I'm still adjusting to the idea that social networking sites, such as Twitter and Facebook, are important to me and my book, and thus, worthy of my time. Why are they, and how many should you establish a presence on?
I think exposure is the key: the more our name is in the great "out there" the more people are going to be interested in what you're doing, in what I'm doing. I'm tweeting on Twitter, and it feels so strange, because I'm not engaged in personal conversations with people. I do, however, realize that the more people that I follow (within reason), the more people will see about me and my work. The concept of tweeting 3 times a day or so takes some getting used to.
Facebook is fun, but it takes time. I have to admit this is the most fun social networking site that I'm on. I've met people I thought long gone from my life, and I'm trying to follow conversations and comment on people's walls that I think fall within the demographics of those I am wanting to reach with both my name and the name of my book.
I also belong to JacketFlap, and haven't really gotten the hang of that, either. I guess I need to make a more concerted effort to get there and "do something." Not sure what that is, yet.
In case you've never heard of JacketFlap (I hadn't heard of it until a couple of weeks ago, either), it is simply one in a list of sites I haven't heard of before. If you're into social networking--and we as authors should be--then you may want to consider some further social networking sites: Nothing Binding, Shoutlife, Live Journal, Authors Den, LinkedIn, Scribd and Axis Avenue. I have only made brief visits to these sites, so be sure and follow up on your own. Ning groups are also a great way to garner some exposure. These sites are not all social networking sites in the way Facebook or Twitter is, but are sites to be aware of where you can gain exposure and network.
Why are these sites important? Because, the more social networking groups we are a part of, the more varied of an audience we will have for our name/book. Do what I'm doing. Take the time to learn and participate. I am, and I firmly believe you will be glad you did.