There was an error in this gadget

Friday, January 25, 2008

Ongoing Attempts To Raise My Visibility

After a long and tangenital conversation with my friend, tormentor, unlicensed life-coach a general pain-in-the-butt WTL last night, I have decided to begin the painstaking process of building my brand, IE increasing my presence online in the hopes of building an audience and a market for my writing.

I already have regular readers over at Confront Magazine where I write the music review column and occasional articles, and over at PHYTE Magazine, where chapters from my E-novel Oh Well, Whatever, Nevermind are currently hosted. And, of course, there's this blog. The trouble is, despite the readership at Confront and PHYTE, I still don't seem to have that big an audience.

WTL suggested I look at the weblogs of the most successful of my peers, such as Scott Sigler, ProBlogger as well as do a Google search for such thigns as "weblogs for writers", "writing weblogs" "writer weblogs" and the like.

I've spent the evening therefore bookmarking different sites, including The Emerging Writers' Network, the All Kinds of Writing weblog, Writers' and the Authors' Blogs listing. My next step will be to accumulate a few more links, then start going through these pages, looking for any information that I can use to increase my presence on the Internets. At some point, assuming my research bears fruit, I'll change my links section, appropriately.

My problem is, I just don't know how to separate the wheat from the chaff; how do I know I'm looking at the right information? How do I know I'm on the right social networking site? How do I know, for that matter, that I'm producing content that people want to read? The problem with the Internet is the sheer glut of information out there.

One of the reasons that in the three-plus years this weblog's been operating that I've not been able to boost traffic is the simple fact I've repeatedly tried and given up to make sense all the different, often contradictory information and damn fucking difficult requirements of successful weblogging and brand-building.

Take for example the fact that "good" blog posts are usually 500 words or less. I cannot fathom being able to compress what I have to say into so few words. Frankly, I think that the idea of easily-digestible bite-sized text packages is one that does a disservice to the craft of writing and to the pleasure of reading.

Reading is something you're supposed to devote time to doing. You should have to ponder what you're absorbing, think about it, even reflect upon it. Reading is a contemplative, meditative thing. But more and more in this society, it's being seen as a burden, a trite, quaint and even antiquated thing. People want to be able to skim everything, get the gyst of what the writer has to say and do without the rest.

The problem with this is there's just no mental challenge to that kind of reading. Yes, you can read twenty or thirty weblogs a day that way, but how substantial are those text pellets? How much contemplation does such reading promote? Flitting from one blog to the next because everything's got to be read fast, fast, fast only provides you with quantity reading, not quality.

And frankly, isn't that what the establishment wants? By creating the false expectation that we "should" write only short bursts, that we "should" only read small texts, what's happening is the promotion of intellectual laziness. Such laziness leads to complacency, ignorance and stupidity. And you know what? Stupid people are easier to control. I've already written (literally) at length about how society is trying to engineer us into perfect slaves...but if my sources are to be believed, nobody wants to read my posts on that subject, because they're too long. I'm already about a hundred and thirty words over the acceptible limit of text, and frankly, I still don't feel I've said everything I have to say.

Reading is something that should encourage mental stimulation, the imagination and the intellect. Everything we read should lead us to contemplate its implications, the meanings and truths in the text, the craftsmanship that the author shows with writing. Reading should inform, involve and entertain, not merely distract us. Five hundred words a post isn't going to do that, I'm sorry. You may upload a few facts to your brain, you may even gain some new knowledge. But insight? Revelation? Epiphany? You're not going to get any of those in 500 words or less.

But, I digress...I'm now on a hunt across the internet for any helpful/useful/ultimately beneficial information to put to use improving my presence. I've added the link logger, for whatever goo it'll do...I'm on Facebook and MySpace, neither of which have produced much by way of results, other than allowing me to contact a few friends I'd misplaced along the way. I notice that only two or three of them are paying customers, but, hey...

All this to say that, along with the writing projects listed the last time I posted, I will begin a new chapter of the Chronicles of an Independant Author at some point, as well: branding myself on the Internet. Hopefully it will bear more fruit than the first edition of those chronicles.

I'll be doing other changes to the layout of this blog as well, notably how those links on the left show up. For now, though, I've got to bury my head in some research.

Hopefully in not too long a time I'll be able to look back on this and say that here was the point my star began ascending.