Saturday, October 21, 2006

I've been doing my blog rounds and came across two posts about recently made/acquired MySpace pages. Alison has a new page up with a really, really cool rotating picture cube thingie with scenes/characters from her upcoming book. And Larissa announced that she and Steph now have MySpace pages. All three pages look great, by the way. But.... I still don't get MySpace. I must be missing something as to why it's such a big deal(?).

Personally, as a reader and writer, I have no interest in My Space. :-/ Seems like a more sophisticated version of a Banner Ad (which I pay precious little attention to also.) I pretty much never go over there unless someone specifically posts a link and says go look! I go, admire the design, the blurb/announcements, then leave pretty much none the wiser and with no particular inclination to revisit. :-/

Seems like everything I see on an author's My Space page, could/should be on the official web-site (or blog), while I find there's far more interaction/discussion on regular blogs/livejournals etc. The only thing that seems unique to My Space is that 'friends' thing. But is 'friending' really increasing the author's audience/profile? Or is it just some a sort of, uhm, circle jerk. lol. Half the folks I see friending each other over on MySpace have links to each other in their sidebars on Blogger, or are friends on Live Journal. I'll admit I have seen some 'friends' over on MySpace that do seem to be a difference audience, and there is the chance to 'friend' with authors you don't normally run into online, but still given the general lack of interaction, in depth or extent--compared to LJ or Blogger--I wonder what that ultimately means?

I keep expecting MySpace to be *something* else. It's seems like it's supposed to be a blog, but most of them are not nearly as entertaining, engaging, interactive or informative as the author's regular web-journal/blog on other platforms. Aside from that, MySpace seems to function only as another, somewhat static, web-site/page.(?) I guess it's another place/opportunity to be seen and get the word out on your work. In this tight market you can't bypass opportunities like that. I guess. ::shrug::

Yeah, yeah, much eating of the crow will probably be in my future. lol. I guess.... ;-)
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Anonymous said...

I don't have much interest either.

I just friend people who post links to their MySpace pages whenever. It does add up though.

Tricia Fields said...

I don't get the whole MySpace thing either. I look at pages and just shrug and surf away. Don't even spend enough time there to sort it all out. I certainly don't see myself setting one up anytime soon--too much to figure out.

Jaye said...

So I'm not the only one! *phew*. lol

May, when you say: 'It does add up though', what do you mean? That your list of friends, therefore the links back to your page, grows?

I can get that, if that meant that your page (not talking *you* personally)then became more active with more visitors/commentors, etc. But what I see instead is a majority of comments along the lines of: 'Thanks for adding me to your list' or 'welcome', or 'have a great weekend!', etc., No discussions, no debates, no information shared, etc, or interesting links to follow, in the way that happens with journals on typepad/wordpress/blogger/LJ. Granted all this could be happening all the time over on MySpace and I'm missing it cause I'm never over there. :-P

Jaye said...

Tricia, that seems to be my response too.

Half the time I don't think the authors themselves are all that dedicated to their MySpace page. I rarely see a 'go check out my MySpace' post (not the way in which I'll see: "I'm posting at XXX group blog today".)

I'm still think it's mostly a sophisticated, extended banner ad that targets a slightly different demographic. I don't think I'm that demographic/audience since I can pretty much pick up any relevant news on authors either from their regular website/blog.

Amie Stuart said...

Friend of mine said that originaly Myspace started as a muci network type place, a place for unknowns etc to work on a fan base and get the word out about their music.

Yes, I have one but it's a bit of a PITA and can be a huge timesucker.

Amie Stuart said...

But like I told Larissa, where else can Jesus and Beer be your friend =)

Sela Carsen said...

I have one. It sits almost completely unused. I got one so I could mess around with it, then realized that I couldn't figure out how in the world this was supposed to be drawing in new readers unless I went nuts "friending" total strangers.

I don't think so. Most of the people on my friends list sent me a message and I already knew them, so of course I accepted. A few were random, but not many.

So I chalk it up to an experiment that hasn't worked for me. I'm not taking it down because I don't discount that random surfing might spark interest somewhere, but I'm not counting on it, either.

Jaye said...

I think I heard about that music thing. And it has worked for newbie bands, growing their audience where there's been a demand for tour, or extensions of tours. Record deals, etc.

