Tuesday, January 04, 2011

To Twitter or Not To Twitter...*

On Twitter, Victoria Strauss linked to an article from the LA Times that implies that social media doesn't work for retailers.

I think that may be entirely true for people selling cans of beans. Personally, I can't imagine following a promotional link from a twitter from JC Penny to buy socks or whatever at half price, though I could see how some people might. But I think that to say this is an argument for not bothering with social media as an author misunderstands how readers interact with authors (as opposed to booksellers) these days.

I have to admit to finding an author not only through Facebook, but also through silly videos of cats on YouTube. I actually went out and bought books by these two people after my interaction with them (or their cats) on-line.

And I don't think I'm the only one.

I think that an author, these days, is expected to be available for the consumer almost like a product him or herself. You like my blog? Try my book! This may seem crass, but we -- at least in the science fiction community -- should be used to the concept of this. It's really not unlike the idea of going to a convention and being on panels so people can get an idea of who you are. It's the same, only a lot more international (and a lot harder to stand out.)

Also, frankly, I'm glad retailers haven't figured out how to dominate Facebook and Twitter entirely yet. I'd like to keep my social media fairly social, and leave the ads elsewhere.

---- * reposted from Wyrdsmiths.

Monday, January 03, 2011

Happy Birthday Tolkien*

We decided on a whim over this vacation, on Friday, to start watching the Lord of the Rings trilogy on DVD. Mason wasn't interested at first, but got caught up when Aragorn fights the ring wraiths and Frodo gets stabbed. When Boromir dies we all wept like dogs, and Mason was totally hooked. After that, it kind of became a thing. We met upstairs in the afternoon and sat down to watch the next one. Which went along fine until Sunday night, when --right at the point when Frodo is stung by the giant spider queen, Shelob -- the DVD flaked. We washed it. We tapped the DVD player. But the disc would spin no more.

So began my quest.

I drove out to Target just up the street on University, but they didn't have it. I called Borders on University, but they only had "Two Towers" in Blueray. Moving northward, I tried Barnes & Noble at Har Mar, called HPB in Roseville, went to Best Buy, called the Borders in Roseville Mall... NO ONE had it.

The guy at Barnes & Noble thought that there might be a copy in Maplewood, but he wasn't sure. I was losing hope. Then, I remembered who I was. I am a proud geek, member of the nerd herd. I got the phone and started calling my friends. Someone that I know must be a fan of the LotRs enough to have a copy! Or at least, maybe they would know someone who knew someone. I mean, come on, this is fandom, I figured I was probably only seven degrees of seperation from Peter Jackson himself.

When I called around, my friend and fellow writer, Naomi Kritzer happened to be talking to friends who had a copy. I could meet them at their place and they would "but lend it to me." (Remember the scene in Fellowship with Boromir and Frodo? "If you would but lend it [the ring] to me...")


So we were able to watch the end last night. Now Mason is thinking we might do a "Harry Potter" with the Lord of the Rings -- which means read each book out loud and at the end of each book, watch the movie again. I'm totally up for that. I'd forgotten how much I loved the movies and how well I remember the first book. Speaking of fandom, it is my utter shame that I have, in point of fact, never read beyond Fellowship. What can I say? I was thirteen and dyslexic... still, I've always been embarrassed by this and usually deny it, if pressed.

Kind of cool, too, that today is J. R. R. Tolkien's birthday. It's almost like we planned this (only we didn't.)


Excerpted from my LJ.