Sunday, February 7, 2010

Give Me Audience, Friends

By Bryon Quertermous

The invitation to join this blog couldn't have come at a better time. I was in the middle of an identity crisis of sorts blog-wise. I've been at this game in some form or another since December of 2006 and it's done some great things for me and my career. But lately, I've been wondering where to go next. And a lot of that question has to do with audience.

When I started, the audience was easy to identify. I'd started going to conferences and meeting people online through email and there was about five or six people who had blogs that I liked to follow and comment on and they were complaining that they never had a place to return fire. So I began recounting my adventures in finishing my second novel, developing my hand at short fiction, and my dating trials. The audience was small but loyal and I was having a blast.

Then a funny thing started happening. People I didn't know started commenting on my blog. They were coming from links at online journals publishing my fiction or through google searches from people who heard my name at a conference or something and wanted to find out more. Agents began sending me emails asking what I was working on and famous to semi-famous authors sent me emails telling me how much they liked my work. It was an intoxicating time and I started to believe I was actually an author.

But then, even as my short story stock began to soar, my novel career went stagnant. I couldn't finish a second book, I hated everything I wrote, I was blindsided by marriage and kids and real life, and so I shut things down for a bit. I emerged to an online world different than the one I left, populated by blogs, like this one, full of people I had never heard of. And they were good. Too fucking good for me.

I started the blog again though, because it's something I enjoy doing. I've never been short of blog ideas, but lately I haven't posted many of them and I figured out the reason why. I hadn't deifined my new audience. There are remnant of the old crown who still follow the blog, but most of them keep up with me through email or Twitter or Facebook. I haven't published any fiction online, aside from a couple of flash fiction pieces, in more than two years so there's no traffic coming from that end. And I guess I still don't have an answer to that question and it's what I'll probably be working through it in my posts here.

In the beginning you can probably expect many posts related to writing because it's what I like to read and write about. I'm a student of writing advice and many of my characters are writers so it's what I know best. I'm sure as I get to know you all and feel comfortable I'll let my guard down, and possible my pants, and show you the real me.

So get out while you can, really, would be the point of this.


Scott D. Parker said...

Bryon - Great to have you on board. And, frankly, I enjoyed knowing that someone else besides me has experienced problems with Novel #2. As I've written elsewhere, Novel #1 was basically a breeze. Not so the deuce. I'm focusing on short stories this year and completing novel #2 at all costs. I look forward to reading future posts. I'm glad DSD fits the bill you need at this moment in time. Welcome!

John McFetridge said...

"If there ain't no audience, there ain't no show."

That's from a song called "Raino" by a Canadian band named Chilliwack.

so, yeah, great to have you on board.

Kathryn Peterson said...

I can really relate to this post. I'm not much of a blogger myself, but the whole struggling with the novel thing, oh absolutely. I'm so there.

Hang in there. And enjoy the new ride.

Paul D Brazill said...

If you ignore it, the novel WILL go away. Won't it?

Jay Stringer said...

At the same time Paul, 'if you build it, he will come....'

Bryon, Welcome aboard. I hope you're prepared for the insane group emails you've just opened yourself up to.

Paul D Brazill said...

I'm more of a 'If You Book Them, They Will Come' soarta bloke by my brow's so low I have to scrape carpet fluff from it.

Dave White said...

Yeah, Bryon, get ready for the emails. Did you know Jay likes football (soccer) and I like Rutgers basketball? You will.

Steve Weddle said...

Welcome, sir.

As for the pants thing, that's why we went text only for this blog and shut down Jay's web cam.

Kathleen A. Ryan said...

Welcome to your new blog home, Bryon.

So many of us writers are just trying to find our way, so don't feel alone in that respect! It's a lonely endeavor, but this wonderful world of blogs and social media, you do have a tremendous audience at your fingertips.

Best wishes as you begin your journey at DSD ~ I know it will be a fruitful one!

Bryon Quertermous said...

See, this us the other thing I forgot to mentioon in my post that has changed in blog world. I wasn't getting nearly as many comments on my own blog as I used to which makes it hard to gauge the success of posts. So I'm pleased to see this many comments on my first post here. Thanks fir the welcome.

And those group emails are nothing compared to the private ones I get from Dave.

Joni Rodgers said...

Good luck, Bryon. You found a cool place to call home.

And by the way, I love the title "Lunchbox Hero." Evocative of smells, voices, and a very specific moment in pretty much anyone's life.

Scott Phillips said...

Here's my trick for finishing a novel: I keep thinking of new slang terms for various sexual activities and parts. Looking for a place to put a phrase like "milady's meatflower"is a very powerful incentive to keep the word count piling up.

Jay Stringer said...

Scott, i may try that for the blog from now on. A world of possibilities has just opened up. Much like lady mooncroft's trifle.

Anonymous said...

I think we should rename this blog Milady's Meatflower

Joelle Charbonneau said...

Bryon - I'm a newbie blogger, so I'm jealous of your experience:) I'll be learning from you and the rest of the Do Some Damamge gang.

Oh...and I'm also jealous about your short story abilities. I'm working on honing mine and it has been an interesting battle. You'll have to give me some tips.