Authors as bloggers, bloggers as authors

28 Apr

SocialTimes has an article called “You Are What You Tweet: Writing Your Way into the Social Media Revolution” which argues that social media is helping to balance the (crazy and near complete) control that the publishing industry has over the stories that we read.

“Today more than ever, it’s difficult for creative writers to “make it” in the publishing industry; big-name publishing houses sign fewer contracts, hand out less funding, and allocate smaller advances to writers than ever before. But perhaps publishing itself is an outdated mode of finding your audience.

With the internet boom and the growing popularity of social media, the option of self-publishing is more attractive for writers everywhere. With spaces like Facebook, WordPress, and Blogger, authors can carve out their own online spaces and attract audiences from across the world. While we may still be attached to the printed page, that doesn’t mean that we can’t use the digital tools available to us to promote our work.”

So, it’s not just that bloggers want to be authors; authors want to be bloggers, too.  Blogs help us to learn to write and to find our voice and also to promote our writing once we’ve found that voice.  It’s a lot less intimidating to still down and write a few hundred word (okay, mine usually run in the thousands) blog post than it is to start a new Word document titled Chapter 1.  Although I’d love to do that one day, it seems terrifying.  I can easily convince myself that I have a post worth of interesting things to say, but 200 pages?!  Yikes!

But, back to authors… With so few major publishers that often say “no” rather than take a chance on a new author, (It took J.K. Rowling a year to find a publisher for Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone.) many authors turn to self publishing and use blogs as a means to find an audience for their work.  “The blog is a space where people can fall in love with you as a writer,” said Vivek Shraya, one of the authors that SocialTimes’ Amanda Cosco interviewed.  It allows authors to connect directly with the audience and to present themselves and their work in their own words (and in real time) rather than going through publicist, agent, etc.

Aetta Elliot, one of the authors that SocialTimes’ Amanda Cosco interviewed, said that, “The blog is incredibly important because it allows you to demonstrate that you’re invested in something more than just the sale of your book.”  I’m not going to lie, the main reason that I started this blog was to assist in my job search.  I figured that if I wanted someone to hire me for a position in Internet marketing and social media, I better prove that I knew what I was doing.  I’m happy to announce that it worked.  I’ll be starting as Rea & Associates’ new Marketing Coordinator on Monday.  Not quite the same as writing a book, but still a pretty big accomplishment.  (I’m not sure if the blog actually did have any impact in my hiring — maybe I’ll ask my boss about it after I’ve been there for a while.)  Fortunately, I’ve found writing this blog to be such a great experience that I’ll be sticking with it.


MaggieCakes is a blog about culture, social media, and what’s new in the world of Internet culture. Every day (okay, I try for every day) I comb blogs and news outlets for the news about internet culture and social media to bring them to you (with my commentary, of course) here on MaggieCakes. MaggieCakes is hosted by WordPress and often draws upon Slate, Jezebel, The Hair Pin, and SocialTimes for links and inspiration. My post Social Media and the Art of Storytelling was featured on Freshly Pressed, bringing a while new readership to my blog. Find anything interesting in the worlds of culture or social media that you’d like to see a post on? Leave a comment or send me an e-mail at 2maggieotoole@gmail.com.

4 Responses to “Authors as bloggers, bloggers as authors”

  1. Martin O'Toole April 28, 2011 at 4:23 pm #

    Interestingly, what you found along the way is that you are a darned good writer with lots of interesting things to say, and a cultural fluency that serves up lots of interesting topics and allows you to connect dots and data points around us with amazing agility! Definitely keep writing!

  2. oreillydavis May 2, 2011 at 4:53 am #

    Hi Maggie!

    For a while now, I’ve been writing on a proboards page. Soap fan fiction. Movie fiction. Working on a story that I HOPE to be able to complete.

    Part of me WANTS to try to write for the publishing market, but I’ve heard about the POLITICS of publishing from other writers and had no desire to pick my work apart for anyone else. At the same time, I would like to be able to put my stories together properly. To that end, the only thing I really need is DISCIPLINE!
    I mean, yapping about issues is one thing. But to sit and apply myself to story I want to tell seems to be another issue entirely. But, that’s a ME thing.

    • Maggie May 7, 2011 at 10:42 am #

      It’s good that you recognize the difference. I love writing here because of the freedom it gives me, but even I’m starting to feel pressure now that I’ve found a bit of an audience. I can’t image how much discipline I would need to write every day on a regular schedule with deadlines that someone else set.

  3. jamieahughes July 19, 2011 at 12:36 pm #

    Have you ever checked out John Green? He’s a young adult author who is also a vlogger with his brother, Hank. Their one of the big players on YouTube (Vlogbrothers), have their own chat/website called “Your Pants,” and their own Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, and other assorted media pages. John’s new book, The Fault in Our Stars” was number one on Amazon last week though it doesn’t come out until 2012 due to fan interest all around the world generated by the Vlogbrothers’ page. It’s fun to see him working in print, in video, and other forms of media to see what he can come up with. Come join us as a member of Nerdfighteria!

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