As you know social networking sites have their place and are a very good way of making new friends. This can also be an excellent way of connecting with other professionals and building a fan base.
I've talked about several of these sites as I'm sure you'll remember. Myspace, facebook and twitter are among the ones I use.
If you've recently had a book published or if you have one that's due to be launched you should consider joining goodreads.com. Goodreads is a social networking site that is dedicated to fiction and non-fiction books. It is inhabited by people who are interested in reading, like to leave reviews and take recommendations on new novels.
The first step ...
Open up a profile, search for your own book(s)and then click on the button at the top which asks you if you are the author. It's a fairly simple process to verify your I.D. with goodreads and you can then begin to build a friends list among people who actually read. That in itself is worth being a member for.
But be warned! I've found that even on this site there are still people who like to send solicitous emails. Usually from European men looking for an English wife! On the whole I ignore them, though occasionally have been driven to give a piece of my mind. I usually do this by pointing out that I am using an 'author' profile, that I am a 'professional person' and 'I'm very much taken. Please don't write again ...'
Don't let this put you off though, because this is a pitfall that I've experienced on all of the sites at sometime or other anyway. If you're female - make your position known immediately. I now have it plainly written on my profile that I don't welcome emails of this nature and it's stopped happening (so clearly people DO read on goodreads).
I'm sure that the same thing happens to any men as well, I just haven't heard about it - but I'd be very interested to know if it has!!!
My advice, for what it's worth, give goodreads a chance if you want to expand your fanbase and let me know if you've found any other sites that you think are good for this too.
But don't let this put you off. It's like I said initially, goodreads is a really great site for promoting your work.