Lacking Presence

27 Mar

I’ve been building an ‘online presence’ for seven years now, ever since an artist friend in Vienna told me that I simply had to have a Facebook account. At some point, I browsed through one of those writers’ handbooks in the town library. It said the same thing. So I joined Twitter. I have a Goodreads author page. More recently, I’ve signed up to a number of websites that are supposed to promote writers’ work.

And has any of this cyber-spatial activity brought my fiction anywhere nearer to being published? No. My internet presence has resulted in a total absence of published work. As a consequence, I remain as invisible to most readers as ever, an insubstantial presence. True, I’ve all but given up approaching publishers and agents, for such a waste of time does it seem to be. And to be honest, I’d really rather be writing novels than letters to agents or self-promoting tweets.

All of which might be somewhat annoying if I allowed it to be so. I know that I can write and that I’ve written some works that really ought to be sitting in a bookshop near you right now. That’s not as arrogant as it sounds. I’ve been writing for a long time and I think I’d have noticed by now if I weren’t any good at it. As my regular readers will know, I’ve worked as a music journalist and had a biography published. Fortunately,seeing my books in print isn’t the be all and end all for me. I write fiction because that’s what I do. But it does bring into question whether all of this online activity isn’t rather a waste of time and effort.

Online or in the Cloud, none of it makes any difference...

Online or in the Cloud – none of it makes any difference…

And then, of course, I signed up to WordPress. So here I sit, drafting out another post. This blog supposedly has nearly 1400 followers but I’m pretty sure it has done nothing to raise my writing profile either. But it’s kind of therapeutic and I’ve met some good people through it, so perhaps it’s not entirely a waste of time…

All text and images © PSR 2015

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4 Responses to “Lacking Presence”

  1. Mari Biella March 28, 2015 at 9:49 am #

    I suppose my attitude to social media has changed over time, Paul. Its value in terms of building a presence depends on how it’s used; when I see someone engaging in blatant and constant self-promotion, for example, I’m actually more likely to ignore that person. The only way to truly build a meaningful presence, I think, is to get to know people, and that takes time and patience, and a degree of luck. However, gradually you begin to form links with people – links that won’t necessarily help you to attract a publisher or whatever it is you want to do, but which might not be entirely useless either.

    Through being part of the Authors Electric blog, for example, I’ve met many authors, many of whom were or still are published by trade publishers, and all of whom are highly-regarded and highly-experienced. We can’t necessarily help one other to achieve whatever we want to achieve – I doubt any of us really expect that – but just having a connection with one another provides us with a support structure. That, for me, is the most important thing.

    I’m sure that you’re gradually building a network, Paul, simply because you’re engaging, you write about interesting subjects, and you seem more interested in cultivating friendships than in selling yourself as a product. In a world where just about everyone seems intent on becoming a brand rather than just being a person, that sets you apart, and in a good way. I don’t know why you can’t seem to interest publishers in your work – if I were an acquisitions editor, I’d be fighting and pleading for the rights to Mayflies – but I really hope that one day you will!

  2. Paul Sutton Reeves March 28, 2015 at 10:29 am #

    Hi Mari and thanks for your comments and encouragement.

    It sounds as though Authors Electric has been just the thing for you and I’m glad its members have proved supportive. And you’re right – I do value making connections with like-minded people. I’ve very much enjoyed reading your excellent writing and appreciate the feedback that you’ve given me on mine. I’m not much of a joiner of things myself, though. I’m not even sure that building a network is what I’m trying to do… Perhaps we’ve alighted upon the problem with all my internet activity – I don’t actually know what I want from it!

  3. Lisa April 2, 2015 at 3:10 am #

    You’re a wonderful writer, Paul. I’ve also found that getting published can be highly political. Don’t be discouraged! One day, a smart editor will take your novel on and your prolific career will take off.

  4. Paul Sutton Reeves April 2, 2015 at 5:32 pm #

    Thanks, Lisa, you are very kind. Hopefully so…

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