Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Giant's Robes on a Dwarfish Thief

Neil Gaiman won the inaugural Author Blog Award for his use of Twitter recently, and to quote him:

“Use your blog to connect. Use it as you. Don’t ‘network’ or ‘promote.’ Just talk."

Now, like a number of fledglings, I want to be Neil Gaiman. No, not for the obvious reasons (fame, bestseller status, etc.). I want to be him for reasons which lie firmly in my control. I just want to be me. Just talk. Sometimes it seems hard, though.

The infamous InterwebTM overflows with advice for fledglings on what to do with a blog, Twitter, Facebook...on and on. Giant's robes on a dwarfish thief, me being the thief. I've not read a thing which rings more true than Gaiman's simple "Just talk."

With all the focus on "Branding" a fledgling author can easily loose themselves. I labored too long to add a tag line to the flag at the head of the blog. Yeah, I write pulp, only it's not sawdust anymore, it's made of electrons. And fantastic horror? No, that doesn't mean fantastic as in great; I'm using fantastic in the grand, old-school Weird Tales tradition (Weird Tales of the 1930s, that is). Me? I'm a Bella Lugosi/Boris Karloff/EC comics from the '50s/Twilight Zone hybrid who was scared shitless by the slasher horror of the '80s when I grew up. I'm thirty-five and still afraid of the dark. I choke up when I read a really kick ass poem aloud, even in front of my class full of students. Sometimes I'm too introspective for my own good, and self doubt starts to entrench in the darker corners of my brain. I believe words hold power, even when they're cobbled together in a piece of pulp-fiction horror. I'm not ashamed to admit any of that. It's me.

Just talk.

I'll try.

18 comments:

Michael Stone said...

Same here. I used to talk all the time on my blog but it's somehow become a mix of chat and 'what I have coming out real soon!' I'm going to get back to more chat if I can.

Rebecca Nazar said...

Duckie and Dobler *big sigh, hand on heart*

Just talk, huh? Very sage advice-- as long as I stop short of inane blather. : )

Aaron Polson said...

Michael - I feel so much more comfortable with chat. I don't mind mentioning my work--of course--it's just not the only song on the album, so to speak.

Becca - I have to give myself a word count limit or...well, it could get ugly.

Brendan P. Myers said...

My point . . . exactly.

Barry Napier said...

Yeah, I'm still sacred of the dark, too. I think the sleep paralysis has something to do with that, though.

Also, the term "digital pulp" is awesome.

Jamie Eyberg said...

That is why I like my online friends. They don't brag, just fact and a lot of themselves thrown in for fun. keep up and keep writing that Fantastic Horror the way we like it.

Cate Gardner said...

I think you can obsess listening to advice on how we should or shouldn't build our blogs.

I like the Gaiman link, and I like to think that's what we all do - connect and not network. Networking sounds so calculated.

Aaron Polson said...

Brendan - I figured as much...I think.

Barry - I woke up blind one night. Only lasted five minutes, but it was scary as hell.

Jamie - I'll keep on keeping on.

Cate - You think...I've done it (obsessed) way too much. Gaiman is my hero for a whole slew of reasons.

K.Hinny said...

Good advice, thanks for sharing Aaron.

K.C. Shaw said...

The best blogs/twitter accounts/whatever are just regular folks sharing bits of their lives. If they happen to be writers too, that's cool.

Incidentally, I have the overwhelming desire to read a story about a dwarvish thief now.

Andrea Allison said...

I'm not much of a talker in real life. So, my blog kind of helps me with that. I just talk to talk. I doubt most people are listening, or reading in this case, but whatever. It's good advice.

Alan W. Davidson said...

Well said and from the heart. It don't get any better than that. The Wussy Boy Manifesto made me howl with laughter.

Cathy Olliffe said...

I came here today at Alan's urging and you know what? I don't come here often enough. Enjoyed your talk, Aaron. Very much.

Cathy Olliffe said...

And my arse has been officially laughed off by Wussy Boy.

Aaron Polson said...

Hinny - If Gaiman's giving the advice, I'm all ears.

K.C. - Too true. (I thought dwarves made lousy thieves...)

Andrea - People are listening. Sometimes they're just really quiet about it.

Alan - Makes it okay to be a Wussy boy. ;)

Cathy - I'm glad you did. (stop by, that is)

Anton Gully said...

“Use your blog to connect. Use it as you. Don’t ‘network’ or ‘promote.’ Just talk." - Gaiman

"I want to be Neil Gaiman." - Polson

"I just want to be me." - Polson's split personality, who I strongly suspect is Natalie Sin.

"Just talk?" - me, wondering what that MEANS, because if Neil Gaiman, a public figure better known as Mr Amanda Palmer, wants to talk to me then I'll listen, but if Random Q. Nobody just wants to talk to me then I can't spare the time because I have to go wash my hair.

And what do you mean when you say you want to connect? You want to connect on an individual basis to every single person who reads your blog, but if they DARE to spread what you've said to them, personally, using some form of NETWORK, possibly an ONLINE COMPUTER NETWORK, then you will gut them with a rusty hook? Because if that is what you're saying Aaron then I have a new-found respect for you.

Anyway, if you're going to try this just talking thing I'm prepared to give you the benefit of the doubt. When do you intend starting? Because all of this:

"Me? I'm a Bella Lugosi/Boris Karloff/EC comics from the '50s/Twilight Zone hybrid who was scared shitless by the slasher horror of the '80s when I grew up. I'm thirty-five and still afraid of the dark. I choke up when I read a really kick ass poem aloud, even in front of my class full of students. Sometimes I'm too introspective for my own good, and self doubt starts to entrench in the darker corners of my brain. I believe words hold power, even when they're cobbled together in a piece of pulp-fiction horror. I'm not ashamed to admit any of that. It's me."

...sounds like a branding exercise to me.

Aaron Polson said...

Funny Anton, 'cause it was intended as a "this is me" statement.

Sometimes message sent (does not equal) message received, and there really isn't a damn thing I can do about that.

katey said...

Ah it's nice to see that people who are rich and famous off doing what they love still have the love, isn't it?

I hear you, and I think that when we accomplish that, the branding takes care of itself.