Moving my archives over to this new blog, I stumbled across a blog post from the first week of June 2006. Early June 2006, five years ago this week, I was getting ready to see my first book published, planning a book tour in support of it and so incredibly excited for all that was ahead at that moment.

Printers Row Lit Fest was that week as it is this week, and at the 2006 festival, I walked around with a friend, handing out promotional bookmarks to anyone willing to accept one.  They were miserable-looking things, designed and printed in the highest-quality I could manage or afford at the time and by no means a sleek, professional piece of marketing swag. But, the bookmarks had my newly-established Web site URL on them, and watching my stats jump from (ha) 20 uniques a day to 40 was quite exciting in the days that followed.

This is also when social media “clicked” for me. So what if “Three Fallen Women” was my first book and I still had to prove myself, both as a first-time author and a saleswoman? So what if the PR budget was small? So what if my equipment was limited to a MacBook, a flip phone and a digital camera? So what? It didn’t matter that I didn’t have a six-figure PR budget backing me. Social media’s person-to-person business model made sense suddenly, as did a sense of the limitless possibilities social media seemed to be offering. I saw all the potential this new platform held and knew it was important to learn and felt without a doubt, five years ago this week, that I could do anything with social media that I wanted to do.

This morning, I worked with the events marketing team before I signed-off on final proofs of social media signs to be displayed at Printers Row Lit Fest this weekend.  Every word of these signs had to be just right, and as I was paying careful attention to the words, going back and forth over email to finesse the sign copy (“No, we can’t say it that way, let’s say that part this way…”), I realized happily and exactly why it mattered so much:

It sounds impossibly simple, but here on the five-year mark of my own revelation about the intersection of social media and literature, I found myself fussing over the social media signs for Printers Row Lit Fest because these signs exist to help users connect digitally with the festival and to each other, to connect all the bookmark-passer-outers at the festival with each other and the people who will be glad to have read their current and future books. Impossibly simple, but quite true.