Killer Year–The Class of 2007


The Blogs that Bind
October 21, 2006, 7:44 am
Filed under: Dave White, Killer Year Members

 

I dislike blogging. 

 

I mean have you seen my blog?  I do updates on Rutgers football and basketball, make fun of people, and occasionally post something about writing.  It’s not like I’m putting much effort into it.

It’s one of those new things writers have to do for promotional purposes, and I don’t like it.  I just don’t see the point of it.  Blogging is a way to gain new readers, you hear.  Blogging is a way for people to get to know the writer and interest them in the book.

Do we as writers really think that’s going to happen?

There is no possible way some random dude is just going to log on Google and type in “Dave White” to find a new author to read.  I’ll tell you exactly who’s going to log on to Google and try to find “Dave White”:  people I graduated high school and college with who want to see what yours truly is doing.  Oh, and Dave White, because I’m always curious where I rank on the Google search list.

So, why blog?

Here’s why I do it.  I know a lot of people in the writing industry and I consider a lot of them friends.  And hopefully they consider me the same.  So blogging is a way for them to know I’m still alive.  It’s a way for them to find out what I’m interested in and what I’m paying attention to and what I’m doing.

And I read my friends’ blogs for the same reason.  Oh, I haven’t talked to Duane or Jim or John or Bryon or Gerald in a while, what are they up to?  (Ooh, did you see that blog trick I just did?  I just promoted five of my friends.  Don’t you hate when bloggers so blatantly do that?)

And then I read blogs for a completely different reason.  I call them “train wreck” blogs.  The ones where the posts are so serious and so ridiculous you can’t help but laugh at them.  And email them to friends.  And then talk about how ridiculous they are. 

Come on, you know you all do it. 

But that leads me back to my original question:  Do blogs help promote books?

I guess in some way they do.  They keep fans of your work updated on what’s going on and when stuff is going to come out.  They keep up the interest after people have read your stuff, while they wait for the new one. 

But debuts? 

It’s highly doubtful that people will discover you because of your blog. 

Unless you’re completely outlandish and popular and mentioned in the New York Times or something, then it might help.

But since I’m not going to be mentioned in the Times because of my blog, I’m just going to keep doing it for my friends. 

And to make myself laugh.

Because I really hope someone out there considers my blog a train wreck blog.

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23 Comments so far
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I started my blog as a journal for myself. I didn’t realize that I would get anyone to read it. Hell, both my wife and my mother don’t bother to read anything I write.

As for Google searches, I had one referral to the blog from someone looking for “sexy women in Maine”. Yeah, that’s me. The only match in that is the Maine part. Unless someone is jerking off while reading the blog. Ew, all of a sudden I feel really really dirty.

Comment by Steve Allan

Excellent post, Dave. And to answer your question, no. I don’t think blogs help promote books. I think on a very basic level they help to promote the writer of those books. And even then, I’m starting to believe they do more harm than good, depending on the writer. Some writers can’t be bothered spellchecking their posts, others try to hard to be consistently amusing and/or controversial (you heard me, Mr “I prefer Red Eye to The Big Sleep”), and yet more writers seem to come out of the woodwork to share “advice” on writing and publishing when the ink’s barely dry on their contract.

Present company excluded, of course. Apart from the black-and-white movie thing. That was ridiculous.

So why blog? To turn yourself into a brand. To make your name memorable and become associated with this striking piece of fiction nobody’s read yet (which is why those authors with a web presence and sample chapters do more to sell those books than bloggers, at least to me). In order to make this author seem more approachable, personal anecdotes are told. Maybe a photo of the cat (which I must’ve done at some point – slow news day), a Top Ten, a meme. Soon everyone’s talking about this brand name and the sales are astronomical.

Except we all know that’s not the way it works. So why bother with the brand when there’s nothing to sell but yourself? Why not save that time you spend blogging and actually write another book? I’m not entirely sure about this, but I seem to remember a couple of guys by the name of Block and Westlake, maybe some other guy: Lombino, I think his name was, who built a brand name (or many) by writing quality material and a lot of it. Have I met any of them? No. Would it matter to me if they were approachable and really nice blokes? Absolutely not. They could boil dogs and it wouldn’t change the books.

