Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Great Blogger or Great Author?

So, I went on a first date with a young man I'll call Andrew last weekend.  He and I had a nice, quirky date over at IHOP (I have a weakness for Eggs Benedict) and we had a great conversation.  Near the end of the date, though, he told me how I was going to get my book published.  According to him, I needed to get a website, post a blog on it, and go find the top five "fantasy blogs" and begin commenting and link-dropping on them.  Eventually, I will get a following, and then a publisher will publish whatever I want them to.

Let's put aside the obvious, which would be the fact that as of right now, I know about four HTML tags, and have neither the time (two jobs plus a novel to write) nor the energy (two jobs, novel, Siamese kitten) to learn how to create one, nor do I know how to post a blog on said webpage.  I may be a child of Generation Tech, but I am strictly an end-user.  Also, I have been blogging since 2002, mostly under a personal LiveJournal before I started this blog.  So, the cheery advice to "get a blog!!" is much like "Have you heard of Facebook?"  Um, yeah, thanks, but have you heard of this newfangled contraption called Google?

Moving on.

There is a huge difference between being a great (or good, or even decent) blogger and a great (good, decent) author.  The ability to stretch a theme throughout a blog post is nothing compared to the ability to weave several themes together over 200 pages.  Also, most blogs employ either a very journalistic or a very conversational style, and are driven by information.  A novel has a narrative style, where a distinct story is told, and is driven by characters and plot.  These are honestly two different animals.

I'm not knocking the idea of becoming an Internet sensation before becoming a published author.  I mean, it worked for MegaTokyo, right?  But, the Internet is a very fickle, very capricious beast, and is insanely difficult to harness for good purposes.  However, for a topical, non-fiction blog (CakeWrecks, PostSecret, or Passive Aggressive Notes), this can be a great strategy, though I wonder if they were starting those blogs in order to accumulate enough readership to publish a book.  That said, for a fiction writer, blogging is not necessarily indicative of fiction writing ability.

All in all, scraping up some Net notoriety might not be the worst strategy, but I really wonder if it's the right strategy for someone in my shoes.  I'm going to keep blogging, as I find this insanely helpful, and I might even troll a little if I can find the "top five fantasy blogs" that aren't attached to a specific fandom.  But, I'm not going to abandon the traditional method just yet, as I'd much rather be an author than a blogger.

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