Archive for September, 2017

One year (and a bit) on…

Posted: September 6, 2017 in Uncategorized

Okay, so it’s more than a year since I posted a blog post on this website, and if I’m honest with you, this one here is likely to be the last. I’ve tried to muster up the enthusiasm to write material for the site, but although I’ve been very touched by the comments from those of you who’ve read my ramblings over the last few years, the amount of attention I can capture with tedious stories of my life is fairly small, the effort to write this stuff is fairly large, and my enthusiasm for long-form internet communication has dwindled all the while.

Back when I became a novelist, every publisher wanted you, as a writer, to have a blog. It was regarded as a magical marketing tool, a way for writers to reach out to their audiences and, if I’m cynical about it, for publishers to outsource the responsibilities of marketing to the authors themselves.

Well, maybe it worked in the early days of blogs. They don’t work now. Rubbish writer’s blogs are part of a larger problem with modern publishing which I have neither the minutes nor the inclination to spend on discussing today.

There are writers with successful blogs, but they fall into one of two camps: They’re either already famous, or they are bloggers as well as writers, meaning they blog for blogging’s sake rather than to gain notice for their books. Indeed, one of the writers who fits into both these categories (he’s famous now. He didn’t use to be. His books and his blogging have separately won him his acclaim) is Chuck Wendig, and he has said himself several times that shouting out into crowded cyberscape is no way to garner publicity. The best way to sell books is to write good books. So it has always been. The internet is not an enchanted wand that circumvents this certainty, so I’d rather put the effort into making my fiction better, and let that speak for me.

It doesn’t help that I’m reluctant to discuss anything even remotely contentious online.  You would not believe it from what I have written on this site, but I think. A lot. I enjoy a good debate and exploring other people’s point of view. I’m firmly of the belief that a glowing screen, whose naked worlds are bereft of all the human subtly face to face communication allows, is not the place to have one.

Frankly, I think the internet to be poisonous. It has polarised opinion enormously, almost to early modern levels, a time when religious outrage – and then war, and atrocity – was fuelled by the advent of widespread printing. The amount of shrieking, self-satisfied nonsense belting back and forth across the ether depresses me, whether it is ludicrous misinformation, the astoundingly illiberal attitudes of liberals or the hideous prejudices of the far right. We seem to have lost the capacity to look objectively at anything.

Perhaps we never had it, and the internet has simply laid bare the innate inability of humans to look beyond their own little piece of the world. Either way, call me a coward, but I had one experience of writing a (deliberately) provocative piece, and have no desire to repeat it, no matter that it garnered me a whole ton of hits.

So, the internet itself, perhaps human nature, is the key factor in my decision not to blog any more. A very close second is life catching up with me. My parents are getting older, my son is still young, and I really do have to write five or more books a year. Time I have little of, and blogging requires a lot of time.

What does that mean? Well, I was struck by this comment made by Morvael back in April (anonymity is another thing I don’t like about the net. I like to know who I’m talking to. It baffles me when I meet people in person and they’re surprised I don’t recognise them from their internet comments! Sorry Morvael, whoever you are. You’re a nice person, this aside isn’t aimed at you at all, but at the custom of unaccountable facelessness).

I understand the problem, I have a similar one 🙂 I just worry it may bite you at some time in the future, with such site being a dead weight taking you down in the eyes of the web denizens. Sometimes it’s better to remove an outdated site altogether and replace it with a simple placeholder (for example linking to your books on Black Library, Amazon, Good Reads), than keeping a stale one showing old (outdated and thus untrue) information.

I’m going to take Morvael’s advice. Soon I’ll replace the posts on this page with a simplw bio and information about how to contact me. Of course, all my old reviews and so forth will remain accessible, and I will always answer comments put up here. Furthermore, you can speak with me via Twitter, my Facebook page, wherever else I may be lurking – I always answer if I can. But a dead site is a bad site. It needs repurposing.

This is not an end to blogging altogether. I published a fair bit of hobby material here on Haley’s Comment, I still write it, but it now goes onto the Warhammer Community Website. Seek out my models there, if you’re interested.

If you want to talk to me about serious stuff you can find me in the pub, where we may compare radically opposed ideas in an atmosphere of human amity, rather than as raging robots, tired and frustrated by the petty evils of day to day life, and desiring to wash away our own anxieties in a welter of late-night digital blood-letting. We can make only enemies this way. Be warned, you are never as right as you think you are. Ersatz rage can all too easily turn into the real thing.

As can the blood.