Friday, February 10, 2012

A Wonkier NESCBWI Blog

When I read about writing, I prefer to read what published writers have to say about the subject over the thoughts of unpublished writers. This is not a matter of caring about status. It's a matter of caring about experience. I'm not a big believer in untrained literary genius. Or untrained anything, for that matter.

I was going to tell you an amusing story that illustrates my point about me, but it would have meant taking too much time away from the actual subject of this post, Livia Blackburne's A Brain Scientist's Take on Writing. Livia Blackburne is what we call nowadays a pre-published writer, though she's a pre-published writer with an agent, suggesting she's perfected her work enough to be considered publishable by at least one publishing professional. She writes fantasy, but she's also a neuroscience graduate student, and she brings a wonderfully analytical approach to her writing about writing.

Her blog has a "Popular Posts" section (by the number of comments she gets, other readers are not at all put off by the fact that she hasn't published yet), and among them is one called Author Blogging: You're Doing It Wrong, in which she discusses why blogging probably isn't a great marketing tool for fiction writers. (Though there are other reasons beyond marketing for blogging.) It's hard for fiction writers to create a platform. On top of that, she says, "Sometimes in online platform discussions, someone will mention the elephant in the room, that we’re only blogging for other writers. Usually, that comment is met with thoughtful nods. Comments of “Yeah, we should think about that”. More awkward silence, and then we go back to our blogging....I‘ve never heard anyone come up with a thoughtful, generalizable, plan for reaching targeted fiction audiences through blogging."

I would go a step further, myself, and say that most bloggers are only blogging for other bloggers. It's a closed system. And, yeah, a lot of bloggers don't want to discuss it.

Livia, however, does. In Author Blogging: You're Doing it Wrong, but John Locke's Figured it Out she describes another author's strategy for determining his target audience. The idea being that once you've worked out your target audience for your fiction, you can try to write posts that will appeal to that group.

A children's author's target audience, for instance, is probably librarians, teachers, and booksellers, since most kids don't have large amounts of disposable income or a means to get to bookstores or order on-line.

A Brain Scientist's Take on Writing is a blog I'd like to spend a lot more time exploring. Ah, but, there's the time thing.

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