Monday, January 9, 2012

There's a Change in the Air

Good morning. And no, I'm not talking about snow, or the lack thereof. I'm talking about the blogosphere, the blogoverse, blogging, whatever you want to call it.

I've been picking up on these little threads lately, these little discussions, sometimes rants, often times questions, about what the hay-zoo is going on here. I remember when I started blogging, we were all in this together -- to write the best book possible, land an agent, a contract, and be published.

Then somewhere along the line, the publishing world shifted, Amazon became a god, and we found ourselves in new territory. The imposed taboo of self-publishing was magically lifted and thousands of books began appearing on this thing called a Kindle. We didn't have to query anymore. We didn't have to suffer through the agony of rejection. If we put our book out there, someone would buy it.

And the blogosphere changed. We were no longer looking for ways to write better dialogue, or find out where a hyphen truly belongs, we were looking for information in how to format, to upload, to write cohesive 400 character cover copy. We shifted our focus to meet the new demand. To jump on the bandwagon. To make a gajillion dollars as promised by the new gods of Kindle -- Konrath, Hocking, et al.

We somehow turned the blogosphere into a side show, hawking our wares, asking, telling, begging, people to buy our books, to read our books, to please just look at our books. We became singular in our attention. It wasn't about "us being in this together" anymore, it was about me, me, me.

I am guilty of this as well.

And I hate every freaking minute of it. I loathe it with a passion. Which is why I try not to do it. It annoys me. And I know how much it annoys you.

But the problem is, how the hell are we supposed to sell our books if we don't publicize, market, promote. For most of us, this isn't some little "hobby" we do late at night when the kids are in bed. Sure, it may be the dream we've finally achieved, but it's also our "job" now. We're writers, who sell books, which makes us authors, who need to make money, to put food on the table, to pay the electric bill, to maybe make enough to finally get the damn car fixed.

There's a fine line some of us seem to be walking now in the blogosphere. We have to promote, yet we don't want to annoy. But what can we talk about these days? Can we go back to being the same bloggers we used to be? Can we really discuss the merits of a semi-colon without sounding like some lame asshat? Can we actually have a decent comment thread on the nuances of close third POV? or does it all now revolve around how many we sell, what our rank is, what royalty rate is best?

I want to go back to the way it used to be. I'm sick of being an author already. And it's only been three months. I want to go back to just being a writer. Who's really stuck in the last third of her book and can't decide whether to make her hero love the heroine or hate her guts. I want the blogs to be fun again, where I can learn something, where I can help someone. Where I don't have to be Anne Gallagher - Author of Regency Romances.

I just want to be the plain old Piedmont Writer.

photo courtesy of Jimmy Emerson, AL 2006

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