Tuesday, February 04, 2014

Note #2 Re: Homesteading on the Digital Frontier: Readers? The Whopper-Foie Analogy

Yesterday I posted about my upcoming Associated Writing Programs (AWP) conference panel on writers' blogs, "Homesteading on the Digital Frontier," to be chaired by poet and Advice to Writers blogger Zack Rogow. First of all, when we're talking about "writers" at AWP we generally mean literary writers. And while "literary" and "the market" have been known to intersect, and sometimes clangingly so (e.g., Angela's Ashes, War and Peace), it's more often than not a sad song. Generally speaking, readers are few for literary works, while readers are legion for vampire / naughty whatnot / movie star shenanigans / UFOs / mysteries about murders and/or megalithic structures / anything about making money / bash 'em politics. Herewith the Whopper-Foie analogy:

You want to sell food to the masses, well, they like Whoppers.
You want to sell 5 Star fussy little plates featuring foie, there may be a very few (but, one hopes, highly discerning and loyal) diners.

Whoppers or foie? You decide. But it's pointless to cry / gnash teeth / grumble / spend hours on Google Analytics /FB /Twitter trying to grow your numbers when THE FACT IS, the most people say phooey to foie. (And the people who actually read your book, have you answered their emails?)

Take home point: if you're doing literary work, the numbers -- how many buy your book, how many followers for your blog or your twitter-- are not the only, nor even the main indicator of  "success."

I put "success" in quotation marks because it's just a story one tells oneself, after all.

What is the story you tell yourself? And what is the story you'd like to tell yourself-- and believe?

More anon.

See also:
Homesteading on the Digital Frontier: My Humble Opinion on Google Analytics and Comments
>Why Aren't There More Readers? A Note on Curiosity, Creativity, and Courage
>So How's the Book Doing? (And How Many Books Have you Sold? And What Was Your Print Run?)
>Getting Started with Websites and Blogs