To all the speculation as to why the teen vampire "Twilight" series by Stephenie Meyer has become such a colossal success (25 million copies sold), add yet one more theory: Meyer knew how to use the Internet.
A piece in the LA Times this weekend reflects on Meyer's "brilliant and strategic use of the Web."
Apparently Meyer set up her own website (rather than simply relying on the one set up by her publisher) and began engaging personally with fans. She went to their blogs and posted comments. She revealed herself to be "affable and human, surprised to have fans and genuinely delighted by their interest. "
Probably not a bad example for writers everywhere.
Of course, in the end, the LA Times piece concludes, it's the books themselves that carry the day, with their drawn-out romance and their socially acceptable vampires who happen to look like supermodels.
And yet, the story points out, wild-fire success did not come instantly. "It wasn't until the third book in the saga, 'Eclipse,' came out in August 2007 that Meyer's online presence and the word of mouth her books inspired reached the tipping point."
So I guess this is the lesson for other writers: First, have a good idea, but then it wouldn't hurt to learn how to nurture it patiently online.