Thursday, March 1, 2012

You Gotta Have Faith, When Blogging

One of the big differences between blogging and book selling (besides a salary) is knowing your actually selling a book or two. Anyone who has ever hand sold a book can appreciate how good that feels. Even more so when the person comes back for another recommendation. I enjoy talking about books online and anyone who does this must (please refer back to no salary comment) but its so hard not knowing if people are actually, buying, borrowing, reading, or downloading any of the books that are mentioned.

I recently listed 2012 titles by female authors of color it's received over 500 hits, however without anymore information (especially with so few comments, only 3) I simply must have faith that some of the visitors will seek out one or two of the titles, or even print out the list for future reference. But I just don't know, and this makes finding the motivation to blog a little difficult sometimes. Am I really making a difference? All bloggers ask themselves that question from time to time. However I do not like to dwell on it because when I do the book world and its readers seem ocean large and that's a tad overwhelming.

I couldn't resist showing the George Michael video


Read in Colour said...

I'm over here humming MiJac's "You Are Not Alone." I can't tell you how many times I've been ready to quit blogging, like seriously ready to just walk away from it for the exact same reason. As a reader and a blogger, you read good books and you want to share them with people. When all you get in response to posts are crickets, it's easy to get discouraged.

I've found that taking a blogging break is helpful. Also subscribing to and posting on other book blogger's sites helps. Regular readers won't necessarily comment, but book bloggers seem to, especially if you're engaged on their site.

Another thing I've noticed is that while people won't comment on a post, they will engage in dialogue on my Facebook page if the topic interests them.

I love your blog and discover some good things over here. Please know that there are people out here reading your words.

Cynthia Leitich Smith said...

I've always heard that there's nothing more persuasive than a word-of-mouth recommendation, and that's a lot of what you're doing here. I'm sure it makes a difference, and I thank you for it!

tanita✿davis said...

Yes - agreed.
I know that people are seeking out the books, and I, too, sometimes kind of shake my head at things which seem to land without a reaction from my blog ... but then, I read the stats. I know people are reading. And you DO have to have faith - and have patience! - as people begin to talk and you can become a part of the conversation.

Hang in there!

Chanda @ Disordered Cosmos said...

I pre-ordered 10 of the books, and I know others bought some of them too.

Doret said...

Reads4Pleasure - I agree, taking a break every once in a while is must. All the bloggers who contribute here did just that. With our personal blogs, this one and the real world, we all got a bit over loaded.

Cynthia and Tanita thanks for the kind words.

Chanda - thanks so much for taking the time to comment, knowing you pre ordered 10 books made this all worth it. Of course I'd love to know which book. But I am happy enough knowing it was so many.

Chanda @ Disordered Cosmos said...

So, I was just ordering a book by Drew Hayden Taylor that I haven't read yet and realized, oh my god, I'm ordering fiction again and realized that I should tell you that you are solely responsible for this. I'm a theoretical physicist and a woman of color who loves literature. So this means I spend my life mostly around white men, dealing with a lot of ignorance/racism/sexism/classism, and this has meant it's become difficult for me to read literature. There's so much whiteness in the literary world! (Obvious statement of the week!) I also come from a biracial family and identify strongly as both Black and Jewish, for which I take a lot of flack . . . from everyone. I grew up in Chicano barrio too, and so I have lots of threads I want to connect to. Essentially, I got really exhausted with literature that didn't address themes that actually spoke to my every day life as a queer woman of color. Even though you'd think there'd be so many, since I have so many connections! And that in itself is a telling: the majority of us are invisible in the literary world.

I also got tired of the fact that the only authors of color I ran into and liked were men. If you don't like Zadie Smith and Nalo Hopkinson and you've read everything that came out before 2000, all the classical works like Toni Morrison, it can sometimes feel like you're shit out of luck, you know? I know women of color are writing, and I know some of them are getting their foot through the door. But as a reader who doesn't function in the literary world in any way (say, as a writer), it's hard to find and connect with those authors. In addition, trying to be a postdoc in physics is very time consuming. So, I had stopped reading fiction, for a couple of years actually. I tried not to think about it much because when I did, it made me extremely sad.

So, I was really thrilled by your list because even though it had authors I didn't particularly enjoy, it had a whole bunch that looked interesting. There were so many first novels on the list! Also, the books that people on Amazon were buying along with them turned out to be great suggestions. The first book to arrive was actually not on the list and by a man (and already out, hence the first to arrive), but it has been an awesome read. That is The Fat Years by Chan Koonchung.

The next one to arrive, which I have already started is A Cupboard Full of Coats by Yvette Edwards. This one is particularly close to my heart because my family too is Caribbean. One thing that became clear to me by page 6 is that she's writing for an audience that doesn't know Caribbean culture. To be honest, this made me a bit sad. I understand why it's necessary. But it would be nice to read a book written for me. That's what I've been missing. I look forward to a time when women of color have the opportunity to write like that and still get published.

Here are the other books that I ordered, in order of arrival:
The Reeducation of Cherry Truong by Aimee Phan
Perla by Carolina De Robertis
Jasmine and Fire by Salma Abdelnour
Things We Left Unsaid by Zoya Pirzad
Conquistadora by Esmeralda Santiago
Homesick by Roshi Fernando
The Black Isle by Sandi Tan
The Cutting Season by Attica Locke

So really, all of this is to say that the reason I have found my way back to literature, rather gleefully, is thanks to you taking the time to put that blog entry together. I totally respect wanting to take a break, and I hope you take it. But I also hope you come back and continue to bring these narratives to light. Thank you.

Shell said...

Keep blogging and putting out the word about all these great books. I have a little boy now and got wonderful book recommendations from your posts. He's only 5 months, never too early to think about reading.

Amy said...

I am sorry for being a terrible commenter... but I definitely love and appreciate the posts and am using them to find new books!