Somehting to think about . . .

Hunger and the fear of failure . . . when you hit the wall, the only way left is up.

~Lorelei Bell

Friday, March 18, 2011

Popularity: What It Means For A Writer

When I remember my childhood, even as I grew up and got through high school, the whole idea of being "popular" was not high on my list. Did I have friends? Sure. Do I have friends now? Of course. Do I get invitations from said friends? Not often. Do I get phone calls from them, birthday cards or emails out of the blue? Not really. But then, I don't send cards out, unless it's a thank you, call them, or email them too much either.

Does this bother me? Not really.

It used to. I've become used to the idea that people like me for who I am, and it doesn't go beyond that. If I need something from someone, like a ride home, or even a dollar, for whatever the reason, I know that someone would gladly give it to me, and they want nothing back in return. They simply are the types of people who would do something nice for me. I seem to have some great friends.

Am I popular? I really don't know if "popular" would be the word. I have come to realize that people at work know who I am before I even know their name (there's a big turn-around rate at the bus company, being that every few years the college students who work there graduate and leave, and a new crop come in). I'm a likable person.

Now, let's take a look at popularity in the virtual world.

Yesterday I was at the Writer's Digest site and I caught a discussion on how to get readers to your site. The operative word is READERS. Not just other writers. How does one do this? Well, first, I guess you have to get yourself a book, or something published in order to bring them to your blog. That blog has to be advertised someplace, of course. But also, you still have to get the notice of readers who want to stop by your blog, so you have to have some knowledge of what SEO's will work.

Now, granted, I'm not certain how this is done. Seems I learn something new all the time about blogging. Every blog I follow is posted by another writer. Well, almost nearly. There seems to be a trend now with a lot of "blog hopping", oh, and posting something every dang day! The whole idea behind it is to get other "writers" to your blog. Other writer friends are wonderful, don't get me wrong. We need our writer buds, we like feedback, we need their support. But at what point is this blog hopping too much? I think I've seen where a lot of writers who hold down jobs and have families, etc. & simply can't keep up this sort of blogging day to day. When do you say to yourself "I can't keep up with all this?" You almost have to, or you'll drive yourself to the nut farm, your husband (or wife), will threaten divorce, and your children will go unfed. Just joking, but I happen to know you can not have it all. You can not burn the candle at both ends and expect to survive, simply because you are trying to become "popular" get more followers, and so forth. You have to realize that type of popularity is okay, but will it get you actual "readers"?

I've simply no time to blog hop, or jump every time there is some sort of contest, or challenge in the blogging world. You have to leave comments, and then visit all the other blogs/links on a post of everyone who is doing this, and then go back to your blog and post something about it with all the other blogs links and so forth--when would I have time to do actual work on what I want to do?

Slow modem aside, this would take me hours of time to invest. I do not have time for this. And I had to question the reason behind it all. Is it some sort of contest to get a lot of followers? To become "popular" like it was in high school? I'm not really sure. The real question is boils down to this: is popularity of this sort going to help me down the road? Will it pull in people who will buy my book? I'm not really sure. Maybe a few writers will buy and read it. I do know some who have bought my book, and I surely thank them for doing so. But what will hours a day spending it at every blog I follow do for the sales of my book? Maybe absolutely nothing. Meanwhile, my own writing suffers. Plus I work full-time to bring in money to pay the bills. When would I have time? Sure, possibly for some of you this is considered fun. But if you are a writer, you need to work on your writing.

The Writer's Digest discussion about what type of followers you wanted: writers vs. readers had gone back and forth until one person said that there was an author of science fiction who didn't write posts directed toward other writers, and wrote on various things that his readers would want to read about. Like things in the news, politics, and so forth. He's pretty popular, and I saw his blog. He simply has the knack for writing about things that make people--his readers--who want to read whatever he has to say about news, religion, politics and other everyday things. This works for him mainly because he cares about such things. Plus, obviously he has time to post blogs--sometimes twice in a day!