And I was speaking to ds (comic book fan extrodinaire) after I made this post, and he said that a number of MySpace pagses run by comicbook writers/artist are pretty active.

I'm just not 100% convinced that the same magic is there for writers. But, yesterday I ran into yet another reference to a MySpace page, an followed the link. This one was for Vidlit, and this one was exactly what a percieved MySpace to be, and not I it seemed like it was supposed to be: More or less an interactive commercial for their services. Promo, pure and simple. They had their mission statement, what they do, how long, awards, etc. They had a list of clients and client/friends. The posted samples in different genres of their work, including a bit of background. And in the comment trail, yeah,there was the usual 'thanks for the add!' (lol) but there were also client thank you for the booktrailer you did for me (I guess testimonials?) and there were other friends who posted about their complimentary services (with links) or folks who just posted to say 'hi', but their gravatars were essentially mini banners promoting themselves and their work.

Now alot of that 'self-promo' crap is frown on in a lot of other places. You don't pop into a comment thread and start shilling your own shit. That's called spam. lol. But on MySpace, it's the norm, especially when the comment thread in question is appropos of nothing, except the page hosts own self-promo.

For the Vidlit page is was clear: supplier=Vidlit, audience/market/possible cross supplier =commentors. The lines gets murky with writers, because as many people have notice a vast majority of our audience seems to be other writers.

I know MJ Rose has tackled this subject before on her blog. You have to have a clear idea of who your blog/marketing is targetting. Is it other writers, where you're sharing/discussing craft & business? Or are you appealing to the 'pure' reader with the intent to entice them into reading/buying your work and to a certain extent interest them in you as the writer behind the work?

So... this is another area where MySpace seems murky. If I were a corporation and I wanted to penetrate a new market--geographically/demographically/income bracket---not only would I go to that where that market was and open up shop, I would do targetted things to bring that me to that market's attention, or reveal more of that market to me. Bringing my established market with me, is not growing my business.

Let's be a little more specific (and long winded. lol). Say I was a erotic-romance writer. I write in historical settings as well as contemp. My contemps feature heroines who are a little kick-ass/a little chick-litty. I've got a pretty good presence over here on Blogger, etc with the 'romance reading crowd' (fill in yer market demographics here). I want to grow my audience. I'm going to do it two ways: pull in more of the demographic I'm already serving (I've only got a small slice of the romance reading crowd, so there's still lots to do over here on this platform), but also get a toe hold in a new demographic. If I'm going over to MySpace and I know that it's a youth oriented MTV audience over there, then I'm going to skew my image a tiny bit and focus on what about my writing books might be most appealing--the contemporaries featuring kick-ass/chick-litty heroines. And while over here I might be far more interactive with other authors, over there I'd be really focused on gaining *new* readership.

I think I heard of a couple of writers taking this approach, I don't know how successful they are, since I'm not over at MySpace, but this makes much more sense to me than alot of what I've been seeing, which is pretty much fairly inactive, not-up-to-date, web-pages.

On the other hand, if you're going to get long-assed comments like this one, maybe that's not such a bad thing. lol. ;-)

Jaye said...

Sela, we simul-posted. And you clearly illustrated the point and a lot quicker than I did. lol. I think your experience is the most common, but I agree, leave it there, it's up and it's advertising.

Amie Stuart said...

It really does make good sense, and lets take it one step further. If you're writing YA fiction, I'd say Myspace is a great place to be. If you're not, it's iffy.

And like Sela said, it's NOT user friendly.

Amie Stuart said...

With that said, I have picked up a few readers. =)

Jaye said...

Amie, it's great you've picked up new readers, but it was almost a happenstance sort of thing. One of the things that was causing my confusion is folks saying they've heard/been told you *have* to have a MySpace page. It's the next big thing, the market is huge and you're going to miss out on if you're not over there. But it's like going to a party with out an invite or the right credential. Doesn't matter if it's the biggest bash of the century if you can't get in, or can't network properly. Unless you're really 'working it', then it's one of those 'can't hurt' things, where you just might pick up some new readers simply by being there. In the same way you'd pick up new readers with a review, or participating in a chat, or running a banner ad on a high-traffic site. I don't believe, at this point, that MySpace *trumps* all those other things (which seems to be what the hype is suggesting). No one implies that you're missing a gold mine(!) in potential sales if you don't run a banner ad on, say, AAR or you're absolutely missing the boat if you don't take an ad out in Romantic Times, so what's the big deal with MySpace? At least the other examples I've given will deliver a targetted, captured and interested market.

