Seth Godin’s advice for writers
The best way for an author to use the internet is to slowly build a following. Difficult, time-consuming and effective.
I’m not even sure there’s a useful plan B.
My recent experience working with authors and publishers mirrors what Godin says. It’s an inescapable fact that there is an overwhelming abundance of content today. We can debate endlessly whether this is good or bad for culture, and are we seeing the decline of immersive reading and the rise of ADD behavior in all forms of cultural consumption.
Just about everyone I talk to instinctively recognizes that the "noise" level online is very, very high, and that makes connecting our book signals to readers a very difficult undertaking.
Nonetheless, there are plenty of readers out there for the books writers are writing.
And there is a lot of brainpower being devoted now to figuring out better ways for readers to find the books and other products they need and that will suit them the best. That problem may well be solved sooner than we think.
While Godin says that there is no plan B, he does not suggest whether writers should build their followings on their own, or with the help of others (or a combination of the two approaches). I.e. “do-it-yourself” versus outsourcing.
Personally, I think it is best for writers to spend the bulk of their time writing, rather than being social and devoting valuable time to building a following. You can find plenty of ways to get help on the social side. Of course, the best way to build a following is to create compelling writing, and then to hire really smart people to support you. And yes, sometimes, publishers can help. In the end, all of this is really up to each writer to determine.
There is so much information to keep up with and so many new skills to master, we all need guidance and assistance in some (or many) things we can’t learn or do ourselves. Without some help we end up not having a life. And for writers, time to contemplate, concentrate and create is precious. Why waste it?
And here is a writer, Jonathan Rintels, who is currently building his following.