What Would Hemingway Do? (WWHD?)

Working alone in a shed at the far corner of a boatyard provides me plenty of time to think, and curling up in the forward cabin with my laptop, well beyond any internet signals, leaves me hours of distraction-free time to write. But it doesn’t sell books. These days, if you want to sell books, social networking is the way to go. And while I spend my days working on the boat, in every sense of the word, my fellow authors are actively working online, posting to Facebook, Tweeting, and commenting, as well as utilizing numerous other social network platforms I’ve yet to explore.

True, I’ve blogged for years, though originally my blog wasn’t even a blog, but simply a web page documenting a previous boat restoration. When I began, it gave me a way to easily share pictures and stories with a small circle of friends. The content has since branched into other areas and attracted more readers, and I’ve  linked it (sort of — there’s still some kinks) to Facebook, yet this blog remains my main online presence. But these days, new platforms are emerging at an accelerating rate, and I realize as an author, it would serve me well to learn and use these latest ways of reaching out to a wider audience.

Instead, I continue to split my time between my family, an old boat, and writing. And the other day, while I cut my way through yards of fiberglass, I found myself wondering: is this what I should be doing if I ever hope to achieve greatness. Okay. Just kidding. I’ll settle for reasonable mid-list-ish-ness. But seriously, if some of the ‘great’ authors of days gone by were alive today, how would they spend their time? Would they be out, living life and writing about it, or would they be hunkered down in the glow of their computer monitors, chained to their WiFi signals like dogs by an invisible fence as they delved into the many layers of social media and networked with their fellow authors and readers?

Would John Steinbeck be sharing on Tumblr?
Would Mark Twain ask readers to ‘like’ him on Facebook?
Would Edgar Allen Poe attend Thrillerfest?
Would Emily Dickinson post her Pintrests?
Would Jane Austen frequent Reddit?
 Would Jules Verne be updating his Author Page?
Would Agatha Christie be Linkedin?
Would Ernest Hemingway Tweet?

I know this social networking thing works, and I’ve seen how the authors most adept at it have a distinct advantage when it comes to reaching and connecting with readers. Don’t construe that I’m knocking social networking – if anything, I wish it came more naturally to me. I’m simply wondering how authors of the past, the ones who rose to iconic status, would deal with social networking. If they ignored it, would they still have risen to the heights that they did? And if they embraced it, would they still have had time to write on a level that made them the authors we know today?

And on that note, I’m posting this and unplugging my computer. I have much work to do.

An update on the updates…

Some readers may have noticed a slight increase in the number of posts I’ve been making recently. January is the time of year when many of us look back at years past and consider where we’re going. Time is a limited commodity and we all have responsibilities that demand our attention. But beyond that, we must decide how we chose to spend the rest of our minutes. A TV show here, random web surfing there, they all start to add up and erode away the hours, the days, the years. To accomplish anything we have to work at it, to focus and set priorities on our time. There will always be an excuse, a reason to procrastinate, but we must decide what’s most important to us.  And with that in mind I’ve set myself a few goals for the year ahead. They include staying better connected with friends as well as reading, writing and blogging more.

For years many of the people I know have been on Facebook and Twitter. Until now I’d resisted jumping in, certain it would be one more thing clamoring for my attention. I’ve come to discover these social platforms are, in fact, a wonderful way to stay connected, and in some cases even reconnect with old friends I’d lost track of without consuming my day. I’ve even made some new friends along the way.  Imagine that! And I make sure I carry my Kindle at all times, so even while I’m waiting at the deli counter I can sneak in a few pages of reading. As for writing more, I know I get my best work done in the earliest hours, so I’ve made a point of not sleeping in another hour (or two). I get up early, brew some caffeine and get to work. And as for blogging, my intention is at least 2-3 posts a week, and among those posts I plan to share the books I’ve enjoyed.

You won’t find any New York Times best-sellers here. For one they’re not the types of books I normally read and second, enough people are talking about them as it is. No, the books I’ll be spotlighting are primarily ones from less well-known authors. For the most part they’ve published through smaller presses or gone the independent route. Some will be current reads, others may have been read months or even years earlier but remain among my favorites to this day. I won’t be giving ratings or awarding stars; none of these reviews were requested and I’m not looking to be a review site. There are many wonderful blogs that provide superb reviews; you’ll find links to the ones I follow below.  The titles I’m mentioning here are simply ones I’ve enjoyed, stories that struck me and I believe deserve a closer look. I’ll include the author’s blurb but these won’t be book reports that rehash the plot turn by turn. I’m simply going to tell you what the book is and why I felt it may be one readers should consider.

Recommended Book Review Blogs:

Book’d Out

CMash Loves to Read

Curling up by the Fire

Minding Spot

My Reading Room


Red Adept Reviews

Socrates Book Reviews

Tea Time with Marce

Tiffany’s Bookshelf