February 2006

Editorial    Notices    Books Received

My Digital Decade, Part II: Author

(Writer, Editor, Publisher, Canoodler)

mysterious clock downtown San Diego Writer I'm still not done with this topic before moving on to Editor, etc. I guess one never is, when one writes. Writing means the world to me. Writing is my life. If you are truly an author, you'll understand completely. The current theme has been: We're working harder, already, so we must figure out how to work smarter. It's easier said than done. A million or more writers are competing for precious slots—and I don't mean with editors or publishers.

I'm talking about where it really counts—with readers. So, you think it's hard to reach editors and publishers? Think again. Ultimately, editors and publishers are trying to win the same prize you are: reach the reader. The problem is that readers are saturated 7/24 with a blitz of information (I've mentioned this before—including the digital urinal that flashes messages as you whee). How to get a piece of the reader's attention?

Critical Mass Barring a sudden lightning bolt from heaven, and a spot on Ophrah's show, what can we do to make ourselves visible to readers? One approach that seems to be gaining favor is podcasting. That's creating audio clips and posting them online for readers to download. Currently, it seems to work if it's free and in a popular format like the iPod. Then there are the usual Web things that I've been struggling with for a decade now: metatags, the title bar, and all the rest of the suggestions offered by Google and the Google users. Beyond that, however, there is a concept called critical mass. Originally applied to atom bomb explosions (enough highly refined uranium or plutonium in one spot all at once, and Boom!, CM is a term with many useful applications.

What I mean here is that an author reaches a certain point where people start coming back to his/her work, and tell others about it. A useful example is this: ten individual books that are unrelated will generally tend to disappear soon, whereas a series of ten books by the same author, on the same theme, will tend to bring readers back. It will tend to get a reader who liked one book to try one or two others in the series. Ultimately, again, it all depends on having that magnetism that draws the reader to your work in the first place. Without a salable product that the readers feel impulsively they must have, all the rest is vanity. The best publisher, the best editor, the best spot in the bookstore, will not sell your book if your book doesn't have that joie de reader.

More in next month's rant. Thanks for stopping by, and have a great month!



Notices received from third party organizations will be displayed here as appropriate. If no notice appears here, it means we did not receive any this month.


Books Received

Books and materials received may not be shown here, but will most likely be reviewed or discussed in our columnists' monthly articles. See appropriate column for info.

home submissions Broadband - editorial Transmissions - media critic Singularities - Reviews archive of cover art and images archive of fiction - links to Fictionwise, a wonderful site now gone since Jan 2012. Far Sector SFFH had its own page with all of our stories listed and available to buy/read. Items that need their own place under the sun: Tessa Dick interview Connections - links to elsewhere Shaun's Quadrant - Interviews, articles, more reviews by Sean Farrell Ask The Smart Guy - humor by Dennis Latham


Warning: Intellectual Property Notice.

For historical information, visit the Clocktower Books Museum Site. Far Sector SFFH (formerly Deep Outside SFFH) was an imprint of Clocktower Books, our umbrella small press publishing house in San Diego, California USA. Our original motto: "Clocktower Books means Exciting Fiction For Avid Readers—On The Web Since 1996." This was digital publishing at its best in that day, including digital and print editions of many titles. Visit John T. Cullen's Webplex for info about Clocktower Books today, plus his continuing books and projects.