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