Angeline and Hadrian’s Book and Random Stuff
I haven’t actually talked about anything related to writing/my fiction in awhile. For some reason I’m really good about just talking about what my current projects are and where I am on them on my other pen name’s blog. As a result, all of my blog followers are readers of the fiction who want to actually discuss the fiction. And I love that, which is why comments are open. I enjoy that blog a lot more. So I’m not sure why I’ve drifted into rants about a million different topics on this blog.
I think it’s because when I started the Zoe blog it was all about writing and publishing and indie rah rah. I attracted a lot of writers. I don’t dislike writers, I just felt like I wasn’t attracting READERS. So I didn’t know how to fix that problem. Talking about my fiction and my process when I’d already attracted a “writer group” didn’t seem like it would help.
So I just started blogging about anything and everything and this blog started to become my personal soap box. Which isn’t good either. I have strong opinions about literally every single topic under the sun, but you really don’t need to know them. Because really, unless you KNOW me, you are likely to take it the wrong way. And then it’s alienating and readers stop reading. On the one hand I feel like… particularly someone who will TELL me they won’t read me anymore because of some personal opinion I have… that that’s a sort of bullying behavior like: “Stay in line, author!” On the other hand… I won’t eat at Chick-Fil-A because of their support of anti-gay groups. So while chicken has nothing to do with bigotry on the surface, because they were so loud about their personal views, yeah, it pushed me away. I never had to know about that. And if I never did, I could still be enjoying waffle fries and chicken sandwiches. (Though, I DID get a fantastic homemade copycat recipe and YUM. Actually better than CFA.)
So, while it doesn’t feel “fair”, the same thing can happen as an author if someone sees me spouting off about something that offends them. This is why it probably actually isn’t a very good idea for readers and authors to get “too close” to begin with. Social media and blogs pretty much whittle away from the boundaries necessary. If I enjoy an author I do NOT follow them on Twitter or Facebook or read their blog. Why not? Because I want to keep liking them. If they someday say something I find deeply offensive, it’s going to take away from my enjoyment of their fiction. I mean, I’m not going to go tell them I’m not reading them anymore, but I won’t be able to enjoy the fiction as much. But I consider that as much my fault as the author’s fault. It’s an author’s fault for blurring those social lines with readers by oversharing. But it’s a reader’s fault for getting too close as well. It’s not a one bad guy situation. The issue isn’t “who is at fault” but “why has this boundary/wall been breached?”
And all this ignores the fact that blogs and twitter and facebook don’t sell books. (IMO.) It may let FANS know about a new book or a work in progress and where you’re at, but you aren’t likely to sell to NEW people who just stumbled across you because you have a witty blog that showcases some arcane part of your personality. Or because you tweeted and social networked with them.
The people who buy your books because of your blog/social media were already buying your books for the most part. I know there are exceptions, but those exceptions are on the wrong end of the 80/20 rule.
So I sort of fell into this trap of… “Gotta be interesting, but want to attract readers”. In reality, there are MANY subjects that I really should only discuss with close personal friends because there is no way to discuss it on an internet platform without pissing SOMEONE off. And frankly, it’s too much drama. There is no net benefit there.
I don’t want to have to perform like a circus monkey to get you to read my books. If you have to know all my philosophies in life and what I do with my spare time in order to read my fiction, then maybe I should re-evaluate the type of fans I want to attract. (i.e. do I want to attract people who feel they have the RIGHT to know every opinion I have on every topic? Or every book I’m reading? Or etc. And the answer is: Not really, no.)
So at this point, I see blog, Twitter, and Facebook as a potential way to connect with readers about the work and to let fans know where I am on projects or when new things come out. (Newsletter is also a good way to find out about that.) Sometimes readers post to me on Twitter or Facebook and of course I want to be gracious when people take time out of their lives to tell me they liked something I wrote or to ask me a question about it. I don’t want to be “unapproachable” on the internet.
At the same time, realizing that blogs and social media don’t really “sell books” except to fans who would have bought them anyway, takes the pressure off. I don’t have to write a blog that attracts a ton of readers. I don’t have to be controversial. I don’t have to stay away from writing-related topics that writers might like. With comments off this is not an interactive forum, anyway. (I did have my blogs posting on Goodreads, but I deleted it.) I just don’t want to create “forums” or “social interfaces” that I have to manage or moderate. Or where I’m just going to ramble on in big WALLS OF TEXT comments. I hate when I do that. ugh.
I think the problem for me is two-fold. My reason for sharing things and “talking a lot” is the quintessential introvert reason: “To get ideas out”. When confronted with too much “debate”, I become quickly overwhelmed. But people rarely interpret that at face value. It’s usually more a “she can dish it out but can’t take it” understanding of the situation. I should write more in my personal paper journal to get ideas out and keep the internet more professional.
The other end of the problem is: right now I’m focused seriously on my other pen name. I just released a new book last week, and I’m about halfway through the rough draft of the next one. After this book I have one or two other books for that pen name I want to write (probably just one) before I switch back to Zoe.
So there isn’t any “Zoe work” that I’m working on right now. I expect to be working on rough draft of Hadrian and Angeline’s book by spring and I’m really excited about their story. For those who are familiar with Hadrian from The Catalyst and Dark Mercy and Angeline from Dark Mercy, I think you’ll really like it. Also, this book will make the novella, Dark Mercy, more complete. So I’m excited to write the book, I’m just not in a place to write it right now because I have other priorities at the moment.
So without current Zoe work my options are to blog about non-writing-related topics, or just not blog. I used to think just not blogging was a bad thing, but maybe not. Maybe it’s better to just not say anything if I don’t have anything to say that needs to be said.
Also, some may notice that I’ve deleted about 4 months worth of posts, which actually wasn’t a lot of posts because I haven’t been blogging nearly as frequently as I used to. I deleted them because most of them were in one way or another “controversial”. Even though I don’t post having the explicit intention of “being controversial”, the basic fact that I have extremely strong opinions, and most of the time they significantly differ from the mainstream on one or more point… by definition it becomes controversial/offensive to someone.
And contrary to some people’s opinion, I don’t actually “get off” on being controversial, contrarian, offensive, or difficult. I just have strong opinions and very little self control when it comes to sharing them. But that’s a personal problem for me to work on.