Mark Terry

Monday, November 16, 2009


November 16, 2009
I was finally sitting my ass down yesterday to practice the guitar, was at it for 10 or 15 minutes, when my wife came in with the cell phone, somebody to talk to me. It turned out to be a student at Michigan State University doing that fundraiser thing, and he was a chatty fellow. Finally, after about 5 minutes of chit-chat I said, "Um, why don't you go ahead and tell me what you want, because this IS a fundraiser, right?"

"Well, we think of it as a friendraiser."

I just bet you do. And as pleasant a conversation as it was, "friend," I wasn't as a matter of fact sitting around on a Sunday afternoon waiting for you to call. I was actually doing something.

Which today made me think about the publishing business, because, well, it's Monday morning and I might as well think of something besides crawling back into bed for a couple hours. And along with such pleasant topics as genocide and healthcare reform, the publishing industry was there, waiting for me to think about it.

Agents, seemingly, ARE waiting around for you to contact them with a good, publishable project.

Editors? Same thing.

Readers? Hmmm. I'm always glad to find a new author, but frankly, I've got enough unread books lying around the house I could probably read one a week for the next year-and-a-half before I needed to go look for something new.

Which made me think about all this social media writers and aspiring writers have hooked themselves into: Facebook, MySpace, CrimeSpace, Twitter (dear God save us), blogs, listservs....

I know I started blogging as a way of selling books, of which it is a fairly mediocre medium. I stayed for the company (and the habit, probably). I rather like Facebook for its sense of quasi-community and I'm more in contact with my brother and sister there than I have been in years. MySpace is a distant memory, CrimeSpace never took off for me and Twitter I'm hoping will just go away in the near future, talk about a waste of bandwidth.

I think a key here is something I just wrote: "I stayed for the company."

I gotta tell you, I like Facebook a lot, but if someone I don't know asks me to become a "fan" I hit IGNORE pretty quickly. And people are constantly using Facebook to invite me to various online readings, etc. Which I also hit IGNORE pretty quickly. Hell, I'm too busy to sort through my own inbox half the time. [Actually, I lied. I don't hit IGNORE quickly. I just delete the invite and next time I bother checking my Facebook inbox I'll typically accept most Friend requests and go through and hit IGNORE for all the other stuff, which by then has expired anyway.]

Because really, I'm just not sitting around waiting to be invited.

Of course, I suppose, like being invited to events you never go to, it's nice to be invited.

I suppose.

How about you?

Mark Terry


Blogger Natasha Fondren said...

Yeah. That's why I don't believe in marketing to writers. There are people out there wanting to connect with people about subjects that you write about, though. :-)

Facebook is the water cooler for me. I have to break for a few minutes every hour or two, and I rarely become someone's fan. If a "group" sends out an email every week, I delete my membership. I don't want spammed at the water cooler. :-)

6:40 AM  
Blogger Eric said...

I can't even keep up with my blog let alone deal with any of these social networks. And, as you say, there are so damn many fine books, past and present. But I thin there's probably a good reason to enage with poeple online, because, let's face, how do you possibly choose between all the probably equaly worthy books you don't have time to read? Maybe just knowing the author's name -- or knowing a little bit about the author -- is at least something that will lead you to pick up that author's book rather than one of the hundreds of other books. No, I don't do it, but I can see some value in it.

10:50 AM  
Blogger Erica Orloff said...

Facebook is a way for me to connect with friends and family long distance. I am very close with my sisters/family and a few scattered friends, and I get to see pictures of my nieces and nephews and hear news "in real time," so to speak. I ignore all invites to all things, though if you, or Stephen Parrish or someone I know asked me to something, I would accept. But people who are more randomly my friend . . . no, I don't. I am not sure why . . . busy, maybe. Not motivated.

I blog for the company/comraderie, as a sort of mental ice-breaker in the mornings. I have definitely gotten new readers from it--and I hear from them. But I didn't do it for the readers so much as . . . it became a habit, one that I now enjoy.


11:39 AM  
Blogger Richmond Writer said...

I like facebook because most of my friends are from around Richmond so I get notices a lot about literary events in Richmond. It helps with the newsletter.

I like blogs because well, I like when you get snippy? snarky? I'm not sure what it's called but I enjoy the fearless attitude.

I think Natasha is right, it's a water cooler break.

11:57 AM  
Blogger Mark Terry said...

You mean you like it when I get cranky? Well, there's no stopping me now.

12:12 PM  
Blogger sex scenes at starbucks said...

It's clear that FB is not good for marketing. And that's fine.

Myspace is designed for marketing, music marketing in particular. And we have a lot to learn from the music industry when it comes to marketing.

7:55 AM  

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