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Now that I’m in the throes of promoting the upcoming publication of my second book, It’s Probably Nothing…, it’s become very clear, very rapidly, how important the internet is to sales.
When my first book came out ten years ago, there was no Facebook or Twitter. There was no Goodreads. Amazon was still sort of new and changed the price of items in your basket according to how long they’d been there, in a ploy to get you to buy them. Literary journals lived decidedly offline. People read actual newspapers instead of hitting up TMZ for news.
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No-one I knew back then had a personal website, and if you wanted to dabble in that sort of thing, you coded html by hand. It was all very rudimentary, and book promotion meant word of mouth and handing out fliers.
Today, you can find me at my author page at Simon & Schuster, my author page on Amazon, and my author page on Goodreads. You can become a fan of me on Facebook and follow me on Twitter. You can hit the first search result that comes up on Google, which is my website, and link to everything else from there. If you’re reading this, you have already come across my blog — but I have others too; three others to be precise, each with their own theme: Scott’s Last Blog, The Inky Jukebox, and Yuckylicious. You can find many of my published articles and poems online.
In short, I am all over the web. If you wanted to find me, I can be found.
That is not to say I am free and loose with my personal information, of course. You have to actually know me to get that.
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It is with some surprise then, that I still can’t find so many of my cousins in far-off shores or old school friends. Do they have jobs? Email addresses? Have they ever gone to college? Do they belong to any social media site anywhere? Apparently not. How can this happen? How can one live a normal life in this day and age and be hidden in plain view? Are they people who manage without a mobile phone or a laptop? How do they do their banking, pay their bills — and more importantly, buy their books?
I live in Pittsburgh, a city that has been nearly wiped clean of bookstores in which one can buy an actual book. We have a few Barnes and Nobles, and some outlying neighborhoods have a quaint independent store or two (I’m guessing here) that might sell books, and there are, it must be said, some university bookstores which have some things for sale that are not textbooks. But the reality is if you want to buy a book here, you do it online.
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Which brings me back to my point: so much of what I am currently doing takes place through a screen that I am hoping multitudes of potential customers are looking at too. At the end of the day, more will be written in the service of promoting this book (which is excellent, by the way — you should buy it) than were written in the book. The aggregate of words heap up against it like snow.