! "No, you're not. You can't do that! You're just a kid." True, but I've never felt that's a reason to discourage anyone, no matter the age. Best to let kids make their own mistakes. So far, though, this has not been a mistake.Q: What is your ultimate goal as a writer? Are you aiming to earn a living as a writer? Become a bestselling author? Write screenplays?A:
Is it really possible to earn a living as a writer these days?
While being a bestseller would be nice, that's not very important to me. More than anything, I'd just like to be able to sustain myself by doing what I love to do. I'm 23 and starting grad school next year. At this age, my needs are not much; I'd just like to subsidize my rent and have beer money.
As far as what I'd like to write, screenplays are definitely an option because I wouldn't dare limit myself. I'm going for my bachelor's in journalism and working on a novel that is far far different than either the memoir or any objective report. I suppose then my ultimate goal as a writer is to explore every avenue I can to consistently find diverse projects that keep me smiling myself to sleep.
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Steve Weber is author of Plug Your Book! Online Book Marketing for Authors