Monday, February 11, 2013
The Author Is Not Important
I began blogging here over 4 years ago. Back then, Facebook was just a thing, Twitter was hardly a thing at all, and I didn't even know what a Tumblr was. Back then, you weren't anyone if you didn't have a blog.
I didn't blog because I wanted to be someone, I blogged because I had things to say and I wondered if anyone out there wanted to listen. Blogging is really more for me than anyone else. I write because writing helps me figure things out. My blogs are often jumbled and disorganized because that's how my thoughts are. The fact that my ramblings sometimes resonate with readers is a bonus. The fact that my readers often school me and provide me with insight into issues I hadn't considered is a gift. My schedule with writing and working and being part of a weird family makes it difficult for me to really engage in the on-line world, but I like having this tiny corner of the internet to hang out in, even if I'm sometimes the only person here.
As Facebook and Twitter and Tumblr and all that other stuff began to dominate our lives, I wondered if I was out of touch. When Deathday was coming out, I really tried to get out there and be social. Everyone made it seem like I'd be a failure if I didn't have a "presence." But I often felt like I was trying too hard. Fake. Inauthentic.
And that's the kiss of death. My readers, your readers, all readers, they're smart. Smarter than me. They smell BS like sharks smell blood in the water. So I pulled back a little and just focused on being myself. If that meant not being on Twitter for weeks at a time, so be it.
With FML coming out in a few months, I began to question whether I should be doing more. Are blogs even relevant anymore? Am I out of touch? Will my book fail if I'm not the social media king?
Luckily, I found this article before I went into a crazed author tailspin. It discusses the usefulness of social media in selling books. What I took from it is that I, the author, am not important. If I'm the only person driving the conversation, then I've already failed. Social media is definitely important in getting books into the hands of readers, but it's about readers telling other readers. Readers discussing what they've read. If a book's social media presence is just the author constantly badgering people to read his book, then it's pretty pointless.
Authors have to be themselves. Some rock social media. Some don't. Some will never bother being on-line. Some only want a little corner to chat with other cool people in.
I guess it doesn't matter whether blogs are passé. Eventually, everything old becomes new again—just look at Myspace. All that matters is that I enjoy doing this. And I'll keep on doing it until I don't enjoy it anymore. So long as you all promise to keep calling me on my crap.