e-Reading and e-Writing

So if you’re in the market for an e-reader, you should definitely read this post, which compares the three of them out there (Nook, Kindle, iPad). According to the post, the Kindle comes in last place.

I think the others are probably better. But I’m happy with it, and so is my 8-year old, who has nearly finished all ten books of the Complete Wizard of Oz series. (Did you know that The Wizard of Oz is only the first book of ten? Me neither.) The fact that all ten books are free is one thing, but also?

My library doesn’t even have the other nine books. So she’s reading books that we can’t easily find elsewhere.

So am I. I’ve been reading books by very small presses that are not even in my library system, and nowhere to be found in my used book store, or local new bookstores. The only place I can find them, of course, is Amazon, where even a used book, with 3.95 shipping, costs about what it costs from my Kindle.

Except, of course, that Kindle prices are going to go up. So while I find 9.99 to be a very reasonable price for books I can’t find elsewhere, I certainly don’t want to pay any more.

Nathan Bransford reads my mind regularly. This time, he talks about the need for writers to be “out there” on the internet (Facebook, Twitter, etc.) in order to get contracts and sell their books. He asks whether writers can balance privacy and publicity in the age of the internet.

I am a severely platform-challenged writer, who is desperate to increase my blog readership and overall internet presense. And yet, the most important thing for me is maintaining my privacy. (Perhaps that’s why my readership is small — because I don’t write enough about the personal?) On my old blog, I used to use my kids’ real names, but on this blog, I don’t. I’ve never posted pictures of my kids anywhere, not even on Facebook. I hate Twitter, but according to Penelope Trunk, it will save my life.

That’s why I keep coming back to this web-based business idea I had a few weeks ago. I could really help with the whole platform problem, yet preserve my family’s anonimity.

Now for The Big Thing… It’s an anthology I’m co-editing with my best friend in Atlanta, Soniah. I met her at an Atlanta Writers Club meeting a few months after we moved here. Our agent is really excited about the book idea, loved our proposal, and quite frankly, I think she’s the best possible agent for it. She’s asked us to go ahead and write our essays, so we can submit them to publishers with the proposal. We hope to have them finished within the next few weeks (I haven’t even started mine). And then, I hope, we’ll be ready to start submitting.

What’s it about, you ask? You’ll have to stay tuned…


8 thoughts on “e-Reading and e-Writing

  1. Frankly, I don’t think the personal brings more readership. At least “tame personal” like mine and yours. I know I share WAY more than I should, but how has that helped me? I have to content myself with rare stray emails and comments here and there that tell me how much my blog/story helped someone. I’m glad at least I’ve been of some service for someone b/c definitely reading other people’s personal stories has meant the world to me. Really. (and that’s what keeps me sharing).

    Anyway, the personal brings readership if you’re in an open marriage like Bitch Phd and shares tales of your boyfriends, other encounters, etc. Or even Trunk who writes openly about her personal life, even sexual encounters. That is stuff people want to know and read. I confess that I was really taken aback to realize that the personal was most certainly a big factor in Bitch Phd’s through the roof stat counter.

    Now there are the rare people like Jo(e) who do share the personal, but are just such amazingly good writers and that’s what keep people coming. And I think that in addition to the personal aspect, people (at least me) like to read Dooce because she is a good writer too… (the personal helps, I’m sure).

    I’m really skeptical about all this platform talk. Some people are luckier than others, I guess. Having contacts helps, but some people will always have *more* contacts and the right ones… I guess I’ve just given up, that’s all. Sorry about the bitter tone.

  2. I dunno. I quit twitter because I thought it was redundant. Seriously, I get the same stuff from FB and I like it more because I feel like I can control it more. Also? You can do more with it. And I don’t get ANY SPAM, which I got tons of with twitter.

    I might go back to it eventually. I dunno.

  3. I was going to say something intelligent about privacy & publicity, but I’ve already forgotten what it was. I swear my brain is made of swiss cheese this week.

    Still: go you! Go project! And I’ll stop talking now because you’ve got essay(s) to crank out! 😉

  4. Establishing platform seems like it’s fairly time consuming. The way I’ve seen people go about it is to redesign the site and then obsessively start commenting (insightfully, funnily, snarkily) on the obvious high traffic blogs (ranging from huge like dooce to moderately big). Most people use what I know think of as Dooce’s basic template.

    That way when some clicks your name, they come to a professionally designed eye catching site etc.

    So I don’t know, I think developing platform is about marketing marketing marketing yourself through throngs of people doing the same. It all feels very exhausting to me-I mean, when do people have the time to actually put together a well-written piece after that? One of the few new bloggers I do think manages to do that fairly professionally is Anna Viele of abdpbt, but she’s thought of as a troll or a muckraker by a lot of people. There are things I’ve rolled my eyes over with her, but on the whole the quality of her writing is significantly higher than people with established platforms. It just seems near impossible to break in to the biz these days unless you’re willing to ape the style that readers have gotten used to seeing.

    For the record, I think this blog is really well-written and professional, quite unlike the regular stream of consciousness, high-strung LOLspeak stuff. And you’ve been one of my favourite writers since I discovered you through Cagey. I wish you the best in trying to develop your platfom and I hope it doesn’t tax your patience too much.

  5. Good luck with your big thing!

    The Twitter/Facebook/Buzz thing is kind of starting to seem like a pain – there is too much overlap, but not complete overlap. There is no perfect platform. Yet.

  6. Monkey, this all feels very exhausting to me as well. By its appearance, my blog is certainly shitty. I can’t keep using only a wordpress template with no other bells and whistles. I know I have to make it better. It’s not that I don’t have the time to make it better, or to increase my traffic. It’s that whenever I sit down to do it — I end up outlining an essay, or jotting down book ideas, or revising an essay for a critique — I just don’t have interest in creating a platform so I CAN write. I’d rather just WRITE.

    But this is counter-intuitive to the business model of writing nonfiction. I need to take the time to sell myself. Period.

  7. I agree, Magpie.

    For some reason, my LinkedIn messages go to an old email address. I keep going on there to change it, but it never gets changed. (Perhaps I’m not hitting a save or update button?) Anyway, I have too many accounts with too many passwords. I feel so fragmented by my online identity. I wish I could just merge them all together easily.

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