The SFF blogosphere ain't what it used to be

SFF author Mark Charan Newton recently posted his thoughts regarding the current state of the industry on his website.

Here's an extract:

So anyway: here are some observations on the industry after another year.

1. The blogosphere ain’t what it used to be. Blogs have come and gone, and actually a lot have appeared in the last couple of years. The net result, combined with Twitter (which absorbs debate and attention) means that conversation is now phenomenally diluted; niches have sprung up within our genre niche. I’d consider print review venues (other than, say, SFX or the Guardian) to be absolutely ineffective in generating debate or playing much of a role in the genre, but the debate online is increasingly watered-down in terms of impact. It ain’t what it used to be. The older blogs still have the bit audience: Pat’s Fantasy Hotlist, A Dribble of Ink, Wertzone, or the Book Smugglers (these are the first four I typed – there are many more, but newer blogs will struggle to come close to getting their page views).

2. For this reason, I really pity new authors. It’s tough out there – it was a year ago – but now, with so much diluted debate, how the hell can you get yourself noticed? Having publishers tell authors to get out there is even more frustrating because…

3. Publishers dominate once again. Remember that time where people controlled debate according to the mildly anarchistic nature of the internet? Not now. The big publishers have created the mega-sites, and have invited bloggers to write guests posts. It’s miraculous – regular, interesting content, around which they can flog their books (and they’re a business – that’s what we expect). Bloggers mention they write guest posts, and send traffic to the mega-sites. Traffic flows one way. What’s more, the ethics of reviewer/blogger neutrality has been raised in discussion a few times. The saddest thing about all of this is that money (resources to set up these sites) now buys attention once again; for a short while, that wasn’t the case.

Follow this link to read the full article.

I was meaning to respond to Newton's post, but I've been up to my neck in boxes and shit since I moved into a new apartment on Monday.

Yet since many of you are bloggers and/or blog followers, I figured that you might have something to say about his thoughts.

Personally, I don't feel that the publishers' mega-sites are that great. To be honest, I was kind of excited at the beginning, but not rarely ever visit them. They lack the life and personality of blogs run by passionate and dedicated fans of the genre. . .

7 commentaires:

usb 3.0 front panel kit said...

Why do blogs have come and gone? I appreciate your blog very much. Keep your good working,man!

Ted Cross said...

I do agree that it is almost impossible for any of us unknown writers to get any attention with our blogs. It doesn't seem to matter how interesting our blogs may be, very few ever notice us.

SQT said...

When I first started blogging I ran across a stat that said most blogs don't last more than a year or so. I've seen a lot come and go, though more seem to be lasting than used to be the case, so maybe it's changed. But I agree that it's become incredibly diluted. I don't even try to keep up anymore and pretty much stick to the established list of blogs that I've followed for awhile.

Jamie Gibbs said...

I agree that the sheer number of blogs now means that there is less of an impact, since things are being spread too thin. However, I much prefer a blog to a megasite, since blogs rarely have an alternative agenda that favours these publishers.

Elfy said...

I agree with you about the publisher blogs. I rarely find anything of interest on them and prefer non publisher linked blogs for information and reviews.

Kenny Cross said...

I ran my own website in 2000/2001. A blog before I ever heard the word blog. I always felt then that it sucked my creative time and energy away from the actual writing. Since I coded it myself it was time intensive but rewarding. Even then very few people saw it outside of friends. I did it to promote the writing but too much of a time killer.

Using your blog to promote your own work sounds great in theory. Unfortunately people have to know you exist in the first place. Second, once they find you even if you have great content it's just one more blog added to a long list of blogs that people scan through.

I'm just as bad as anyone though. Even with my favorite authors who have kick ass blogs and update daily I rarely visit them even on a monthly basis now. Pat's is rare for me. Only one of 10 sites or so I allow myself to visit every day (includes all sites not just blogs). If I have just read a novel by a new author or by an author who's been around for awhile and I love the book - I might see if they have a blog. Unfortunately for me blogs by authors can be more of a turn off than on.

Because I've been on the interwebs for 15 years or so I've pretty much lost that excitement that I had the first time I would come across an author's home grown website and spend hours on it when the interwebs was the new Wild West.

To be honest: write the best book you can. If it's good I'll find it eventually. I don't care if you have a cat named Zeus and a Great Dane named Sparkle or that you collect dental tools from the 1800's. I'll read your book - I'll skip you blog - except Pat's - his rocks!

machinery said...

what exactly are the publishers mega sites ?
if you mean the online tor page or locus and that stuff, than they are messy.
too big, not clear enough catagories.
that being said, i have not seen one of the leading bloggers comment negativly about martin's publishing delay.
that means, to me, that they are no longer just fans who write about books, but also people "in the buisness", who don't want to be on the bad side of some of the other people.
honesty has dwindled, that's for sure.