• Bridge Ladies

    Bridge Ladies When I set out to learn about my mother's bridge club, the Jewish octogenarians behind the matching outfits and accessories, I never expected to fall in love with them. This is the story of the ladies, their game, their gen, and the ragged path that led me back to my mother.
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Nowhere Could You Get That Happy Feeling

We never talk about it, I don’t want to talk about it, but it’s time. It’s a question every publisher asks an agent when we pitch a book. What is the writer’s PLATFORM. What’s their SOCIAL? How many FOLLOWERS? If Nabokov were around today, I truly hope he’d have a gorgeous Instagram of his butterflies. If Papa was around, I’d love to see him do the dance challenge on Tik Tok. I believe Emily Dickinson would have torn up Twitter. One of my clients started putting pieces of his memoir on Facebook before it was finished. I was apoplectic, afraid that editors would reject the book due to the exposure. Instead, editors started calling me. They were eager to see the manuscript. And over time, thousands of people started following him. And when the book came out, their pre-orders launched the book on to the NYT bestseller list. It was a turning point for me. I saw how a writer could find his audience, one post at a time.

What’s your social?

13 Responses

  1. Uch I find that so discouraging. How do first time authors fit into this paradigm?

  2. My social is unsociable. I’d rather write fiction, so that’s what I do. I sell enough books to be happy, without wasting my life on Twitter trying to seem cleverer than I am. Or Instagram, trying to seem prettier. Or Farcebook, trying to seem gooderer.

    As for Tik Tok, I’ll listen to Bryce Courtenay, who made more sense in three words than that whole fucking waste of time site does: “Tick. Tock. Death.”

    Well, I just commented on three posts on Betsy’s Blog, that’ll probably do me for the year. Social Schmocial.

  3. “What’s your social?”

    Meager, when not anti-.

    No, let me try to be precise. Or more precise. I haven’t had breakfast yet, or even coffee.

    This is social, this place, Betsy’s blog. Here I am. I also FB, though FB is but a hollow shell of the rollicking funhouse it was five years ago before all the spies were outed. I thought of Instagramming but determined not to, it’s not for me, I’m not for it. So sad. Could I have been — or could I yet be — and Instagram poet, with six digits of followers? So sad. I also hang out at Wonkette, a sometimes virulent leftish political community where you can get dragged for not following the party line as surely as you could at CPAC or Fox.

    My community. My homies. My social. Oh, and there’s my blog, which I still post to every day, and to which, as far as I can determine, no other human ever ventures.

    Do I prefer the more Ferrantic route? I think I do, but I’m not her, whoever she may be.

    Just yesterday I was telling my wife as to how I am fortunate, or believe myself to be fortunate, in that the life I lead does not impel me to make the sacrifices successful writers make. I wasn’t kidding, and I’m not. I have but one life. It’s not getting longer. I have a day job, you know. There isn’t time to waste. It’s hard enough to make ends meet and have a slice of creative life without turning myself into a commercial chimera.

    Here’s my social — Every day I post to FB a quote from something I’ve read, and two photographs from my portfolios. When I get something published in a litmag, I post a link and a shout-out to the editors. On my own blog, every day I post the same quote that I post on FB. My blog also has copies of most of my published work, a rotating portfolio of my photos, links to my books, my Gordon Lish Notes, and copies of various screwy audio recordings I made a while back. I think that’s all that’s there. Even I hardly go there any more. Wonkette I’ve given up for Lent. When I’m there I try to be helpful or funny or shut up. Sometimes I post photos there from whatever portfolio I’m working on. I can spend a while on Wonkette. I get lonely.

    When I was a kid, I often preferred to play alone. Other kids bugged me, they were so stupid. In some ways, that hasn’t changed. Yes, I want people to read my writing. But I’m not a trick pony or a singing dog.

  4. Yeah, I’m antisocial, too. And besides, there are other ways in, paths where the writing matters most. These paths probably won’t lead to a bestseller list, but in the end I’ll have my self respect. I refuse to compromise and become an internet whore. So there.

  5. Yow, am I ever behind the times. Nothing. I think that it would have to be something fresh and I don’t know what that is yet. What your client posted on Facebook had to have been good to get the followers and that says a lot. More power to him. A Hemingway dance challenge? I don’t know; maybe if there was some whiskey involved…

  6. OMG – what is wrong with WordPress. I just typed out a BIG comment, and it asked me to sign in before I could post it – and poof. Gone. DAMMIT.

  7. I’m with Tetman and Mr iPants on this, but then I’m not trying to sell anything so it hardly matters.

    I started a blog years ago when I was a photographer trying to round up clients, and it was great for that. When I shifted toward blogging as a writer, it seemed to me that what I was writing there mattered more to me than the books I produced, which always felt somewhat obligatory—you write a book because that’s what writers do. But it was always in the back of my mind that the blog was really the thing for me, that it could be a form of expression in and of itself, without any other purpose or marketing proposition attached.

    I think that’s where I’ve landed. I blog because I have no more lofty writing goals and still crave the process and engagement. As for other forms of social media, hard pass. I selfie for no one.

    • So glad you’re back blogging/writing again. Your essays always give me much to think about. I mean, you’ve done it. You’ve published books and now you’re reconsidering it all. Makes me think that the reality might be different from the dream. Hmm…

  8. Hi Betsy! Who’s memoir are you referring to? Now I’m interested. Thx, Jude

  9. Indy Clause needs to get off her ass and write a book. (Her real-life persona is way ahead of her in this regard.)

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