I’ve been taking an online class on the subject of blogtours, which means finding blogs to host me as a featured author, introduce me to their audience, and hopefully interest them in my work, thereby generating readers. Most of the work of the class, so far, has been to critically evaluate our own blogs and those of other class members. I’m dizzy from staring at computer screens full of buttons and gadgets and links– instead of working on my novel– all in the name of letting people know about my recently published book. At a certain point I have to ask why.
If you write non-fiction, it makes a lot of sense to do these things, but fiction takes a different set of skills, mind-set, and talent. My audience is probably people like me, people with a similar sensibility and worldview, and the trick is to find where they are and how to reach them. But I suspect it may not be through blogging, because the fact is, I don’t enjoy it.
When my son was very young, he once lamented that none of his friends shared all his interests, and the perfect friend would be a clone. Although a clone-friend might have drawbacks, I need to find my reading clones, the people who nod with understanding when they read my stories, or chuckle at all the right places. The theory of this class is that to find them, I have to present myself to blog hosts who will allow me the space to charm their readers into clicking on my book.
But I still believe that my author-self is someone other than myself. I wanted to use a pen name for that reason, but got no further than S.B. instead of Susan, not much of a leap, but significant in my mind.
The more time I spend thinking about blogging and generating a market, the less time I get into my S.B.’s head and I wonder at the wisdom of it all. The internet holds a vast array of authors, many with interesting writing worthy of being read. Although I believe my work fits that description, if I have to stand on my head and develop a talent for cartwheels in order to be noticed, then I’m no longer a writer, am I? I am a person who can do cartwheels.
I will finish the course and try to find blog hosts, but I fear that this effort will take on a life of its own, and the ‘cure’ for anonymity may destroy the writer in the process.
7 thoughts on “A Life of Its Own”
S.B.: I feel your pain. I could have written that post! But it is worthwhile, we just need to develop a schedule. I’m thinking writing first with Internet off. Then schmoozing after. The things we do to sell books!
W.S. Gager on Writing
Thanks for that suggestion. Shutting off my router is actually an excellent idea. Otherwise there is too much temptation. I’m going to try that tomorrow.
I, too, share your pain. I get skeptical about the blogging ‘thing’ but then I find myself learning something. One thing I have noticed is that when you read what many of the pundits of Twitter et al have to say, you find them saying what are the fundamentals of communication. (Things like the word ‘you’ is powerful or to frame things in context of why it is important to the reader, etc etc.). This is just another media: basic principles remain the same. Like you, I tend not to care for all the junk plastered on blogs but as long as they serve my purpose I will ignore my bias to clean looks and simplicity (as best i can). I don’t think this process will destroy the writer in you. Frankly, it’s not that easy to destroy the writer in you. Half the time I hate writing. But that’s who I am. That’s what I do. I also like the concept of certain things, the ‘idea’ if you will. Dead Day Horoscopes is one of those. So, like you, I am going to finish this course and know that coming out of it, I will know more than I did going in. It’s easier for me with Dead Day because I look at as more of a product. It’s not “Three Years on Mars”, it’s not “The Lady with the Monkey”. It’s not as intimate to me.
I think as writers we like the intimacy we have with the page. It’s a very private experience and you may fear that the blogging thing may invade that intimacy, shatter it or something. I don’t think that is possible because the blogging thing is different. We can put in a box and tuck it in the corner or whatever. But your writing is you. Just you and the intimacy of your cerebral self with that keyboard, pen or crayon or whatever you use to take what’s in your head and put it down somewhere for the rest of us to find. Maybe blogging just makes finding it a little easier. I don’t think it will destroy the writer in you. It’s not that easy, girl. It’s who you are.
Thanks, William, f or that response. That last paragraph really summed it up. The good thing about all this blogging is that it does bring people together in this thoughtful way- I mean, sharing thoughts and ideas and responding to them. I’ve been wary of getting involved in social media and putting myself ‘out there’ for all kinds of reasons, but as my walls fall away I can see there are benefits.
I finally made it over. The tab had been up, but I just kept forgetting.
I understand what you’re feeling. I haven’t written anything since the class started. I like Dani and really want to learn how to market my books under her. She’s very bright about all of this, but the folks in our class have been dropping like flies. I don’t want to be one of them.
That said, I totally ‘get’ what you are saying. I too could have written this post.
Blogging is a necessary evil, I guess. And all the social networking sites are too. I will write when we have our last class though. Hang in Susan. We’re almost at the finish line. Don’t let it destroy the lovely writer that you are, S.B.! 🙂 I enjoyed reading.
Thanks, Robyn. It’s so nice to know that other people feel the same way (misery loves company…). It’s only another week. Let’s see it through!
Ann here, making the rounds late in the game. Some people I know are very very structured with their time, and they can set a timer, post on their blog, answer comments on the previous post, chime in on Facebook, Twitter, Goodreads, whathaveyou, and then–DING–turn it off and move on to the next task.
I think to give it an honest shot, I oughta use a timer. :-}
As for readers… one never knows where they may lurk…