Archive for April, 2010

Blogging

Monday, April 26th, 2010

Actually, I suppose I’ve been blogging all my life, sending messages to readers through my books and stories. Writers seldom see their readers or know who they are. A blog, being a mini statement of intent, interest or information, may be useful for readers who want to question something I have written or express a feeling about it.

Those who know, say that a blog is a way of keeping a website alive, although for a writer, the act may require more work and attention than she feels free to give. This way of informing the visitor to a website is a feature of the mounting escalation of calls on time and effort, but I realize that I am and have been spoiled by my past situation in life.

In earlier times – the 20th century, writers who were published by commercial companies had people who were in charge of marketing their work. A writer had an editor, a PR person, and specialists who arranged tours, contacted libraries and bookstores, solicited reviews, arranged for advertising in magazines and newspapers. These people had the talents writers lacked – it’s difficult for many of us to blow our own horns and try to intrude ourselves into the attentions of others as sales people are comfortable doing. Those days faded quickly when writers who were also gifted sales promoters came on the literary scene. Publishers realized that they could save bundles by making the writers advertise their own work. The computer turned out to be a blessing for this form of salesmanship.

For reasons I’m not sure I understand, the need for publishers to save money caused them to put writers who made less than a million sales in the first 6 months of publication to be relegated to a status called “midlist.” This had been perfectly acceptable at the time before the late 1980s. After that time, many were dropped from publishers’ stables. I say stables advisedly, because although may horses are necessary for a race, only one can win, and after place and show, this leaves all the other horses at nothing, which is the way things are currently carried on.

At the same time, the advent of the computer allowed anyone to publish herself cheaply, without a backlog of unsold copies, publishing one by one on demand. Previously, the problem had been getting published, the work of a literary agent. Now, the problem is how to put one’s self forward in the overwhelming glut of written communicati0n. How does the individual grain of sand announce to the beach that its facets are worth investigating?

The cry for attention has ratcheted up from a simple announcement to a website, to a blog, to a Twitter to heaven knows what else that will be necessary to sell, to buy, to educate, to entertain, to influence, to put one’s self forward in the market place of ideas or simple howls trumpeting one’s own existence.