Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Blogging Days of Old

Tom and I are still fine-tuning the Friday 20 Index (the eighth version of the test post is currently printing out as six single-spaced pages, and we still have about 1/3 of all the questions ever asked to rework/rephrase before it's finished.) I'm hoping to have it done by this Friday, weather and writing schedule permitting.

Going through all the old Q&A posts makes me all nostalgic for those times back when we could talk books and shop openly. Today I look around and most writer blogs seem to have gone completely vanilla or are being run as promo-only sites. Pros who don't want to deal with online hassles or censor themselves as protection against them are shutting down their blogs. I understand why, and I'm not wagging a finger at anyone. I just miss the good old days.

Things change, and they say you have to change with them, get left behind, or give up. I'm more the change-things-yourself-for-the-better type, though, so I'm going to be focusing on accomplishing that, and not on the things that have changed for the worse.

You blogosphere veterans out there, what do you miss from the days of old? What changes would you like to see in the future here at PBW, or with writer blogs in general?

20 comments:

  1. *sigh* I'm sad that Tess Gerritsen's shut down her blog, she had such an interesting perspective on the business. I don't know that I can think of any suggestions for you except more John and Marcia!

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  2. What I miss most is simply having TIME to write anything lengthy or meaty. I hope after May 1st to get back to that, but this entire year has been a combination of a nose to the grindstone schedule and an on again/off again meltdown because of the nose to the grindstone schedule.

    I did say in January that I didn't want to get controversial this year because of the creativity suck controversy can be, and the one post I made that was opinionated did, indeed, bring out a lot of that, sigh.

    But, yeah. For me it's been either drop the blog until I have time to get back to it, or post pictures of my dog and tomato plants (which are MONSTROUS now) and the like. I've opted to put up whatever I have time for just to keep readers apprised of what's going on.

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  3. Charlene wrote: I don't know that I can think of any suggestions for you except more John and Marcia!

    J&M will definitely be sticking around. :)

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  4. Alison wrote: I've opted to put up whatever I have time for just to keep readers apprised of what's going on.

    Nothing wrong with that. I know what a huge time & energy vacuum a blog can be (muffled groan here as I queue up the eleventh test post for Tom), and when you're already rassling with the same thing in your writing schedule, the blog has to come second.

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  5. I miss the time - not so very long ago - when an author could "step out of line" and offer a polite disagreement with the Conventional Wisdom As Laid Down By Chicks With Blogs and not become the entree du jour. This predatory mentality among readers, authors and online romance "news" sites is most distressing to me. Especially when the predators seem to consist mostly of the bored, the lonely, and the ill-informed.

    *adjusts day-glo target on ass*

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  6. I'm sad that Tess Gerritsen's shut down her blog, she had such an interesting perspective on the business.

    With the result I've stopped reading Dear Author.

    What is the matter with some of the popular romance writer blogs? I don't find that amount of bitchfests, vitriol and gossip (the reason I've stopped reading Smart Bitches as well) on other genre writer blogs.

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  7. Selah wrote: *adjusts day-glo target on ass*

    If you ever need a bigger one, I'll lend you one from my personal collection. Targets, I mean. ;)

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  8. Gabriele wrote: I don't find that amount of bitchfests, vitriol and gossip . . . on other genre writer blogs.

    I've seen SFWA members behaving like jackasses more than once, but they seem to be on an election cycle with their rants and so forth (whenever they need a new prez for the Borg, the nuts come crawling out of the woodwork to post manifestos and hatchet jobs.) Mystery/crime fiction writers keep it under wraps better or only cut each other privately or at the cons, but they've always been consummate marketeers. I like the horror writers; they are the mellowest pros in the biz -- nothing seems to bother them.

    As for the romance writers, my grandmother always said that in desperate or unhappy times, people go looking for an outlet (she endured the Great Depression, and some of her stories about how blacks were treated at the time would curl your hair.) Maybe she was right.

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  9. Lol, the SFWA shenagian seems to be seasonal, like hayfever. You just have to live with it. :)

    *wishes the birches would stop throwing pollen around already*

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  10. Gabriele wrote: ...the SFWA shenagian seems to be seasonal, like hayfever. You just have to live with it.

    Ha. You do have a good point, though -- these things do seem to run in regular cycles. I wonder if you could actually chart and predict high-risk outbreak times, like seasonal allergies or the flu. I've noticed that everyone gets very bitchy right around the second or third week of January, and I think someone (Sasha White, maybe?) attributed it to people becoming unhappy with their New Year's resolution diets. And we just had income tax filing cut-off here in the states....

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  11. There was a time when you could talk about important subjects without being mobbed?

    I've only been reading blogs for 10 months, so unsurprisingly all I've seen are vanilla posts and vitriol. I didn't know there was another, better era.

    Nice to know that people weren't always crazy.

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  12. I'm sad that Tess Gerritsen's shut down her blog, she had such an interesting perspective on the business.

    With the result I've stopped reading Dear Author.

    What is the matter with some of the popular romance writer blogs? I don't find that amount of bitchfests, vitriol and gossip (the reason I've stopped reading Smart Bitches as well) on other genre writer blogs.


    Just my two cents here, but Dear Author isn't responsible for what TG decided to do.

    She made a poor choice (IMO, a very poor choice) of words and when there was fallout, she wasn't prepared for it.

    That isn't DA's fault. She had plenty of defenders among DA's regulars, and I vaguely recall quite a few comments from readers that even though they didn't agree her viewpoint, it didn't affect their opinions of her.

