For years I've listened to NPR, played the game of Name that Voice before the reporter signs off, picturing each commentator (Cory Flintoff delivers his stories from a leather winged-back chair, a burning cigar just out of frame; Ann Taylor has white hair. Smart gingham jacket. And pearls. Always pearls.) And then one day I decided I wasn't content with my imaginary stable. I needed to know that very minute what Melissa Block looked like and I hopped over to the site and she was so, so extremely NOT what I had pictured that I stopped myself from looking any further.
It's not unlike a time in college when I grabbed a friend and spontaneously drove to Nashville to listen to Stephen King be interviewed on stage. Sure, I knew what Uncle Stevie looked like thanks to the innumerable book jacket photos, but seeing him in person kinda threw me. He was just as foul-mouthed as his characters and rather pompous and blase about it all (this was pre-car accident), and I was still living a sheltered college girl existence, but I was really put-off by Stephen King, the person, not the creation in my head. It stayed with me as I read more of his stories, unable to divorce the man from the work.
So I think about this conundrum as I find myself visiting blogs and websites about the ever-evolving status of the publishing industry and its relationship with social media. I'm currently at work on a graphic novel and curious about the best way to approach publishing. According to the bloggers and writers who are the most media savvy, these are the writers that we as readers are going to seek out because we have a relationship with them. We not only know their words, but thanks to twitter and you tube and google plus, we will know them as people, too, and this will make us seek out the work more. If a writer is to be successful in the 21st century, he or she will have a brand, a platform, a strong, finely honed identity that will make them stand apart from the rest. I think if you are writing a memoir, this kind of natural cross promoting works. But what about a fiction writer? If you know his/her thoughts on abortion and pets and a recipe for quick weeknight meal, are you more likely to seek out their literary thrillers?
With everything so accessible, isn't there something kinda magical about a little mystery?
I ask you, while said writer is tweeting and FBing and blogging and letting you in to their personal sphere, shouldn't they maybe just be writing?
Or if you write and don't blog about it, will anybody download your book to their kindle?
So all that said, my video debut!