Writers and Their Internet Presence

Tuesday, November 17th, 2009 • 4 Comments on Writers and Their Internet Presence

I found author Scott William Carter’s interesting blog post about writers and their web presence via Mary Anne Mohanraj’s blog and thought I would share it with the writers out there:

How Online Are You?  A Writer’s Scale of Internet Engagement

I do think every writer should have at least a moderately updated web page, with contact info and credits, but beyond that I think it depends a lot on mindset and goals.  Personally, I think if you’re serious about being a professional writer, then you really can’t afford not to explore some of the opportunities the Internet provides.  But it’s always a question of how much time you’re willing to commit and how much you enjoy it.  Writers like Cory Doctorow, John Scalzi, Jay Lake, Michael Stackpole, and Jeff Vandermeer are people I can think of right away that are on the high end of this scale, and they are all doing different things well.  Check out their sites and you’ll quickly see that these are writers making heavy use of all the digital tools at their disposal.

However, I’d actually rank someone like Neil Gaiman – who has a million followers on Twitter, and has one of the most visited blogs on the Internet — lower on the scale even though his Internet traffic is off the charts.  He’s certainly engaged with the online community, but not to the extent of the other writers I mentioned.  His enormous web traffic is coming almost entirely from his work.  If you write bestsellers, and if you win major awards like the Newbery, you’re going to have a Web presence.  You don’t even have to go looking for it.

Based on this scale, I’d put myself bouncing back and forth between a 4 and a 5.  I’d like to be closer to 7, but I don’t have the tech knowledge for podcasts and book trailers.  Maybe I’ll work on that for next year—it would be cool to have a book trailer for Fairy Tale Lust.

Mr. Carter has also come up with a writing-related activity chart that I think could be helpful in putting the writing vs. blogging and other internet chores in perspective.  I know writers who barely have an internet presence and don’t blog at all, writers who are serious bloggers and bloggers who sort of fell into writing as a result of their blogging.  I also know bloggers who started out as writers but probably don’t produce as much as they should because their blogging takes up too much of their time.  I don’t blog nearly as often as I should, but I will sometimes use blogging as a means of procrastinating from writing.  Probably not a good idea.

So, how about you?  Where are you on the scale of internet engagement?  Do you want to be higher? Or do you wish you could slip down a notch or two to have more time for writing?  I’m curious.

Posted by Kristina in Writing
  • An interesting post, and on a topic I too have been wrestling with lately.  Quite frankly, though I have a higher than average tech savvy (although not in the Internet Technology per se) I consider my presence to be very poor.  I’m out there, I have a blog that shows where I’ve been published and share some of my life and writing, but it’s unfocused.

    One problem is that I have a day job that consumes a lot of my time, and a family, though as my kids are all adults, those demands have decreased.  Bottom line, with what I time I have left, I feel I have to stay committed to the writing.  I tried to become more active in blogging, and found the commitment of resources to be too draining, so I can relate to a few of the different scenarios you mentioned.

    It is a conundrum.

  • Kristina says:

    Thanks for your insight, Craig.  I think you’re wise to put your time where it counts most—in your writing.  After all, if your goal is to be a writer and you’re not writing because you’re blogging, what’s the point in blogging?

  • Heidi says:

    Sorry I’m a little late to the party, but I really wanted to comment on this.

    I grapple with this a lot.  I have a blog, where I keep people up to date on what I’m doing and I add a few things here and there that I think are interesting. But, sometimes I wonder how effective or useful it really is. I do tend to focus on my writing more than I focus on my blogging. To me, the writing is the whole reason for the blog, so one can’t exist without the other.

    It is nice to have a place to send people if they want to find out about me, but I guess I don’t have a handle on exactly how to maximize it just yet. As with most everything else, it’s a work in progress!!

  • Kristina says:

    Hi Heidi!  I think a lot of us writers are in a similar boat when it comes to wondering how much time to put into blogging.  I do know that I’ve made some contacts through my blog that I wouldn’t have made otherwise.  On the other hand, my blog is more personal than professional—and that’s always been my problem/dilemma.  I’m not very good at creating a writer persona, so my blog tends to be a mishmash of my life, for better or worse.

    Personally, I love it when an author has a website with a personal blog.  I have always enjoyed getting to “know” the writers behind the words.

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