Monday, January 26, 2009

Authors on the Web

Happy Chinese New Year everyone. I learned today that I was born in the year of the tiger. The tiger's horoscope isn't great for 2009, but it isn't horrible either. I guess it's kind of like the state of the economy right now, I just have to hang on and weather what comes this year, huh?

The New York Times reviewed John Grisham's new book, which I will probably at some point read. The review makes it sound like it's good Grisham, but already-done Grisham. So, it isn't really high on the priority list.

So, I was reading this article today; yes, I'm a bit behind. The story of my life. Anyway, I was reading this article and wondering what folks thought about all the technology that is starting to be associated with books: the websites, blogs, book trailers, etc. I have to say that, personally, book trailers don't do a whole heck of a lot for me. Now, on the other hand, short movies that tell me a little more about the author or about the world of the character, those I like. For example, Linda Fairstein has done a couple movies now and she herself has taken the viewer on a little sight-seeing expedition of the settings in her Alex Cooper novels. I enjoyed that. Likewise, Robert Crais has also taken folks on a tour of Elvis Cole's LA, and he's done short interview-type movies where we learn a little more about him. But the trailers that have "actors" representing the characters. I don't care so much for those. It's kind of like having a movie spoil your imagination's creations. Know what I mean? For me the trailer is the book jacket...or maybe a sneak peak at Chapter 1.

Now, websites and blogs, those I enjoy. I like learning more about the authors I read. I use the sites for reference, especially when I'm trying to figure out the order of books in a series. If I hear about an author from someone, I'll usually go look up his/her website. I also use the authors' sites to find out about their book releases, book tours, etc. And before someone says it, I'm merely a fan, not a stalker! ;)

But all in all, this technology is just another sign that the face of publishing as we know it is changing, evolving. Time had an article about just that thing. I guess it's inevitable, and we'll always try to fight change in one way or another - we humans are stubborn like that. I think as long as I'm alive there will still be good old fashioned books, which I'm grateful for. But eventually, it won't be the standard anymore, just like oral story telling still exists but it isn't the standard - at least not in our culture.

But, I digress, let's put the idea of ebooks and whatnot aside, what do YOU think about the book trailers and author websites and blogs? Any that you really like and would recommend people check out? Any really unique elements that you absolutely love? I have to say one of my favorite things are Craig Johnson's "post-its." Instead of a formal newsletter, Craig sends little "post-its" to your e-mail with updates and the most WONDERFUL anecdotes. Absolutely love it! And I love to follow Alafair's blog. She has great stuff to share, especially about her dog, Duffer! And Thomas Holland just has fun pictures at his site. They're hilarious. I love his sense of humor!

So, share with us. Let us know where the cool sites are! Happy Reading - in your books and on the web!


le0pard13 January 27, 2009 at 2:14 PM  

Jen, I've only seen a few of the book trailers and I'm not impressed. While I don't expect the level of quality like those for film--and it is a art, not a science, in developing a good movie trailer--book trailers lag far behind that medium. I don't think the industry quite knows what it should be doing when producing one. Plus, it's attempting to get the written work across in a totally different (visual) medium, and trying to force the potential reader into a pre-determined mindset (which they fail at since we readers have our own opinions).

I think it would do better in the audio medium, instead--being the audiobook reader that I am ;-). They could convey that book cover essence without changing our own notions--as long as they have a quality narrator. I agree that those, like RC's, that produce associated video interviews/explorations for their work, don't violate this. They just stimulate the curiousity--which is what they should be doing ;-).

p.s., Tiger, huh? I'm jealous. For my own, it's Pig for my wife and son, Rabbit for my daughter, and it's Horse, for me.

Jen January 27, 2009 at 6:57 PM  

Michael, I like the audio medium idea. I've listened to a few authors read the first chapters of their books as enticement. And that will be a good indicator of whether or not the author has a good hook, huh?

le0pard13 January 27, 2009 at 7:08 PM  

Yes, and I've heard what could be construed as them on RC's site. They're commericials, but I think they work well for this. For instance:

The Two Minute Rule

L.A. Requiem

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