I mean of having an online blog, being on Facebook, etc. I know, I know, it's part of publicizing oneself, but I feel like I spend more time keeping up with those things than writing, some days, and after reading this post on Janet Reid's site, I'm honestly wondering if the various places I have put myself online are doing more harm than good. When I Google myself (that always sounds dirty), I get lots of different stuff, not all of it self-flattering. Damn it, I started my blog because I wanted to bitch and moan and also celebrate the process of writing my book, not as some sort of publicity front. Now I'm seriously considering taking my true thoughts and feelings off line. Thoughts?

MK
www.minervakoenig.com

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Unless you're me, it's generally a good thing to just be yourself online and not worry too much about what people think. And I like facebook, but not as a self-promotion thing--it's mostly just a fun way to be in touch with old friends.
I do a blog about the biz behind showbiz, and it's got a small, but seemingly loyal and growing audience, and it even gave me inspiration for my first attempt at non-fiction, because I had several readers bug me to produce a book based on the blog. That books recently topped 110,000 words and counting. And so far I've only received one blacklisting threat from Hollywood, which means I'm on the right track.

So my online presence, while small, has had a positive affect on me and my work. I find I write better when I blog, it's like doing stretches before a run. I say don't give up on the interwebs.
I like to talk. I like to talk. I like to talk. Say, did I tell you I liked to talk? Nobody has to listen, mind you. Or agree with me. But I like to talk.
Well, hell, so do I (although in my case it's more 'I like to write'), but not at the expense of my future career. I know I'm being absurd since at this point I have no career (as a writer, that is), but I'm gonna be really pissed off if I'm turned down for publication or by an agent because they read something 'offensive' that I wrote on teh internetz a hundred years ago.
That won't happen, I guarantee you. I've been saying stupid shit on the intertubes for years and nobody gives a damn. I even asked my editor if I should clean up my blog before the first book came out (it's got some political content) and she said not to worry about it--the people who'd be offended by your blog aren't going to read your book, anyway. Alienating potential reviewers is a slightly different kettle of fish--you'd have to be a complete moron to do something like that. It helps if you avoid naming names, and/or getting too specific--although there's always some helpful internet sleuth out there who's happy to do it for you...
That's good to know, BR, because I'm a man who likes talking to a man who likes to talk.
ditto. am not sure am happy with people knowing so much about me.... so have half heartedly self marketed, but publishers request you do it. although i do enjoy chewing the fat with other writers.
For published authors, I think the point of all the social networking and blogging and guest blog posts and interviews and essays and whatever else we're doing online really just comes down to name recognition.

When I walk into a bookstore and see a novel by an author whose name I recognize, I'm more likely to pick it up. Once the book is in my hand, whether I buy it depends on the cover, the endorsements, the back cover blurb, the first few pages, etc. But in terms of a possible sale, this author is already ahead of the game when I picked up their book because I recognized their name.

For an author who's not yet published, one thing their future publisher will be looking at in deciding whether or not to buy their novel is how well the author is able to promote it online. Are they Internet savvy? Do they know how to use Facebook and Twitter? Who do they know? Do they have connections with book reviewers? Bestselling authors who might offer an endorsement? How many potential fans do they have? Do they know how to get more?

So for an aspiring author, the point of blogs and social networking is well, networking.

That doesn't mean we can't be ourselves and make friends and have fun in the process. In fact, there are a fair number of bloggers in recent years who've picked up a book deal *because* of the popularity of their posts and their personalities.

But I think whether they're published, or aspiring, authors should always consider the effect that anything they say online will have on their career before they say it. You can't control what others say about you or your book, but you *do* have control over your own words and actions.

And yes, very often, that means NOT expressing your real opinion. Because really, the Internet is far too public (and permanent) a place to do that.
I think, for me, blogging is dangerously seductive in the sense that it 'feels' like writing in a journal, but really, it's an entirely different animal. I've kept a personal journal for years, and I sincerely hope that whoever survives me after I croak will destroy the damned thing(s), because I would turn over in my grave if I thought anybody was reading that stuff. I think the thing that bothers me is 'dividing' myself -- I write about 'safe' things on the blog and the rest goes in the journal -- it just makes me feel scattered.
I so agree with this, and I am nobody, But if I recognize, one of you or anyone I am more likely to pick it up.
This is a really encouraging post, Karen - especially the part about bloggers who've picked up book deals because of their blogs. That's what I'm hoping to achieve with my blog. I've already self-published two mysteries, but I'm hoping to land a more "traditional" agent and publisher, as well as sell more copies of my books in print.

My blog has become all-consuming since I began it in May. And I've already had over 7,000 visitors, so I must be doing something right. I just hope some of those visits are translating into book sales - it's still too soon to tell. But in any case, I'm having a great time with it, and who's to say writing a traditional book is superior to writing a good blog post? They can be equally creative, IMHO.

Julie Lomoe's Musings Mysterioso
I have two blogs. One covers writing subjects, the other random, often political, thoughts. I find them useful even if no one else reads them, because writing ideas down forces me to form them better than I would if they were just carried around in my head. Even if only I read them, once they're out there, that's an "official" statement by, and of, me. There's value in that.

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