Well, the website has been live for a few weeks. Have made a few sales and I think traffic has been decent (I haven’t done a deep dive into the Google Analytics. That sounds like I know what I’m talking about, right?). It’s probably doing just about as well as I expected it to do, for now. I imagine the release of the John Angel books (coming very soon) will give it a bit of a kick in the ass but, really, what the fuck do I know?
But since I’ve started this with website talk and googly analytical things, why don’t we get into some of the stuff we creatives are expected to do these days that isn’t creating? I posit that knowing full well you have no choice in the matter, other than not continuing to read but I really want you to feel involved and heard, ya know? Lol
Today, what is maybe even more important than what is being created, is an artist’s brand and their social media presence. Now, to be fair, doing the “press junket” and interviews and book tours and whatnot has always been a thing for artists. For writer’s in particular, however, having your face and your personal life and your opinions on everything from politics to the best steak temperature (it’s medium rare, btw) wasn’t a necessity. Even writers that were considered recluses weren’t weird hermits, barricading themselves in their homes, shades constantly drawn, pale fingers clacking at the keyboard as they mutter absurdities to themselves while plucking out their next work. Mostly, they were just people that didn’t care to engage with journalists but let their work speak for itself.
Unfortunately, that’s seldom a possibility these days if one wishes to be a successful artist. One must tweet and blog and engage with their audience and stay relevant in a world that caters to short attention spans and trends. When I was a younger man, I would have never thought that Stephen King should be letting me know what he was having for breakfast.
Now, it’s not all bad. The instantaneousness of social media can be a lot of fun and it’s truly cool to engage with fans and colleagues in ways beyond the stories being put out. It’s nice, nowadays, to see the man behind the mask. I like seeing that Stephen King lives a pretty ordinary life with his family and Corgis and weird salmon recipes. It’s comforting to have the firsthand engagement and to know that he isn’t just some weird, dark dude cranking out creepy ass horror stories every eight months or so.
But it’s also a lot of work for the artist; writing blogs, sending emails, tweeting, face-booking, marketing your own work… It takes a lot of time. It’s time that is taken away from the actual creating. Sure, there are successful artist’s that don’t engage in that sort of thing but they’re the exception or they reached a level of success where they could dial that stuff back. As a new artist, it’s an absolute necessity. And it’s, by and large, a requirement from publishers and agents. Often, when submitting a work, one is asked about their social media presence and following. The publishers, who used to help create the audience for a work they believed in, now want you to bring an audience with you.
Again, I mostly enjoy it. And there’s nothing better than the excitement and interest and validation that one receives from supportive fans and other artists. Still, sometimes, it becomes necessary to squirrel yourself away and just do the work. Sometimes all that other stuff is too much and it can actually hurt the creative process. And, for me, it’s often difficult to “toot my own horn” too loudly. I feel weird asking people to support me.
You won’t see a ton of stuff from me in regards to my writing (at least not from an advertising standpoint). Every once in a while I will disappear for a few days to clear my head or to knuckle down on a project or just to stop some of the noise. Just know that I am definitely not a recluse. In fact, I do so much that it’s hard to find time for it all. Also, I’m never gone for long (I’d miss you guys too much). And, if you’re really desperate to engage with me, there are all kinds of social media links and an email where you can reach out. That’s the advantage of the computer age. You don’t have to send a letter and hope that I get it and answer. Just shoot me an email or a tweet or a poke or whatever the fuck.
As long as you’re not a crazy fucker or asking for foot pictures or something weird, I’ll totally get back to you. And, shit, I might even send a foot picture for the right price.