Sheep In Wolf's Clothing
Over the last few months - which might even drift into years - there's been much talk of how nobody reads blogs anymore. I have thoroughly wholesome opinions on this. There are many good reasons this is happening and the best of them all is that a huge percentage of blogs are nothing more than self serving posturing, devoid of content and treat their readers like idiot sheep... and your first mistake would be to think I was one of them.
A quick tour of some book review sites, for example, would have you believe that in order to get the maximum reading enjoyment from a book, you need pristine white sheets, a brand new mug filled with freshly brewed coffee everyday and flowers. I do not lie:
I for one, do not treat my books like this. If it's worthy of my time, I scowl at those pages from start to finish until they give up their secrets. My bed does not look like the one pictured above - it has paws prints on it today - and I sure as hell wouldn't leave a new friend by the riverbank with a broken spine just so that my blog looked sexy.
What kind of person breaks the spine of a friend for a photo opportunity anyway?
Welcome to the new dawn in which you can invite yourself to any party you choose and pretend to be the host as devoted followers fawn at your feet.
There was once a time when you hosted a blog because you had something to say, then, as ever, bright sparks rubbed together and figured out how to make money from it and now they are full of keywords disguised as paragraphs. Their only purpose is to drive people to the cliff and eventually take their money or get numbers up for some reason - usually both.
Most of the people I would like to read a few posts a week from have hung up their gloves. Neil Gaiman is barely hanging on in there, Nick Hornby was self admittedly awful at it. Joe Hill killed his off. Many have drifted off to instagram, tumblr and twitter to say their piece - probably because they’re easy platforms with decent apps on the phone - but the problem with that is the problem of all social media... your reader can, and will, wander off to another party in the blink of an eye and forget you existed in a second. These people I mention probably have better things to do with their lives than post regularly and are therefore bad examples, but somewhere out there, there must be people who can write who have something to say. Surely the idea of the blog is not dead beyond repair. (Edit: Cherie Priest is pretty good at it still and she writes good books too, so the concept is not totally dead.)
It's not only book bloggers though - there are far worse culprits. I see my fair share of tattoo bloggers doing the same thing. Music bloggers are equally guilty. Take away the pretty pictures and what you're left with is a hollow shell of a person with a keyboard and a camera at their disposal standing naked in the shop window with a sign hanging around their neck that says "I Want To Be In The Industry Of Cool" - on the back it will say "And I Will Do Anything To Be Part Of It."
My friend John recently dived into his garage to rescue hundreds of vinyl albums that had been in storage and had gone mouldy. It took him a few days to sort out, clean them up and sadly, some of the classics didn't make it. The pictures ain't sexy and damn, that would be a great blog/website. Album by album: did it survive? How much of a heartbreak is it to watch it go into the bin? Why did I buy it in the first place? Is this record even mine? He has better things to do than this however, but you get the drift. I would sign up for a blog like that pronto.
The dam however, is broken. You'll never get the beaten up genie back in the bottle and while I thoroughly endorse anybody with the inclination to put up a site and spend their time building a presence for their passion, I - and the rest of the sentient world - would appreciate it very much if you dug with a spade for treasure instead of kneeling in the sand licking rocks.
Posing for pretty pictures is not what books like to do with their lifespan.