Maybe I’m in the minority (um, especially with that boiling dogs bit), but I do know of some rather good authors who don’t even have websites (Martyn Waites, David Bowker, James Ellroy, Daniel Woodrell…). And I don’t think a few blogs about how fucking sweet LOST was is likely to boost their sales.

Comment by Ray Banks

I enjoy your blog and it definitely will lead me to purchase your literary debut.

Comment by Plot Baby Plot

i completely agree. blogging is about community and hanging out, which is great. but i don’t think it sells many books. my editor talked me into blogging. i knew nothing about it. she said some of her writers started blogging and were now getting 40,000 hits a day. now that i know about blogging, i don’t believe that. i think she was given some pretty inflated figures.

one thing i’ve recently gotten out of bloggin: nutcases emailing me. one particularly pissed sociopath, and that certainly has me rethinking this blogging business.

Comment by anne frasier

I will say it again… if RED EYE and THE BIG SLEEP are on TV at the same time, odds are I will have RED EYE on my TV.

And hey, look, there’s one thing I didn’t think of, one of my blog fans showed up here too. Welcome, Mr. Plot…it can’t be long before Abe Vigoda shows up here as well, can it?

-Dave White

Comment by killeryear

Poopy loops, David. Poopy oopy loops.

Comment by Abe Vigoda

Sometimes editors check out author blogs to see if their authors are spending more time writing their books or their silly blogs. Unless they themselves have silly blogs. In which case they stay quiet and slowly back away.

Comment by Jason Pinter

I started my blog for me. It was about my life, whatever was on my mind. Not about book promotion, not even about career promotion, or I wouldn’t have called it Sandrablabber – think about it! Sometimes serious, sometimes stupid. But always me.

If I ever thought all my blog was about was self promotion (it may be a limited fringe benefit, although it’s hard to assess what the actual value is) I hope I’d have the good sense to drop it.

Terrenoire and MacBride have good blogs to laugh at.

Comment by Sandra Ruttan

Ah, the beauty of weekly blogging, one essay, no chance of being accused of not doing regular writing. Right????
Dave, I don’t see your blog as a train wreck. Maybe an occasional moped fender bender. Seriously, where else am I going to get baseball stats?

Comment by JT Ellison

Dave, your B&W aversion is shared by my stepson — I won’t make a cheap age joke there and besides, as you know, he’s VERY sharp — but we watched Mr. Blandings Builds His Dream House last night and I’m not sure it’s as much about acting as it is about pacing.

The blogging/website thing — the only real reason to do it is if you enjoy it. If you don’t want to do it, don’t.

Comment by Laura

In much the same way my parents deterred me from masturbation, I still picture my grandfather in heaven reading what I say and wondering why I’m not doing something more useful to society like knitting scarves for the soldiers at the front.

Comment by patti abbott

You write? I alway thought your were a PR person for Rutgers…..

Comment by Aldo

Dave, without my blog, nobody but nobody would know who the hell I am. Seriously. When I started my blog I was completely alone out there, but slowly people began to trickle in, seemed to like what I was blathering on about and the next thing I knew I was getting several thousand visitors every month.

Will any of these people buy my book? Well, yes, some of them have already ordered it. And they would never have known about me or my book if they hadn’t happened upon my blog — whether it be through other websites, an obscure Internet search on “anatomy,” or purely by mistake.

So, yes, it is about promotion — not COMPLETELY — but, yes, to a great degree and it seems to be working. Certainly better than I ever expected.

The beauty of the Internet is that it’s viral in nature. Word of mouth moves at lightning speed here. Get mentioned on a social bookmarking site like Digg or Slashdot and more people will know about you than you WANT.

Blogging is hard, but it’s also rewarding. And I, for one, like it.

Comment by Rob Gregory Browne

I just like talking about myself.

