Oct 21

Is Blogging a Waste?

Writers are often told they "need a blog" to "get known" or promote themselves or their book, but I find that it doesn't work that way. It can't work that way when every writer has a blog and every blog has a writer. I've been writing two blogs, including this one, since 2007, and for various reasons and under various names have started 5 others, 3 of which still serve a purpose, and admit I spend a lot of time on them; if not writing, then reading them, because I'm fascinated by what I -- or my pseudonyms, because only two blogs run under my real name -- have written over the years. Some the blogs include photographs or videos. I write them only when I'm inspired to do it and work at making them good.

Should the energy going into blog posts have gone into poems or other literary work? And I realize that isn't a question. A writer should write whatever he or she likes. I'm far more eager to write blog posts and articles than I am to write poems that, like children, need not only to be born but need to be brought up and disciplined like a ballerina and then sent out to flutter and starve and freeze in a blizzard of poems, a wintry world in which everyone is his own favorite poet. Or a poem is like a single chip in a casino, one bought and played at great emotional expense, while knowing the house always wins. And you know what? Nobody cares what you write but you. The future of authorhood is everyone writing his or her own book and being its only reader. Technology is making that truer by the minute. And truer than ever are those old chestnuts that the only reason to write is because you enjoy doing it, or if you are driven to do it, or if you get paid for it. If you blog to "get known" or "get your work out there," that's what's futile now.
Apr 25

Authors, Put Yourself on Amapedia

Amazon.com has a new feature called "Amapedia." You can write an encyclopedia-like entry on anything you like, and for us that's books. Others may add to this entry (as with Wikipedia), and you won't get paid but you don't have to pay for the privilege either. Easy:

1. Locate the book of your choice on Amazon.com.

2. Scroll down until you find "Product Information for the Amapedia Community."

3. Click on the link that says "Be the First Person to Add an Article" to compose an entry. Or you can add TO an existing entry. Registered Amazon.com users can start writing on the spot.

Amapedia wants facts, not opinions, and they don't want you to "cut and paste" quotations or material from other sites. If you can live with that...

Start with your OWN books or those you love!
Jan 13

Sneaky Self-Promotion for Idiot Authors

Dying to get their books into bookstores, or sell bookstore stock, authors actually do these things:
  1. Artificial Insemination: After printing colorful card-stock promotional bookmarks featuring the title and purchase information for one’s own book, an author sticks these bookmarks into store copies of bestsellers.
  1. Disturbing the Universe: A writer in a bookstore surreptitiously moves her books closer to the front, or turns them from spine-out to face-out, or re-distributes the bookstore’s stock of her book among several subjects or shelves. She doesn’t realize that the bookstore is a business, that she is not the first writer to do this, and that the bookstore clerks know the shelves as they know their own faces; after all, they have arranged the books, often to specifications given and paid for by the publishers. It is their job eight hours a day to maintain this order.
  1. The Secret Book Signing: A writer enters a bookstore, finds his own books and secretly autographs all the copies, knowing that autographed books are considered defaced and cannot be returned to the publisher, and hoping this will force the bookstore to keep all copies on the shelves until they are sold.
  1. The James Frey Awards: A writer has golden medallion-type stickers printed with the name of a fictitious award, enters the bookstore and sticks them onto his book covers hoping this will attract attention.

Not yet dead of embarrassment and shame? Pretend you are not the author, and sell a copy of your book to every used-book dealer in town. At least it’ll be shelved in a bookstore. (A tip found online.)