Getting Started

Today is sort of the beginning of the end of the beginning.

I started writing Blackbird, my first novel, on July 6, 1999, but while there’s clearly only one beginning, there were multiple endings. Drafts, revisions, times when I thought it was really done, times when I doubted. Now, though, the part where no one really knows about it but me and some close friends is really finally almost nearly over. With the Goodreads Contest running, several advance readers checking out the book, and the publicity campaign getting underway, there’s no turning back.

When I started writing Blackbird, the Internet was a very different place. So many of the things we take for granted—Google, Facebook, Amazon, Twitter, Blogging and Social Media, even smartphones and tablets—either didn’t exist or were just getting started. Back then, you could do something wacky like start a website about ninja who deliver hamburgers and get a ton of attention. Back then, one of the best ways to spread the word about your novel-in-progress was to post the chapters in serial format on a popular website devoted to funny links. Back then, things were a lot easier, and a lot harder at the same time.

While everything was busy changing, I was busy with lots of things; Blackbird was underway the entire time, but it wasn’t generally my number one focus. In addition to all things related to Ninja Burger, I was helping Fark.com out with graphics, writing columns and book reviews, designing role-playing games, working my way into the video game industry, moving cross-country and then cross-coast, and getting married, just to hit the highlights. And while I was doing some social media thingies—I had a LiveJournal for a time, and I was on Orkut and Friendster and a bunch of other sites no one really remembers any more—I wasn’t completely keeping up with social media trends. In fact, I sort of fell off the Internet about 5-6 years ago, just when a lot of things were peaking.

Point is, I’ve got some ground to make up. Turns out that the hardest part of publishing a novel isn’t the writing or the editing or the actual publishing, it’s letting people know it exists.

I have no idea what’s going to work. I’m on Twitter. I’m still on Facebook. I have a Pinterest, sort of. I’m on Goodreads. Somehow—gods only know how—I even ended up with a Wikipedia page. And now I have a blog again, the unfortunate reality of which is that the best time to have started writing one is always ten years ago, since you’re always starting from scratch as far as audience goes. I have no idea if anyone is going to read this. If anyone is going to care. But at the end of the day, I suppose it’s the same way with writing a novel. You just have to put it out there and see what happens.

So let’s see what happens, I guess.

Read, or don’t. Comment, or don’t. Email me or tweet at me. Let me know if you care and what you want to hear about. I’m going to be screaming into the void regardless. May as well say something amusing for the few people out there in the darkness who may be listening.

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