Thursday, June 28, 2012

#432. The Problem With Bloggers

I'm sorry, I'm about to break the taboo of trash-talking the blogging community again.  I suspect that after I did this at the start of A-to-Z in April, I limited the number of people who were going to frequent Scouring Monk (though I must again give thanks to everyone who did become a reader, and who has made comments since then).

The problem I have is that it's a bit of a shadow play.  The idea I've gotten in recent months is that the blogging community is supposed to support each other.  It's why everyone seems to be touting everyone else's newly published works.  Everyone wins when everyone works together!  But the impression I get is that most of this is done solely in driving traffic to the blog talking about that work, rather than active interest in supporting each other.  I guess I can be labeled a cynic.

Take Michael Abayomi, for instance.  For eight days he's been waiting to get someone, anyone, to donate to his ambitious project of getting a six-book fantasy series published.  He's willing to be patient about it, pragmatic (and maybe that's a key difference between us), but in the meantime he gets visitors to his blog and still no donations.  I would expect at least one of those visitors to donate, especially when he has on average a dozen comments to his posts and some fifty subscribed readers.  Now, I know from experience that subscribing to a blog does not mean that you are actively interested in that blog.  During A-to-Z I got a lot of people to subscribe to my blog, and as a matter of courtesy I subscribed to theirs as well, and I assumed at least their interest was a little less superficial than that.  Yet I get more regular business strictly from the blogs I regularly comment on than the readers who theoretically came because they just liked what I was doing.  That's a little messed up.  Maybe it's because it's a little hard to tell exactly what I'm trying to accomplish here and it seems like everyone else has a pretty strict focus?

Anyway, I like Michael, and I love what he's trying to accomplish.  The only reason I haven't donated is because I'm not in the best financial situation right now.  Maybe that's true for everyone, and maybe I'm overreacting by calling bull on the whole blogging community, taking away the lighthearted camaraderie that exists and the sense of support.  But it just seems as if "sense of support" and "actual support" mean two different things, and to me that's a little screwy.  Maybe it's that everyone seems to be in the business of promoting their own starter careers, and to get any support you have to at least pretend to support everyone else.  I'm likely going to be CreateSpacing a book of short stories, and I can say right now that I don't expect much benefit to publicizing it here, so this may be the only reference you read about it.

Again, that's just my current thought process.  Michael, I really do wish your campaign starts turning a corner.


PT Dilloway, Superhero Author said...

I have 83 people subscribed to my blog and on a good day 8 of them might comment. Which only makes sense when everyone follows hundreds of blogs. The ones I like best I keep a list of on my blog so I'll know when they post.

Anyway, I contributed to a Kickstarter type thing for a movie. $25 and I get a copy of the DVD should it ever come out. I don't know, what's this guy offering if I contribute? People like to get something. Though really publishing on Amazon Kindle or Smashwords or other platforms is free if you want to go that route.

Tony Laplume, Sith Architect said...

It's all listed on Michael's blog and campaign site. Anyway, I don't mean to sound like a dick, but it just baffles me.

I mean, I get how convoluted this blogging business can get, especially when it seems like a legitimate way to stumble into astonishing exposure given the right circumstances, but it just seems as if most bloggers are pretending to be one thing and actually being something else entirely, in the hopes that they'll get to be that lucky exception.

Most bloggers aren't read even when they're read by hundreds on a daily basis. That's a sad fact. Out of those hundred readers, most of them aren't going to give a darn about what you have to say; they show up to make a comment and be heard.

It's a bastard community, completely disorganized, like a message board with all the rules and common sense switched off. I've been blogging for ten years, so it's not as if I'm terribly concerned if I alienate everyone who is currently reading this stuff, because this is basically a journal anyway. I guess I get that now.

What I'm happy about is that I'm not a fool on twitter, happy to express myself in a few dozen words. I identify myself as a writer not by the number of readers I have or the exposure I have, but my ability and willingness to express in words my experience of the world.

It just sucks to think that so many people aren't really doing that, and when someone like Michael (who I really don't mean to drag down with these opinions) puts their neck out there and basically gets it chopped off. This was something he chose to do with a reasonable expectation of success, and so far he's gotten none at all. I feel bad about it, is all.

Michael Abayomi said...

Hey Tony,

I've been busy writing my entry for the fantasy-faction short story anthology, which is why I am just seeing this.

Wow. You've expressed some truly heartfelt emotions. I don't even know where to begin. But I suspect there are a number of other factors to be considered here:

1. A few of the equally few people who visit my blog might be sitting on the fence, waiting for the right time to donate.
2. Majority might not like reading epic fantasy
3. Some might not be willing to commit to a project, unless they feel it shows a healthy chance of success i.e. they are waiting to see some donations before making one of their own.
4. They might not be in a position to donate e.g. like over here in Nigeria, where we don't have access to PayPal and have very limited access to credit card facilities. (the bulk of my friends and family fall under this group)
5. They do not realize that the campaign is even running i.e. they pop in, leave a comment, then pop out so fast that they don't even notice the campaign widget on my sidebar
6. They couldn't care less if they tried.

Whatever the case may be, at least I know I gave it my best shot. It aint over until the fat lady sings though. Thanks, for caring enough to post this I guess. :)

Tony Laplume, Sith Architect said...

Well, like I've been saying, I don't mean to associate your perspective with mine. You're a class act. It's just, to me, your campaign is very indicative of what I've experienced, and those are the reasons why.

Maurice Mitchell said...

Tony, it's very kind of you to devote a post to this. Michael, keep your head up and keep moving forward. Pat makes a good point about getting something back though. It might help if you kick in a free book or something.

Tony Laplume, Sith Architect said...

He's offering stuff for various donation levels. It's all spelled out on the campaign page. At the highest level he actually makes you a character in the story!

Leslie S. Rose said...

I know that time is my biggest obstacle to visiting the blogs I subscribe to. It's also easier for me to pop around when someone has the subscribe by email option. I keep an email address that's dedicated to blogging. Like PT I did donate to a Kickstarter project that I found on a blog. I'll be popping over to the one you mentioned in the post and give it a look see.

Peaches Ledwidge said...

I've discovered many things about blogging and maybe (I think) people do it for different reasons.

Wishing Michael success.

Peaches Ledwidge said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Tony Laplume, Sith Architect said...

Peaches, I have no doubt that people blog for different reasons, just as they write and read and do many other things for different reasons. I was surprised by the reaction to his campaign, because there are a lot of bloggers in this community who go out of their way to promote each other. My point was that this promotion does not appear to have the effect it is apparently supposed to. But I guess awareness counts for something, too.


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