What works for one writer, might not work for another. Besides, keeping up with all the news in the world, or even around the country is neither in my interest, or something I can do. I simply don't have time to do this. Plus, I don't just have one blog to keep up, I have several. I have this one, Something Nebulous Within, which is aimed at other writers out there who are just starting out and need encouragement, and maybe keep them aware of certain new trends--when I know about them, and can post about them, of course. Here at Nebulous, I've also posted from my journal from years ago, allowing you all to see where I was at one time, and that basically, we've all been wannabe authors.

I've just recently re-vamped (sorry), my other blog and renamed it Vampire Writer's Retreat. Here I will try and only post on things pertaining to vampires, whatever it might be.

At Lorelei's Muse, since this is my official author's site, I will post there more often, and about whatever interests me.

The fourth blog is called Lorelei's Archives, where I post only my writings--either from my books--ones which are published, and the ones I'm working on--and other things that I've written. I may post a portion of a chapter over at Muse, but I'll have the remainder over at Archives. I don't often post my poems, unless they've been published, and even those I don't like to share too often.

So, this is where I am at this point. I've been blogging for about 3 years now. You will not find me blog-hopping. I might visit a few blogs every day, but I will not keep up a hectic pace, and I refuse to bend over backwards to receive any "awards" to post on my side bar, so please understand this, I do not have time to do the dance. You either like me for who I am, or you don't. If you want to follow me, wonderful! I'd love to have you along. I will come by your blog, if you have one, and especially if you stop and make a comment. If you're a "reader", stop in on face book. I have a face book fan page for my book, Vampire Ascending. I love comments at my posts, whichever blog you like to follow.

So, have you ever thought about this? Are you in a quadry as to what is important to you? Do you really need 50 more followers, after sitting at your computer all day working on pinging back to other blogs, you have to ask yourself if it's all worth the effort and what you want to accomplish with your own writing. I've made my decision based on realistic values, my time, efforts and what I want to accomplish. It doesn't concern me much if I tick someone off because I didn't work my butt off to "earn"an award. I won't do that. I either earn an award because of what I've already done, or I'll refuse it. My time is mine to use as I wish and popularity contests are not my bag.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Turning Point

Possibly the one thing I can say when I compare my life now with ten years ago is that I'm able to say I'm published, and have two books out there, should anyone want to buy one.

I happily cashed my check from my publisher today, went to Office Max and bought print ink and a surge protector--which I've needed forever--and now I don't have to unplug things when I leave. In fact I would have to unplug my phone modem every time I left the room in fear of having a surge or something like our lights merely going out for a few seconds would do my modem in. Now, I'm safe.

I've been sending people out to buy the remaining copies of my book over at our local Borders store before they run out or close. I hate to see that store close. A lot of people liked it better, everyone I spoke to about it closing said the same thing, that it was more relaxing to sit in there, or browse.

I've also been lucky in winning books at various blogs. I won All Hallows Blood by Raven Corinn Carluk, just a few weeks ago, and just today I found out I'd won Chelsea Quinn Yarbro's An Embarrassment of Riches. Now if only I could win the Publisher's Clearing House sweepstakes, I'd be set for the rest of my life!

But really, I remember struggling with my writing. Not knowing if my writing actually sucked, or why agents were not inclined to take me on. It got to a point in my life where I didn't have time to dawdle with waiting on replies that usually wound up in the negative. My first book to see print was a gamble. Even though I knew it was good, I had no promotion behind it--being that it was a POD publisher who charged for everything I might want. And since it was mainly in a light fantasy category, I didn't really have a ready-made audience for it. I knew with Vampire Ascending, I had an audience ready and willing to buy--no matter what those people in New York say. People are still looking for another good vampire book, and I've got it. The publisher for this book has backed it and are doing a great job of promotions. I'm trying to help it by getting out there to people, either being spot lighted in various vampire blogs, or wherever I think it will do good.

So, yeah, even a year ago I was trying to find a publisher, and even tried a couple of agents, just to make sure I wasn't wrong in trying to find another POD. I wasn't. And the one ebook publisher apparently didn't want it either, so I think I made a good choice.

Now, I'd better get back to work.