Monday, July 6, 2009

Web Presence

Today I sent to Tachyon Publications a blurb for Jeff Vandemeer's non-fiction book Booklife. The blurb is this:

"Jeff Vandemeer has written a fascinating book on managing a writing career, including effective promotion, use of new media, career paths, resources, networking, conventions and -- not incidentally! -- balancing all of this with actual writing. Recommended for anyone who writes, wants to write, or has written and now wonders what to do next."

All of this is true; I try hard to be accurate when blurbing. However, it is not the whole truth, which includes the fact that, for me at least, Booklife raises some troubling questions. It also fills me with guilt. The questions are: How much web presence does a writer need to succeed? What if one doesn't podcast, tweet, use Facebook and/or My Space, guest-blog on prominent sites, network and contact? Is such a writer seriously damaging his or her chances for SF success?

Vandemeer writes: "The real problem isn't making contacts -- it's identifying and paying attention to the people who really matter....The database my wife and I keep includes reviewers, bloggers, artists, writers, readers, media outlets, bookstore managers, reviewers, and several other 'types,' keeping in mind that one person can be tagged as several different types. It's a robust list from which we can call up, for example, 'all U.S. reviewers who have previously covered Jeff's books.' I even try to keep a note in the log on reviewers to indicate which books of mine they've enjoyed...This helps us help our publisher identify who to court and who to ignore for a particular project."

I do none of this (hence the guilt). Vandemeer does include, in the second half of the book, valuable advice on striking a balance between the creative and PR lives. In addition, when publicist Matt Staggs was handling my book Dogs, I was thrilled with the large web notice he created for the novel. But in general, I am severely deficient in all these areas, and the number of hits on this blog is therefore pretty low. Should I spend more time building a web presence? Probably. But the truth is, I don't want to. I like blogging, love going to cons, answer all my fan mail, and remember about twice a year to query EscapePod to see if they might want to see any stories. That's pretty much it.

Guilt, guilt, guilt.


Chet said...

I think all you need to do is include your blog's address in all your books and related materials, e.g., name card, stationery, etc.

And maybe a tagline explaining what the blog is about.

(I'm a late-comer to your blog, but now have it in my Google Reader so I know when you update it. I was touched by your post about the earthquake in China last year. It's from you I went on to google about Neil Gaiman and giant pandas and found his blog post with his pictures cuddling a giant panda cub! I volunteered in Wolong in 2007 and went on to volunteer in Bifengxia after the pandas were moved there after the earthquake.)

Neal Holtschulte said...

Having a link to your blog in books would increase hits on this site. Also, I just discovered, which is a bit like facebook for readers, but also allows for interesting commenting to be done on uploaded texts.

You might consider creating a profile.

For more info on bookglutton and some other interesting things being done see this wired magazine article: Clive Thompson on the Future of Reading in a Digital World

bluesman miike Lindner said...

An update on my dancer friend Sara, whom I mentioned on a 6/22 post.

She auditioned again that Friday. She got the gig.

She's now performing on Broadway, in the revival of HAIR!

She kept at it.

bluesman miike Lindner said...

Whatfer guilt, Nancy? Chet's got it right: at the end of every book, put That will do the trick. It's certainly worked for Paul Wilson, whose site is the liveliest I've seen.

Dave Creek said...

Imagine, Nancy, those of us who have "real" jobs and write only part-time. We barely have time to write at all, and now suddenly we have to blog and tweet, etc.?

I try to make the time to do all that anyway, and it's fun for its own sake. But if it weren't, I don't know how I'd find time to do it. And I can't say it's done anything for me in purely commercial terms. How do you get someone to find this stuff in the first place?