In relation to the previous post, and as a result of Jeff Jarvis' discussion, a quick look across the Irish blogosphere shows up quite a few Irish writers using blogs to write about both work, life and everything else. Have blogs and email replaced the traditional literary letters? (NYT seems to think so) How much are writers willing to collaborate with audiences online?
Any input/ideas and opinions from writers, bloggers and readers are welcome. (I am linking to a few writers on the Blogosphere here but there are many more I have missed)
White House Poets Shitty First Draft
Desmond Swords Robert Bruce
Alice Lyons Paul Sweeney
Sean Lysaght Barbara Smith
Peter Sirr Pat Boran
Micheal Begnal Lorraine McArdle
That Girl John Scalzi
Onyeka George Jane Holland
Bookish Selection of Poetry
Kevin Doran C.Dale Young
Seth Ambramson Dermot
Lane Smith Tuppenceworth.ie
Seth Godin Eoin Purcell
The conversation surrounding this topic has been interesting, and conflicting in places. Barbara Smith summarised one aspect of the argument as 'boiling down to the difference between hard copy and soft copy'. The conflict between traditional publishing and the web is only one, and possibly the first, step in successful online publishing. There are a number of other questions arising from using the internet, such as the changing relationship between an author and audience and the changes that writing online has on writing methods.
All of the writers/bloggers/readers that have contributed so far have been fairly conservative about moving away from print entirely. American Poet, Robert Bruce hopes that his blog will bring enough of a readership to help him move into print when he approaches a publisher.
"…if, in 2 or 3 years I approach a publisher with my regular readership of around 100,000 folks a month (or more), said publisher will most likely be more inclined to take a glance at my stuff. You see, I’ve done all the marketing, footwork, and building for them.
…a blog does not replace real publishing. What it does is intensify the publishing world and shakes it out of a deep and selfish slumber."
The validity of self-publishing on the Internet is also brought to contention, as both Lorraine McArdle and Micheal Begnal dispute how successful self-publishing can be. The absence of an editor, and with no restriction on content, allows anyone/anything to be published and does not allow for any objective view to the content before it is published. Begnal adds,
"…if you get yourself in a literary magazine, or if you’re very lucky, a real book, that means that at least one person besides you thinks your work is worth something, and more often than not, that person knows their stuff (if they’ve found themselves editing a “respected” journal)."
Going further, Begnal also questions the validity of the medium and questions whether or not an audience takes a blog/website as seriously as a book? As much as writers' are unwilling to move away from print and use the Internet only to compliment their work, how far is the reader willing to move?
Eoin Purcell (via his blog) adds his voice and has experienced the change in publishing and a new departure in writer/publisher marketing relationships.
"…A writer of a soon to be released Dublin Archaeology book approached us with an amazing idea, a wonderful website which acts a showcase and bundles of passion. What was more his website has over 100,000 unique visitors a month. Most publishers would have ignored the topic as being slightly off track, but as we have some experience with it and we liked the additional revenues of worldwide web sales, we will publish his book in October as the first of several."
Any replies will be posted up here – let me know if there is anyone I miss out on.