Thursday, September 22, 2011

Sesquincententh, or How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Blog

This marks my 150th blog post here.  It's not much of a milestone, I admit, but it's one that I think a lot of blogs never quite reach.  Several don't quite make it out of the gate with the first ten.  And I probably wouldn't have reached this if I hadn't made the decision about six months ago to post here every Monday and Thursday.  I've stuck to that schedule, and my readership has had a slow, steady gain over those six months, so on the whole I think the plan has worked out. 

One of the panels I was on at ArmadilloCon was "How Much Interaction Should Writers Have with Their Readers?", which was a bit of a strange for me.  I mean, I was asked questions from a writer's perspective, but I've had more experience from the readers.  I'm really not getting much interaction coming towards me at this stage of the game.  But being up there did help me clarify some thoughts.

Namely, how we, as writers, should best utilize social media.  With so much out there it's real easy to fall into the idea that one needs to master it all, use every element to its fullest.  Problem is, doing that can become a full time job, and then you aren't actually writing any more.  You're just juggling social media.

So, here's my best advice.  Pick one thing.  For me it's this blog.  Then use every other thing (Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Livejournal, whatever) to direct traffic back to your central thing.  That way you're minimizing the amount of "management" you need to do. 

This is probably nothing you haven't figured out already, because you're all smart people, right?  Of course you are.

That said, how should we celebrate this 150th post?  How about any reader questions will get answered in Monday's post?


leigh said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
leigh said...

It's actually the reader-interaction thing that would make the most nervous about being published, because it suddenly means that people become interested in you... as in, they want to know what you look like, where you were educated, if you have a family, your hobbies and personal interests, what religion you are, what political beliefs you hold. In other words, very personal stuff of the nature that tends to provoke strong feelings of approval or disapproval. You stop being a person and start being almost like a character yourself... perceived as being subject to interpretation and criticism, and not exactly in an information-seeking, objective way.

So, if by any wacky fantastical stretch of imagination that I ever am published, I would not necessarily want readers to find the "real" me online (ie, my Facebook page), and might opt instead to try to erase my existing web presence, however small it is, and re-create it as "Me, The Author." Then I'd have a modicum more control over the "me" I want people to see... or at least, that would be the illusion, if only to myself. Of course, that would lead to the question of if Me, The Author is taken up under the identity of Me The Person or Me The Pen Name. And if I choose Me The Pen Name (whose identity I can invent), then must Me The Person eventually become Me The Pen Name, as well?

Sooo... since a question was invited, I'll ask you one. ;) In the event of having a series published and readers overnight flocking to consume every page, are you okay with them knowing "Marshall The Person" with a film degree and a wife and child and home with Mexican-inspired interior decor in Austin, TX, or do you plan to cultivate (or are you already cultivating) your identity as Marshall The Author? Are they one in the same, or would you, like me, strive to draw a clear delineation between the two? Are there boundaries, or is your life the metaphorical open book?

(And sorry about the removed comment... it had a typo!)