Books and Blogging: Marketing Isn't Community

Starting new blog posts with an apology about how long it's been since I blogged has become a tradition here, but - yes, once again - I'm hoping to change that. When I started this site it was simply a way of reaching out into the world, sharing some opinions, and joining a community. It was a very different blog, and in retrospect I think it was a better place. During the last couple of years, it's morphed - slowly and without me really realising - from a place for talking to a place for advertising. I've started posting when I have news about my books and my stories - but, actually, that's not what I want this place to be. It's great fun to share new projects and new deals, and I know my publicist would tell me to shout about my books from the rooftops, but readers are more savvy than ever, and in a social media world, it doesn't take long for marketing-dressed-as-friendship to turn sour.

Mind you, as a writer, it's never easy to find the balance between hiding your work and earning a living. Part of the contract between my publishers and me (not the literal, legal contract, but the relationship in general) is that they pay for the book, and I help sell it. A reclusive author is all well and good, but hundreds of people have worked hard to get my books into the world, and you don't want to be childish when they ask you to help spread the news.

So - can I save this blog and turn it back into a place that's about writing and writers and readers and books, and not just about one particular book and one particular publication day? I hope so.

Here's one thing I'm looking forward to - in just over a week, I'm launching the 1031 Story Challenge for its third year. More on that to come (but the gist is easy: we all write short stories, and there's no prizes, and everyone's happy). For now, I will actually get back to writing, and leave you with some of the best books I've read lately.

A Series of Good Books in No Particular Order