    If a person makes a flippant remark that isn't received well by people in general, the blame of that lays on the shoulders of the person making the remark.

    I'm sorry TG felt she needed to shut her blog down over the whole mess. Some commenters, on both sides, were out of line, but it's also a risk a blogger runs when they post controversial or opinionated pieces. It seems to me that TG was aware of that and since she isn't comfortable with conflict, that's part of what influenced her decision.

    That said, if DA doesn't work for some, it doesn't work for some. I personally love it. I see it as a blog run by people who love the industry. When they love a book, they really love it. They do contests with prizes they purchase themselves, they invite open discussion from any and all people and they don't expect everybody to think exactly as they do.

    And now I'll quit hijacking the post. As to what I miss, more industry type issues, ethics, how to respond to reviews, criticism, etc. And inexpensive clever marketing ideas-can't hear enough about those.

    BTW, Lynn, the character cards I handed out at RT were a huge hit. Going to have to reorder more for the next few things I have coming up. Gave most of them away.

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  13. tf wrote: There was a time when you could talk about important subjects without being mobbed?

    Long ago, when dinosaurs ruled the earth . . . actually we spent quite a few years discussing the important, semi-important, and the always fun completely unimportant.

    I still miss StarLines, too.

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  14. This is probably a good time to post a reminder that I can and will shut down comments whenever I feel like it. So no matter what your opinions are, do be polite when you disagree, don't try to turn this into a flame war or a PBWeinie roast, and please keep the blowtorches turned off and away from my face. I am too tired to play referee anyway.

    Shiloh wrote: . . . the character cards I handed out at RT were a huge hit.

    Excellent. Always glad to hear an idea works out well.

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  15. Shiloh, it was the final straw. I'd become annoyed with the tone on some of the comments on DA before, and I have more important things to do than read blogs that in the end only make me angry.

    Like writing books. :)

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  16. I miss the time, not so long ago, that you could join a forum or yahoo group and not be hounded with promo. A few of us are trying to bring back the fun, but it's difficult.

    I also appreciate the 70 days of sweat and the fun quirky articles about random things.

    Lynn, your blog is refreshing. I enjoy your blog and check it every other day. Another one I love for its own sake is Morgan Hawke's blog.

    I have very little time during the day to play on the internet (and with internet police at my job, I can't go to blogger, wordpress, or livespace so most of my favorites aren't available during lunch). I only hit up about half a dozen blogs now with a few extra on the weekend.

    I also miss the open friendliness of bloggers. Rabid and defensive fans aside, it's hard to watch author after author restrain their posts out of fear of some unknown attacker. I watched Alison's post turn into a nightmare in the comments section. None of the ridiculousness was called for and it's a shame.

    Sorry this is so long!

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  17. I've never followed the romance author/reader blogs, probably because I don't consider myself a writer, or reader, of romance. It's just not my bag. That said, when I *do* follow links to some of the romance affiliated blogs, they seem rather spiteful overall, and 'tongue in cheek' seems to translate to 'foot in ass'. Not always, no, but often enough to make me disinclined to read them routinely. Maybe it's me and my 'play nice' attitude, maybe it's my belief that if you can't say nothin' nice, don't say nothin' at all.

    What ever happened to simple politeness? It *is* possible to say you disagree with someone or a position they hold without resorting to anger, threats, name calling, and a call to arms. Why do so many insist on throwing mud as a first response? I don't get it.

    I am not a great blogger and I've certainly never courted controversy on tamboblog (I leave that to the books;)) I've always tried to play nice, and if I can't, I just stay silent or vent privately. I've received my share of bad reviews and nastiness online, but oh well, that's part of going pro. It does still sting, and likely always will, but that too is part of the business. Venom doesn't have to be.

    That said, there are certain authors who have routinely behaved so utterly badly, from rudeness to cruelty to outright lies, that I will never, ever pay one penny to support their careers. I don't care if you've written the greatest book ever, if you're a total ass in public I'm not buying your books. Also, there are writers I buy for no other reason than they've always presented themselves as awesome, caring human beings. As consumers we need to make the best decisions we can with our own internal criteria. Some folks don't care how a writer comports themselves in the online area. Some do. Them's the breaks.

    Anyway, I like the industry news aspects of PBW, the writing and marketing tips, and the insights into craft, pitching, promoting, dealing with industry professionals, etc. parts best. I'm not a fan of John and Marcia. I'm just not a good audience for satire, but that's okay, lots of folks love the stories.

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  18. Dawn wrote: I also miss the open friendliness of bloggers.

    There are still writer-bloggers out there who manage to (mostly) fly under the radar and keep the lines of communication open (Alison Kent, Jordan Summers, Shannon Stacey, and Vanessa Jaye are some prime examples) although I don't think it will ever be like it was in the old days.

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  19. Tam wrote: What ever happened to simple politeness?

    Being polite gets you nothing these days, but I still think you have to make an effort. Lead by example.

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  20. It's odd how the internet sometimes mirrors real life. We live at the very end of a dead-end road, and so we miss all the stuff that goes on in the neighborhood.

    I've been trying to stay focused on writing so I haven't read even those weblogs I really like and learn from (like, this one). I didn't know anything about the TG meltdown/blowup, but I am sorry to hear about it. One thing I know for sure, I won't be reading DA to find out about it. The same way I don't pick up National Enquirer when I want to know what's going on in politics.

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