Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Just How Much Do You Like Author Blogs?

I have to say that I love author blogs - I like the greater connection that I feel when I read there thoughts on whatever they choose to blog. I like that I can interact directly with them in a way that simply wasn't possible even a few years ago. I think it's good for the author in a business sense as well. And I also think that many, many people also like author blogs.

But, what do you feel about the potential for unintended consequences? How do you feel about it be written into contracts that authors must blog __ amount of posts per __ amount of time? Does that make you feel uncomfortable? (I sure do) Well, this is exactly what seems to be happening.

This is news to me (but not entirely suprising) and I found out from a reference on
Orbit's own blog. A new author of theirs (Jeff Somers) has started to meet his contractual requirement by blogging - and it's quite entertaining. Here's the blog where he talks about being required to blog - it sounds awefully tongue-in-cheek, but there is also some real bitterness there.


PS - Also, what are the implications of even clicking on the link to the blog? Seems to reinforce the requirement to me? Isn't life simple?

PSS - I've read a bit of his blog - it's hilarious, really you should go and read many of the entries. And now I want to read his book - see I'm a sheep now.

PSS - Of course I really wonder if he's contractually obligated or not. It's certainly an entertaining way to frame his blog - maybe I'm not a sheep, perhaps a goat.


Carl V. Anderson said...

I absolutely love author blogs. I think it is an amazing chance to get to know more about and connect with the authors we love. The most obvious example for me is Neil Gaiman's would take a loooong time to count the number of books he has mentioned on his site that I ended up loving and may not have heard about if not for the blog. Shannon Hale, a young adult author, has some very excellent conversations on her blog sometimes. John Scalzi's blog is incredible!

But should they be *made* to blog? NO WAY!!!!

From a marketing standpoint I'm not sure why any of them would want to miss out on blogging, but it should be their choice, not the person writing their paycheck. It doesn't surprise me at all that this is happening, but it saddens me that this would be put in a contract.

That is very disturbing.

Anonymous said...


Jeff Somers here--the blogger in question. Sorry if I've caused any confusion, but I'm not in any way actually obligated to blog by Orbit. The Blog is totally my voluntary output.

I'm like Krusty the Klown on the Simpsons--point a camera (or a writing venue) at me and I can't help myself, I get weird. But the Blog just seemed like a good, fun way to promote the upcoming book, and the conceit of being forced to do so seemed like a fun thing to do. Or at least it did at 1AM after half a bottle of Glenmoranjie.

Of course, if the contract was truly diabolical, I'd be contractually obligated to deny the existance of such a clause. And then contractually obligated to deny being forced to deny it. Just sayin'.

Thanks for checking out my little slice of the blogosphere, btw--glad you find me funny, and not pathetic. Or at least more funny than pathetic.


Neth said...

Ahh - thanks Jeff. After reading all the other posts I figured that it wasn't actually an obligation, but you can never quite tell. These days I'd not be surprised to find out that it was a contractual obligation.

Carl V. Anderson said...

Ah, Jeff, you ruined it for us all!!! ;)

Actually, I cannot imagine that blogging won't soon be a contractual obligation. Why would a company miss out on any opportunity to make a buck?

Of course, any author with the desire to make money and get there work out should see the value of a good author blog...that is the key, though, it has to be a 'good' blog...otherwise it might hurt sales!

Anonymous said...

Neth & Carl,

No problemo. I actually toyed with the idea of playing along and seeing if I could fan this into a full-blown front-page controversy in the name of art--uh, I mean, sales. But that seemed sneaky. I may be sodden and incoherent, but one thing I am not is sneaky.

Blogs are great tools--they're largely free and they allow you to interact with a potential audience, who can jeer you and complain about how disappointing your book is, or cheer you and tell you how great you are. In this day and age I think it's the greatest thing an author can do, actually.

I don't know if such things will ever be written into the contract--the contracts I've seen have always been much more concerned with the division of largely-imaginary (at least at first) monies the book might potentially earn, like the foreign-language rights in Middle French or something.

Carl V. Anderson said...

It probably would have blown up into a huge controversy Jeff, considering how fast these internet fires spread!

Considering the fact that I was recently approached by a major publisher whose representatives sole job was to get books into the hands of bloggers for review, it would still not surprise me if blogging didn't one day become a requirement for authors that was not offered to them as a choice. Blogs are obviously very important if they are hiring people to target them for marketing purposes.

Neth said...


Playing along would have been great and funny, but probably would have eventually caused some real burns, so I understand not doing it. However, I do love the blog and the 'schtick' you've decided on. And, really, are bad decisions ever made after half a bottle of Scotch?

Though as to blogging ever becoming a contractual obligation - there's not much I'd put past the corporate overlords.

Jim Stewart said...

I like an author blog to the degree an author is serious about it and puts thought into it. The idea of requiring an author to blog is absolutely stupid; not only could it lead to a lame blog, it also distracts your writer from finishing his next book!

I write more about this here.


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