I know people love all kinds of diversions, all kinds of toys, and I’ve even got a Facebook and Twitter account–but I never use them. I tried to use em as they were designed, but they just never interested me. I personally find it a huge “time suck,” and I just don’t have that kind of time to get sucked up (hell, I gave up my fiction writing morning just to post this). I don’t have a smartphone, and I don’t walk around wanting to be that connected:
On toilet now, reading latest NatGeo.
OMG–time to wipe!
KMN– out of TP!
Whew–good thing for previous NatGeo lying around….
But I understand the allure to those who do. I understand the diversion. The fun of it. But for me, with no book tour, nothing new other than “still writing next work…” I’m just not one to post every stinking waking action of my day on the Internet for everyone to roll their eyes over.
And does using any of these forms of social media really sell books?
Does the huge expenditure of effort being levied upon authors really justify the end result?
Prove that it does, don’t just tell me you “Yeah–it does! It gives me another avenue to talk about my stuff, to forward my stuff, to post my stuff! I get new ideas on stuff I never would have had! My 10th cousin in Alaska never would’ve known about my stuff if….”
And if you didn’t do that, would your work have sold any better? For realsies?
Give me the numbers. Facts and figures. I’m all ears.
As Mr. Andrei Codrescu says himself, I don’t think this has been proven, or more to the point, I don’t think it will be proven. I don’t think that the warranting of forcing authors to spend huge amounts of time behind FB or Twitter, or even having to have them, is really justified, but I’m sure critics out there will prove me wrong (and I know the “same set of numbers” can be used for or against any argument, so I have been a bit facetious, here, in my call for numbers…). I think that the only real thing that will ever sell books…are great books. Period. Yeah, the argument can be made that books don’t sell unless someone knows about them, but come on, everyone talks about something they’ve come into contact with that they feel is good…or bad, and this has been going around since way before computers. There’s absolutely no new mechanic, here. Just a medium. And to that end, everything sells books. I think at least one of the things that has become the issue in today’s publishing, from my limited vantage point, is that there are so many freaking more books out there, so the Suits need to push them more than ever before–and I’m not even going to get into whether or not all these books are even better than before, because, like with everything else in the world, of course there are the good and the bad…it’s just that with more of anything you naturally get the increased statistics of more good and more bad. It’s a numbers game and, to my little mind, that’s exactly what the Suits are playing. I don’t know enough about that part of the business to say whether or not that’s good or bad, but I have heard and tend to believe that it’s a bad thing that publishers no longer seem to take an interest in cultivating authors like “the old days.” That’s what I hear from published authors, editors, and agents….
But, back to our story.
Perhaps my stance says something about my life, I don’t know (okay, I do know, but screw it!), but I love my life and I really don’t want everyone to know every second of my day. It’s my day–go get your own day, goddamit. Live your own life.
But I loved the statement in the Soap Box Mr. Codrescu made, in that authors need to be somewhat mysterious. I liked that a lot. It’s like with movie stars, I really don’t care to know their political views, but I love their acting ability. I like the mysteriousness of what I may think is their life… that they might agree or don’t agree with me… or that we might get into spirited discourse over the nature of metaphysics…or that we might share the same love of iced tea….
But I don’t want to read such blather about them waking up, making coffee, or taking a shit.
But…I understand the allure.
Do you really get that?
Life is lonely by yourself. It’s fun to reach out and touch somebody. To feel a part of something bigger, even if that’s just called LIFE. I think that has a lot to do with all this massive infusion of technology into our lives. The everyday grind ain’t so much fun [to most] and sharing the pain with others helps make things a little more….bearable.
Just flat-out fun.
Share the pain. The joy.
There’s absolutely nothing wrong with that. Nothing.
Just don’t make that a requirement to living.