So, recap: I like MySpace as added value promo thing, to do in addition to site/blog. But at this point, I see it as just another marketing option/venue. Not the necessarily next big thing that is essential to your career growth!

I really have to work on my long-windedness. :-P

Marty said...

I admit I'm addicted to myspace. It's allowed me to find some people from college, etc., but it's not like I couldn't have found them otherwise.

For me, myspace got me (a small press writer on her first release) a radio interview. I 'friended' my local radio personalities and as luck would have it...lightning struck.

I know YA writers are finding a lot of their readers there. When they launched their 'books' area, I had hoped it would work much like the music listing does--but alas, it does not.

PBW said...

I've gone to look at exactly three pages since the whole thing became a trend. Solely as favors to writers who said, "Does my-Myspace okay?"

I was nice and all, but honestly, this trend still seems very teen-oriented to me (no offense to the youngsters out there, but I did the teen thing thirty years ago, and I'm too old to fake it.)

I also don't care for the pressure being put on writers from publishers and colleagues to create a MySpace page. It smells of redundant marketing and Eau de Secret Handshake.

We have enough work to do writing great books. The publisher makes 94% profit, we make 6%. Really, how much more are we going to have to do for that lousy 6%?

Shannon Stacey said...

I had one. Seemed like the thing to do. It was a huge PITA, I hated the commenting limitations, and it wasted time copying blog entries over---when I remembered. So I deleted it.

THEN, it becomes THE thing. Editors and agents expect you to have one. So I started a new one. Got my friends back. Spent days tweaking it. THEN somebody hacked it (they're notoriously non-secure) and deleted it. ARGH!

It would taking nothing less than a major NY book deal hinging on having it to make me do the MySpace thing again. I don't even really visit them, as I second the big banner ad feeling. Blogs are more than enough for me.

Julie Cohen said...

I have one and I think it's a PITA, *but* it's got me in touch with a couple people I wouldn't normally be talking with. I don't think it has won me any readers and I can't be bothered to update it because it really is annoying to do. Nell tells me it's a good way to get people to enter your contests, which can expand your newsletter lists, and newsletters do sell books. I might start doing that.

The band my husband is in has a MySpace page, though, with demos on it, and he's been in touch with several other bands because of it and he's got a record company linking to his demos now. I think the music scene there is more developed.

Jaye said...

Marty & PBW, -- MySpace, is definitely youth-skewed. I think the potential for marketing payoff is bigger if what you write appeals to youth market.

LOL@ Eau du Secret Handshake. *gg*

Or, to the music scene, as Julie points out. Julie, I never thought about the newsletter angle. YOu're the first person I've seen mention this, I wonder if it's making that big of an impact on newsletter lists in general?

Shannon, ::here comes the crow eating:: lol. I think I would do a MySpace page. Maybe. Now that I have a clearer idea of its uses. I was never one to get sucked into The Hype, for anything. Natural glass-half-full skepticism, I guess.

Anonymous said...

Oh, thank god, because I totally don't get it either.

All of the MySpace accounts I've gone to look at seem too cluttered and the design unfriendly -- not to mention that to leave a comment, I have to sign up for an account.

Nothing will send me away faster than that.

I guess I can see how the networking might be okay -- but content-wise, it doesn't look like anything better than having a website and blog.

As for friending other users...are they readers, or writers? And why do I have a blogroll if I also need a MySpace? It's very frustrating.

Sasha White said...

I'm with you, Jaye. I have my website, my blog, my chat loop. Adding another things seems Supercilious (Is that the right word?) too much is what I'm trying to say,. LOL
I thinkfor people who can do it, great, but myself, that self discipline thing is still a struggle, so I don't need another way to procrasticnate.

Jaye said...

((Group hug)) I love you guys! Here I thought I Just. Wasn't. Getting. It.

But y'all don't get it either! lol.

Meljean, I haven't even been moved to leave a message. I just go back to the blogger/LJ site and leave my comment/congratulations there.

Sash, I'd say you've got most of your bases cover. YOu can only do so much....And Write The Next Book. Yanno?

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