In my regular trawl through the grimy cesspit that is the internet, I occasionally stumble across an author’s blog. Now, most of these are pretty ordinary affairs, limited to a bit of B grade self promotion. It seems many authors haven’t figured out that writing a ‘promotional’ blog is a specific skill that needs to be developed and honed just like their novel writing. But every now and then I come across one I like so much I have to subscribe to it.

Some of these authors I haven’t read.

Christopher Moore He writes fantasy humour and I probably will read his stuff, if I can ever find it. The layout of his blog is a bit different, but his site is really well set up to support the community of readers. The photos from his trip to England are just wonderful. He doesn’t appear to have much of an Australian following, so I may have to delve into the murky world of online bookstores. It’s about time I got a debit card.

Deep Genre is a collective blog (sounds a bit Borg when you say it like that) by 10 Spec Fic authors including Katharine Kerr, Kate Elliot, Constance Ash and David Louis Edelman. It’s a bit sporadic, but they do delve into the writing side occaisionally – worth subscribing to.

Some I authors will never read. Case in point – Maureen Johnson. Maureen writes YA for teen girls. I am not her target demographic. But her blog is hilarious.

I mentioned Jennifer Fallon in a previous rant about dodgey book covers, she is another person who knows how to knock up a funny blog. Unfortunately she no longer fits the category of “Blogs of authors I haven’t read”. I was in the university second hand book shop and spotted her name, so I bit the bullet and bought her first novel – Medalion. It still has a taffeta elf on the cover, but the overall colour is a bit brown, so I figured I could read it in public without fatally damaging my masculine persona. Well, now I’m hooked. I’m not sure what I’ll do when I get up to the pink covered, Lion of Senet.

I guess I’ll just have to tear the cover off an old Clive Cussler novel to hide it in.

Mono myth Follow up

7, June,2007

I’ve had a bit of feedback from the Myth Man himself Gregory Lemon.

Thanks for the plug.  Yes, the book was dry but I enjoyed reading it.  I hope everyone enjoys the Monomyth Series that I created.

Three shows (4, 5, 6) are on the Monomyth and a fourth (8) on an example of the Monomyth using an unlikely hero. 

Best of luck to all authors! Or break a leg!”

What a nice chap.

If you are writing fantasy you may have heard of Joseph Campbell, and the Hero with a thousand faces.  It’s the supposed inspiration for many fantasy stories; a classic recent example is the Star Wars series.  Before you get all geeky and rush out to read it, a quick word of advice.  It’s a boring, deathly dull, scholarly work.

So, where can you find out about this cornerstone of thousands of cliche ridden, piles of dross dozens of great fantasy novels?

Well, you’re in luck, Gregory Lemon over on the Myth Show podcast has just finished up a series on the Monomyth. The content is still a bit dry, but not as bad as reading the original for your self.

If you want a quick read on the subject check out the Mono myth Wikipedia entry.

And a quick update on the Naked Novelist Podcast.  Brendan Gullifer is now hosting a writing show on a local public radio station (the great 3CR) called, Published or Not.   His podcast is now based on this show. It’s tight and well focused, and I highly recommend it.

I am having a meta blognition moment, that is, I have been thinking about literary blogging and podcasting and what purpose they serve. 

Many of blogs and casts I subscribe to are by people with something to promote, or are part of a persons ‘platform’.  I think many bloggers also see an element of public service in what they do.  Their blog is part of their public face, so they take the time and put in the effort to make sure they produce something of a suitable standard.  If you want to see blogging by people who don’t give a crap about how they come across, have a random trawl through MySpace. 

I think there should be a service that stores people’s MySpace pages, and when they turn forty it sends the link to their kids.   

“No, no, you’ve got it all wrong.  EMO was for well behaved kids who studied hard and joined the chess club and never had sex.”        
I digress.
 

As writers sweat over their latest blog entry they must have the same thoughts as Lord Lever (or Henry Ford if you prefer) who said “half of my advertising is a waste of money I just don’t know which half,“ or to paraphrase, half of my writing is a waste of time I just don’t know which half. 

Are you better pounding out uninspired word count for your story, or putting together something to keep people coming back to your site.  How much time do you dedicate to maintaining ‘good will’ when the next book release is twelve months a way and you’re three months from your deadline (thank heaven for RSS they cry). 

You have to ask yourself what’s in it for those anonymous bloggers who do it for fun then find themselves on the A-list.  It must be flattering of course, but what do they do about the seventy comments a day and the self imposed expectation to always come up with something fresh. 

Which brings me around to the sad inspiration for today’s musing.  Miss Snark, the crabby, anonymous, and marvellous NY literary agent has retired her blog.  If you know about Miss Snark this will not be news, if you don’t, I recommend you search her site before you even think about sending out your finished manuscript. 

In two years she went from an anonymous blogger with zero hits to a cult goddess with two and half million hits.  Toward the end she was answering upward of four comments a day. 
All done with wit, all done anonymously – no commercial gain.
 

She was a gem and I wish her well.

The Secrets is an ‘on again, off again’ podcast for aspiring writers wanting to learn the craft. It is well worth a listen.

The podcaster, Michael Stakepole, is a U.S. Sci-fi / fantasy writer. He’s written Star Wars novels and a large pile of his own stuff. The Secrets is choc full of practical advice from someone who has made a sucessful career as a writer.

A writing newsletter, also called the The Secrets, is available from the site ($1 USD an issue). There is a sample newsletter so you can check it out before subscribing.

Michael S is currently co-hosting over on The Dragon Page – Cover to Cover, which has up until recently has been more of a Sci-fi/Fantasy reader’s podcast. A key feature of Cover to Cover has been its author interviews, but with Michael’s arrival it now also has a writer’s slant.

According to Micheal The Secrets podcast will restart, but he has to fit it into his writing workload. He’s a busy boy so I wouldn’t hold my breath.

‘in your pants’

3, February,2007

If you haven’t heard about this yet drop in on Maureen Johnson’s blog (YA chic lit author – is that a real thing or did I just make it up?) and have a look at the Brotherhood 2.0 vlog (YA author John Green and his brother Hank).

The basic premise is that the title of any book can be improved by adding ‘in your pants’ to the end of it.

Go ahead, turn around now and have a look at your book shelf.

No, not the technical manuals – Complete guide to MS Office ‘in your pants’ is not what we’re looking for.

Here’s a couple I found.

  • Vonnegut’s Breakfast of champions ‘in your pants’
  • Lem’s His masters voice ‘in your pants’
  • Foster’s The moment of the magician ‘in your pants’

Absolute minutes of sniggering fun.