You’re not alone. Being told to build an online presence creates internal conflict for a lot of writers. This is the topic I tackle (somewhat obliquely) this month in my column at Writer Unboxed. Here’s how it begins:
I’ve been reading with interest (and sympathy) the comments on Porter Anderson’s Unboxed post last week, where we see the familiar Sturm und Drang of writers grappling with the demands of online marketing—or how to be publicly communicative and chummy when it’s against our nature, perhaps even against our work.
This has remained a problem for a long time now, hasn’t it?
One of my favorite thinkers is Alan Watts, who once said, “Problems that remain persistently insoluble should always be suspected as questions asked in the wrong way.”
To begin to inspect this problem—and a beginning is all that’s possible for this blog post—I’ll discuss a few writers who exhibit the following qualities: (1) Their writing work is clearly central to everything they do, (2) their voice, online or off, is authentic, and (3), their online presence and engagement is unique to them and, at least from my POV, sustainable and meaningful.
Jane Friedman (@JaneFriedman) has 20 years of experience in the publishing industry, with expertise in digital media strategy for authors and publishers. She is the publisher of The Hot Sheet, the essential newsletter on the publishing industry for authors, and was named Publishing Commentator of the Year by Digital Book World in 2019.
In addition to being a columnist for Publishers Weekly, Jane is a professor with The Great Courses, which released her 24-lecture series, How to Publish Your Book. Her book for creative writers, The Business of Being a Writer (University of Chicago Press), received a starred review from Library Journal.
Jane speaks regularly at conferences and industry events such as BookExpo America, Digital Book World, and the AWP Conference, and has served on panels with the National Endowment for the Arts and the Creative Work Fund. Find out more.