As 2011 draws to a close, I'd like to say a few things before signing off. At the start of the year, my agent suggested that I join Twitter. I was shaking my head before he'd even finished speaking ...
'It isn't my style ...' I told him. 'I don't think I'll be any good at it. They talk a different language. I'll never fit in. Besides, I haven't got the time.'
'You should consider it ...' Oli said. 'It's a lot of fun!'
I think I changed the subject and poured more wine.
On the journey back from London, I had second thoughts. Agents advise, don't they? It would be rude to ignore mine. If you know Oli - that's @oliagent by the way - it will not have escaped your attention that he knows how to party ... him and the rest of Blake Friedmann team! If he said it was fun, it would be. It was a chance to engage with others and get my name out there, an opportunity to lessen the isolation of living inside my own head making up stories. What harm could it do?
On 13th February 2011, I took the plunge. I had no idea what I was doing. Oh, you noticed?:-) Well, that much was obvious to the pros. But then people began to help me out, my followers grew, and I met so many wonderful and generous people along the way. Oli was right, it was/is good fun.
It didn't take me long to realise that joining the Twitterverse was about so much more than building a following on route to publication. In the last ten months, I've laughed and cried at your humour, I've learned the lessons you have taught, I've made a complete fool of myself on occasions and, sadly, perhaps inevitably, I've felt your disappointment and your pain. I've also seen the way you rally round each other when times are tough and I've always felt included in your thoughts. That means so much to me.
In July, I met some of my Twitter friends at Harrogate Crime Writing Festival. I wasn't disappointed. They were just as much fun in real life as they had previously been in the virtual one. A small group of us have since met up and have plans to do it again in a few weeks time. Wine will no doubt figure as we raise a glass to 2012.
By a country mile, the very best experience for me came in August this year: Publication Day in Germany. My Twitter feed went ballistic as good wishes poured in from all over the world. I was a published author at last! Sharing it with you guys made it all the more special. I can't wait to do it all over again when The Murder Wall is published in the UK in April 2012.
In the meantime, thanks for all the support you've shown me over the year. Wherever you are tonight, I wish you all a very Happy New Year!