Monday, April 13, 2009

A Little Shout Out to My Friends

I've recently started adding links (which any attentive reader should pay close attention to) on the sidebar of this page. I always thought of links as a rather personal thing, unless one is being compensated for it, it's almost like a diary of who we are and what we like.

The links I've provided so far are mostly of authors who all have varying degrees of success within the profession. They are all science fiction writers and all have one thing in common that I really like: They interact with their readers.

Almost since I first stumbled onto this wondrous thing we call the internet, I've sought out my favorite authors to try and discover what kind of personality they have, to see what their interests are and to find out as much as I can about what their creative process is like.

Although his latest works have not moved me the way his older ones have, Stephen Baxter has long since been my favorite writer. He certainly wasn't the first science fiction writer I read, but he was definately the first to fill me with awe about the universe. When I first read Ring I would lie awake at night for weeks and think about the universe - it was almost a religious experience.

He has also frustrated me moreso than any other author I can think of because judging by his internet presence he appears to be a recluse.

I don't really think that's the case, he appears to be a busy man, but despite his relative youth (early 50's maybe) he is reminiscent of previous era, more like an Arthur C Clark or Isaac Asimov. I don't think he thinks of the internet as a tool the way others do. His website looks like a static page with a news feed that appears to be done by a publicist or agent that gets updated every few weeks or months. As opposed to the writer himself engaging his fans it instead just feels old, outdated, and a reminder of the way things used to be done.

Of authors that have come upon the scene the last few years, most that I've become aware of are tireless self-promoters. They have their loyal legions of fans that remind me more of how an unsigned band might develop a core following long before they ever hit it big. These new writers are releasing their product on the web, via podcasting their novels, sharing PDF's of their works or any of a whole host of unorthodox methods.

Many have raised questions about how sustainable a business model it is to just give your product away and hope the money flows afterwards. I was ambivilent and undecided about it until recently (as I stated in an earlier post), but now I really think that in the future sucessful writers will have to have an strong online presence. Unless you are a J.K Rowling or Stephanie Meyer that is.

Just like many underground and unsigned musical acts have used the internet as a forum to propel themselves to mainstream success, I think a model it beginning to appear for writers to do the same thing.

But the future mid-lister's (that means everyone who isn't a J.K Rowling or Stephanie Meyer) are going to have to work a bit harder to maintain a career as an author.

I'm looking forward to it. So while the author's links I mentioned earlier may not be a collection of the greatest writers in the world, they are as a whole much more active that those that have been around for a while. Take a look.

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