Right-o. I’m new at the whole authory bit; I’ve written a book but, as I’m learning, there’s a lot more to writing a book than just writing a book.
As part of my induction into the wacky world of words, I’ve been asked to do guest posts on bloggers’ blogs and do a couple of interviews – again, by bloggers. Now, never having done stuff with bloggers before, I invited a couple of them down to where I live, cooked up something like lunch and rambled on while they took notes, fiddled with their dictaphones or looked at me like I was mad. Both these people were very lovely, articulate types – who were doing me a big, fat favour in the form of, what is essentially, free publicity.
Each blogger (you know who you are) came down on separate occassions and each interview was different, but they both said something that I found quite surprising: “We bloggers tend not to get to meet authors like this.” Even further into our conversations, it was mentioned that meeting an author was described as an ‘honour’ and emails from them were things to be treasured; contact can be rare.
So, as a new boy, I’m wondering why the apparent divide? OK, I’m lucky to be in a position to have a bit of time to spare; I can understand that not everybody does. But for those that do: what’s the problem? Fluffy, artistic notions aside, getting a book published requires a bigger engine than just the author and bloggers are, in the 21st Century, an important part of that machine. Bottom line, whether they like your book or not, they are creating an awareness of it and giving it some virtual value. Surely hooking up in a coffee-shop is the least you can do?
Maybe I’m being a bit naive about some aspects of publishing, but that’s due to my newness. My other job is in Showbiz and there used to be a thing that actors and stage-management teams don’t hang out. I never understood that, either. The way I see it, bloggers are an essential and valuable part of a mult-tentacled process and should be viewed as integral facets. Once a book becomes a commercial product, don’t authors owe it to everyone involved to say hallo at some point?
The other thing that confused me was one blogger, having volunteered their site for my blog tour, asked me what I wanted to write on it. Without wishing to sound like The Bloggers’ Champeen, I asked what they would like me to write: after all, it’s their blog, which they’ve grown, nurtured and invested hundreds of alrtuistic hours in; it’d be a bit like staying in someone’s house for a night and redecorating it without permission.
However, most of the authors I’ve met on Twitter and in real-life seem to be cool, approachable people – so maybe the divide is only perceived. I hope so; it would be saddening to think that writey types wouldn’t give up a bit of time to chat with and meet people who are interested in spreading the word, simply for the love of literature.
This post might be a bit naive and idealistic but, in becoming an author, I don’t want to become part of an elite club that is open to members only. I’d rather we all acknowledged each others’ roles in turning what starts as an idea into something that people want to read.
*climbs out of pulpit, to the sound of tumbleweeds and the occassional snore*