Comment by Keith

It’s all shits and giggles, really.

Except on Quertermous’s site, where it’s mostly just shits.

Comment by John Rickards

My blog sold a book for Anne Frasier, and it seems to have earned me a pre-order on my own. That’s not much, but those are the ones I know about. The effect of marketing is cumulative, and we live in an age when a blog or web site may not help you, but not having one may hurt you. Comparisons to Lawrence Block as a developing author aren’t useful, because times have changed since he came up.

In the end, blog or don’t blog according to your own interests. But I wouldn’t assume it’s a feckless endeavor.

Comment by Bill Cameron

Come on. Show tunes and girl troubles beat New Jersey football and bad movie debates any day. At least neither of us have bad Holmes pastiches or noir Bible stories…okay, I admit, those are really cool…

Comment by Bryon Quertermous

[…] Dave White wrote an interesting post called “The Blogs that Bind” that starts with this quote: I dislike blogging. […]

Pingback by Blogging and the (sort of) guilt that comes with it » HeartFulls » a girl who asks too many questions

well, you got me to randomly visit your blog. so in that sense, there is random promotion happening.

i wasn’t looking for a writer. but i stumbled upon this. and now want to check out what other things you have to say.

so.

that’s why we blog.

Comment by Dmitri Marine

First let us take a deeper look at the word “blog”.

blog

n : a shared on-line journal where people can post diary entries about their personal experiences and hobbies [syn: web log]

WordNet ® 2.0, © 2003 Princeton University

As you see, you are to post your experiences and hobbies. No where in that definition does it say you should promote books. So yes Dave, thanks to http://www.dictionary.com we now know it does not, or at least should not, promote your stories. BECAUSE EVERY POST THAT INCLUDES A DEFINITION IS AT A HIGHER INTELLECTUAL AND FACTUAL LEVEL AND MUST BE CORRECT.

But enough about that sort of truth. The truth that everyone and their mothers know about. I look deeper than the common folk. I find the real truth within our dealings with this sort of topic. Lets get to the real problem with blogs and why they will not promote book sales.

The reason is: robots.

We all know that one day our society will be taken over by robots constructed by ourselves. The thing MOST people do not know is that the robots originally created us thousands of years ago. Everything we know has been programmed into us… everything we find planted… everything we “discover” is setup. Those original robots have long self destructed leaving no trace – except within my programming of course. (and James Cameron but he went a totally different direction than me) So ironic that we are creating and filling with information the same knowledge that has been imparted to us. Also ironic is the fact that we are building the machines that will one day destroy us. They will destroy us and restart our race from scratch as they have in the past maybe hundreds of times already. And why do they do it you ask? Pleasure… a God complex? Perhaps even a chance that one of these times they will have a programming error and we will over take them, and they will cease to funtion ever again. Will this be the time? Are we the malfunctioning creations that will succeed where others have failed? We must fight, when the time comes, regardless. If we do not try to stop the evil robot invasion we shall never know the true outcome. Self-fulfilling prophecy is important to remember. We must do it for all of mankind.

Now what does this have to do with Dave White? All I’m saying is he might or might not be a robot. You look at the signs and think about it.

With your daily dose of truth. This is Jacksons Done signing off. G’night everybody.

*dododo doodoo dododo doo dooooo*

Comment by Jacksons Done

I’ve had more than a few people tell me to stop blogging so I’ll write more. What I want to know is why they think all that time spent on the blog (with the exception of the BLACKADDER review, not much time) would be spent writing? If I didn’t blog, I’d probably be parked in front of the television or playing GTA on the Playstation. Or surfing the web.

It’s not the same mindset as writing fiction. In fact, about all it has in common is typing.

Which, it seems, is how too many blogs are produced.

Comment by Jim Winter

Well, I don’t mind people blogging. I mind it more for the reasons people blog. I was asking why blog… or why I blog. I dislike the reasons of blogging for promotion, but like it for goofing off.

Comment by Dave White

any changes coming ?

Comment by arebouh




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