By Josh Lanyon On Sep 16 2009, 4:47 am
When I realized last night that I had a blog due here at Samhain, my immediate reaction was a sinking sensation. Not again, I thought, and I can’t help wondering if readers don’t feel something similar.
Don’t get me wrong. I love interacting with my readers; it’s one of the perks of the job. But I just finished the rough draft of one novella, I’ve got another due on Wednesday of next week, a third novella due on the 30th, edits to my print book for Somebody Killed His Editor due on the 21st, and edits for another mainstream project due on the 30th. I would be lying if I didn’t admit to feeling overwhelmed. And as I calculate how to best use my limited resources, I’m wondering where blogging fits into this.
How much do readers really want to hear writers rambling on about their aching wrists and their looming deadlines and their pissy feelings about other writers? Surely I’m not the only one who feels a little jaded right about now with the whole blogosphere?
Again, this isn’t to say that I don’t enjoy interacting with my readers and colleagues — I do. Maybe too much. But is it necessarily a good thing to be so accessible? I’m not sure. Does it take away that authorial mystique? Probably. There is a trade off, of course. Readers feel like they know me better — and if they like me, that’s a good thing. If they don’t like me…not so good.
Do I care if everyone likes me? No. Obviously not, or I wouldn’t continue to shoot my mouth off. But I do worry that Josh the web personality wil eventually flavor the taste of my fiction for some readers. Because, speaking for myself as a reader, I don’t want the distraction of the author’s personality. If the author as character is too vivid, I find it’s one more obstacle in crossing that suspension-bridge of disbelief.
There are no blogs I visit on a regular basis. Friends blogs, review blogs, publishing news blogs: I check in when a pal is being interviewed or someone asks me look at something, but other than that, I don’t have time. Not even for those funny, clever blogs that make me laugh every time I pop in. Not even for the blogs that make me think — or teach me something. I just don’t have the time — even when I have the inclination. And generally I don’t even have the inclination. It’s nothing personal. After a few months, let alone a year or so, we’ve pretty much heard it all. Even from the people we like. Even from the people whose work we love.
Or am I the only one who feels like this? Is it the heat getting to me? My what-feels-like-permanent migraine? The deadlines? Lack of Vitamin B?
There is also the problem of writers getting too relaxed and being a little too honest with their reading public. Bitching about bad reviews is the least of it. I’m talking about bloggers stupid enough to badmouth their publishers (or publishers denigrating writers) — or revealing personal and damaging information about themselves and others. Do I want to know about your sex life or legal problems? Probably not. And when you’re feeling calmer, you probably don’t want me to know about those things either. You surely don’t want a prospective employer — or stalker — to know about them.
So what do you think about blogging? I think it’s here to stay, but how much is too much? What’s a good balance? What blogs to you frequent — and why?