Archive for the ‘social networking’ Tag

RIP James Herbert

(Cross-posted on the WriteClub blog)

Today’s post was going to be an update on current WIPs. But on the way home from work today, I learned news that rocked my world. The news came to me via my Twitter feed, which I was checking on my phone on the train home, as I usually do. Say what you like about Twitter, it’s the best place to go for the real news. The important news.

And the important news today – more important than trials and political scandals, more important than the fact that it was Budget Day – is that James Herbert has died. It is not an exaggeration to say I was shocked by this news. It is not even an exaggeration to say I was devastated.

James Herbert was Master of British Horror. In the 80s, when I first got into horror in a serious way, he dominated the shelves along with Stephen King. I have read many of his books. I have an entire shelf of them in my library.

I am not the only person affected by this news. Looking at my Twitter and Facebook feeds this evening, many people I follow are all saying the same thing. James Herbert informed their adolescent reading habits. James Herbert turned them on to reading, and writing, horror. James Herbert is among the greats, and the world will not be the same without him. Most people, it seemed, started off with THE RATS. I have to say I didn’t get on with this particular book, which as I understand it was his first published novel. It wasn’t the first James Herbert novel I read, and by the time I got to that one I was in my early 20s. It seemed to me to be a book largely preoccupied with describing – in graphic detail – people having sex, followed by said people being eaten by rats while they were cozying in the afterglow, and not much to the novel beyond that. I’ve said before that I’m the sort of person who skips the sex scenes, in search of something more interesting. In this case people being horribly eaten by rats was more interesting, but after three or four scenes of this it started to feel a bit ‘samey’. So, no, THE RATS was not my favourite Herbert book. There are plenty of others, though, that I would rate up there as amongst the best horror novels every written. HAUNTED. THE GHOSTS OF SLEATH. THE MAGIC COTTAGE. CREED.

And then last year I read a James Herbert book that blew the rest of them out of the water. That book was NOBODY TRUE, and if you’ve been reading my blog for a while you may recall I wrote a glowing review (found here in case you haven’t been).

I have never met James Herbert personally, in spite of going to two Cons in recent years where he was Guest of Honour – generally someting else interesting was happening, or the queue was just too long. I’m now rather regretting that I didn’t take the time to stand in that queue, to get a book signed and get the chance to tell him how he inspired me as a horror writer, and how I devoured his books when I was just discovering my calling as a horror writer.

In spite of that, I still feel that I’ve read so many books of his that I knew him. And news of his death feels like a personal loss – a bit like losing an old friend.

Only yesterday I was contemplating buying his newest book. ASH. I decided against it at the time, my TBR pile being already so vast I shouldn’t add to it until I’ve managed to get through some of the books in it. Now I feel the need to re-read all the James Herbert books on my shelf, and go out and buy all the ones I haven’t read yet. I might even re-read THE RATS. Maybe the passage of time will make me like it more.

Goodbye, Mr Herbert. The world will not be the same without you, and you leave behind a hole in British horror fiction that no one could ever fill.

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To Tweet Or Not To Tweet…

(cross posted from the WriteClub blog)

…that is the question. Or, to put it another way, do social networking sites help the e-author with sales?

I have a MySpace page. I don’t do much with it, as since they fiddled with the layout I can’t work out how to make anything work on it. My LinkedIn page is similarly neglected. I do spend a lot of time on Facebook – at least I know how to make that work. But I’ve so far resisted Twitter.

It baffles me that in our world of mobile communication, instant messaging and social networking sites, things that were once considered private are blatantly broadcast to the world. On my daily commute to and from work I listen to people having very private conversations on their mobile phones – conversations that twenty years ago they would never dream of having in someone else’s earshot. People use Facebook to put up embarrassing pictures of themselves – or other people – after too much to drink on a night out, and don’t seem to be too concerned that the whole world can see them. Is this really the impression you want to make on a potential employer – or editor? Every once in a while one hears stories of someone being fired because they bad-mouthed their boss on Facebook whilst forgetting that they’ve added said boss to their friends list.

And then there’s Twitter. The combination of Twitter and mobile phones with instant internet access (and I don’t have one of those, either) seems to result in people posting inane statuses every five minutes. Do I really want a minute-by-minute account of your trip across the road to the shop to buy milk? If you’re Jon Bon Jovi and you’re going to the shop across the street from me, maybe. Otherwise, probably not.

And this, in a nutshell, is why I’ve resisted Twitter so far. But I keep being told that as an e-author, it’s an essential marketing tool.

There’s no doubt that for the e-author, the internet is the way to promote one’s e-book. With a print book, you can do signing session. With an e-book, all of your readers are online, so the best way of reaching them is through the internet. I have, I admit, been using Facebook differently since the publication of SUFFER THE CHILDREN. Once upon a time it was just a means of sharing my holiday photos with my family and friends in Canada, and playing Scrabble with people far away from me. Now I find I use it to plug guest blog posts and news about my e-book, and most of my status updates have to do with writing.

At the moment, though, I am one more writer nobody’s ever heard of, and I’ve become something of a publicity tart – seeking it anywhere and everywhere. But I know there’s at least one copy of my e-book I’ve sold because of someone I’ve connected with on Facebook, and that alone makes my presence there worthwhile.

So I shall probably crack eventually and sign up for Twitter, even if it’s just to tweet about my e-book.