Saturday, November 30, 2013

On Not Being Afraid To Share Reviews; But Not Overpimping; The Collection's Out, What Now? Part 2

So, the release of Things Slip Through has come and gone. I've watched it pop up the Amazon rankings in "horror short stories" and slip off again. The first day it shot all the way to #28, and the highest it's been since then is #55.  Last night it made a brief showing at #91.

It's been very interesting talking to my publisher and seeing exactly how many purchases (apparently, not many) it takes to affect the rankings. This is my first time dealing with such things, and it's been educational, exciting, and a lot of fun.

Of course, it's also prompted me to think - and kinda worry about - how much is enough in blogging and posting about all this stuff. On one hand: it says very clearly on all my social media profiles: writer. So if you added me or follow me, you should expect regular writing updates: reviews when they come in, news, interviews, sales, etc. 

Of course, readers are interested in more, these days. Especially in the "social-media/fishbowl" era of publishing. They not only want to know about a writer's successes and failures and pitfalls and lessons learned, they want to know about their lives, their everyday, average trials and tribulations as not only a writer but also a human

And I get that. Some of my favorite writers are very interesting people. And to me, all my social media outlets have always been this crazy mix of my writing, personal, family, social, vocational lives - and just random wackiness. For example, yesterday on Facebook I posted the following things:

- sale that Amazon is running on all paperbacks
- a post from the bot generator "What Would I Say?"
- an update about post-turkey carnage coma
- a share of one of my favorite new horror ezines (and a publisher) Lamplight Magazine
- a notation that Things Slipped Through peeked its head up to 91 again
- several Instagram pictures from Madi's first game of the year as manager of  SCC's varsity   girls basketball team
- a closing day praise for Gary McMahon's forthcoming horror collection, Where You Live

This morning, I've posted so far:

- the opening lines of Public Enemy's "Fight the Power" as my writing rallying cry at 2:30  AM 
- a share of the ten worst metaphors/analogies ever
- today's agenda of getting a Christmas tree, more turkey, and maybe some writing
- my lament that Jean Claude Vandamme is acting again
- a comment on the movie I, Frankenstein, and how I'd totally write a tie-in

Two nights ago, I posted the following excerpt from an exchange between Abby and I at the dinner table:

Dinner at the Lucia's - 

Abby Kennedy Lucia: "Ow."

Me: "What's wrong?"

Abby: (rubbing her arm) "Nothing. A patient scratched me at the hospital today."

Me: "Oh, great. That's how EVERY zombie epidemic starts..."

Abby: "Whatever."

Me: "Hey. Keep away from brains, lady."

Abby: "I think you're safe, trust me...

And it received nearly 30 "likes." My comment that Walmart on Thanksgiving was "true horror" received over 40 likes.  I think it's safe to say that my social media outlets are a portal to my life ENTIRE, not just me pimping my wares.

But still, I worry about it a little. I'm down in my office, writing new stuff every day, targeting other markets, bigger markets, and I'm not hanging my hat on this one collection. Two days ago I sent off a novella that has the potential of being published in my biggest market yet, and I'm finishing off a solicited serial novella, after which it'll be back to BILLY THE KID. And I'm always tinkering with other stuff, and there's the December edition of "Horror 101" to consider.

So obviously I've got more on my mind than just this collection. And, as the weeks pass and things settle down, (there are few more reviews out there yet to pop up), I'll post less and less about the collection. Its sales are trickling in, which is just fine with me, people seem to really like it, and that makes me happy.


I'm excited. I'm happy about the collection, I'm happy that it's finding a receptive (granted, small) audience. So I'm going to share all that, along with all the other craziness that is my life.

And I shouldn't feel bad about it. Especially when I see lots of authors doing the same thing.

But sometimes, I still do. I worry folks will roll their eyes and think: "Oh, great. He's posting about THAT again." Or, this blog: is this just useless navel-gazing? Me trumping my own horn about my writing and my collection, something no one is really interested in reading anyway?

Most of the time, this stuff doesn't bother me. I do my thing and move on. But, every now and then, the anxiety rears its head. So here it is:

If you're sick of hearing about Things Slip Through, I'll move on eventually, I promise. The reviews will stop coming in, eventually sales will REALLY slow down or halt entirely, and I'll move on to the next thing. I'm just young and excited and want to share, that's all. Hopefully - if I'm so blessed - if I'm still writing 20 years from now, I'll still be this excited.

And this not to say that anyone's complained, because they haven't. I'm just a bit insecure is all, and am half convinced that no one's interested in anything I have to say half the time, anyway.

Well, this blog has kinda gone off the rails, so I think I'm gonna end it with this: recently, talented author Mike Duran (if you haven' t read his stuff, you should), posted a blog about blog writing advice for newbie authors.  He makes some good points about not boring your audience with stuff all about you.

And honestly, I'm pretty neutral about all he has to say, except for this: I don't really think about what I'm going to blog at all. Which is not to say I don't care, far from it. But I don't strategically plan my blog. I don't consider what's "attractive" to blog readers. I don't think: "Wait. I already blogged about my writing this week. Can't do it again; blog readers might get bored."

I blog about whatever I'm thinking about that moment. I'm a writer, so very often it's writing. On Thanksgiving it was about what I felt thankful for. Who knows what it'll be next week? Maybe it'll be something interesting to folks, maybe it won't. 

See, I have very limited time in which to blog. BUT, paradoxically, it's also necessary for authors today to leave some sort of regular, digital "footprint." So if I'm going to do it, I'll blog about something I really care about. Maybe others will care about it, too. Maybe not.

Same risk you run in writing fiction, honestly...