Sunday, July 1, 2012

Jennifer Weiner Talks About Social Media and Controversial Topics

The article to which I'm linking in galleycat discusses women's fiction author Jennifer Weiner's take on social media...which covers many aspects, from blogging to twitter.

The quote below is pariticularly interesting to me because it took me a while to find a comfort zone as far as blogging went. Even though I'd spent a long time reviewing and interviewing bloggers for BGB I still had trouble figuring out what I wanted to do with my blog. I put it off for a long time, until I was forced to do it.

Obviously, there’s a promotional element to any kind of social-media presence an author has but it should NEVER be just, ‘Hi! It’s me! Buy my book!’ You have to give people something of value, whether it’s your funny take on reality TV, or recipes, or stories about your life, or your family vacation, or your garden whatever. If all you’re doing is shilling, not only will you not sell your book, you will actually and actively drive readers away.

I'm also not a huge fan of expensive author web sites, so I chose to blog regularly instead. I started thinking like a business person and author long before I started to self-publish. Blogging isn't costly; web sites can be costly. Authors in sub-genres are not like authors who have sales like Stephen King and Jonathan Franzen. I know there are people who disagree with me on this. But when I think in terms of business I think in terms of profit, not loss.

Besides, I truly prefer the interaction with readers and other authors that blogging allows me. I wouldn't have that with an author web site where I didn't blog regularly and I would miss it. Blogging also allows me to vent, rant, and offer advice whenever I feel like it. In a word, it's cathartic for me. It's my own world where I can say and do whatever I want. I also learn from blogging...I wrote several posts about book pirating that told me more than I would have learned anywhere else. So, for me, blogging may have begun as an awkward way to talk about my books and my writing. But it's evolved into something very different for me.

As for controversial topics on social media, I think Weinder nailed it with this comment.

Some of the response is predictably silly – there are people who believe that once you’re on the bestseller list you’ve forfeited your right to complain about anything, or even point out when things are unfair. Some of it is really painful, like when a quote-unquote ‘literary’ lady writer says that the only reason I care about the issue of who the Times reviews and profiles, and how frequently, and in which section, is because of the way they’ve treated me (which, of course, is absurd – if all I cared about was getting a Times review for myself, wouldn’t I spend all my time praising the paper, instead of pointing out what it does wrong?)

Nowadays I've noticed it's becoming increasingly popular to brand authors as "behaving badly" whenever they feel something is unfair and they speak up about it. It's like we don't have the same rights as everyone else to speak up about something we think needs to be addressed. I especially like the reference to the "literary lady writer" Weiner talks about. These "literary" types seem to get away  with anything they want under a thin layer of what is considered "literary."

You can read more of the interview here. There is a lot more to learn about social media and articles like this are worth the time.

Or, as the "literary" types would say: "One can read more here, where one can learn more."

1 comment:

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