|If you don't have yours yet...why the hell not!|
Thanks for coming back. And now I will return you to the not cryogenically frozen Livius and Robb.
The social media is…
Livius: a huge platform from which people can show their inner selves to the world. I’m pretty sure it was easier for dysfunctional people to keep it to themselves when the audience was much smaller.
Robb: Game changing. I hate myself a bit for admitting this, but social media is the reason that my podcast exists. It’s the reason that this book exists. It’s the reason I’m answering these questions.
It’s frighteningly efficient. You take a platform that has hundreds of millions of users, and you make a group about a book or genre or whatever. Add some friends. Those friends add friends, and so on. Now you’ve got a dedicated vehicle to deliver information to literally anyone, that they’re already familiar with. You can make a post. Tag people. Upload photos. Invite people to events. Share files. This information is automatically delivered to the users of the group whenever they check their computer, phone, tablet.
Now take that group “secret” so only members can see it. You’ve just created a free, comprehensive, mobile platform for collaboration that’s integrated into the experience that everyone is familiar with. You can now work on projects with people all over the world, on a silly free social network. It’s astonishing, and a little scary, how useful social networking really is.
Share some information about what makes you choose a book to read:
Livius: Any number of things can cause that urge. If the author has impressed me in the past, either with their story-telling or prose, I’m likely to go that particular well again.
As far as someone I haven’t read, it has to be different. In the days of bookstores (pre-Amazon), nothing drove away from a book quicker that the feeling that you’ve read that same inlay card or back cover hundreds of times already. Retired cop faces copycat serial killer comes to mind. An author’s book is limited only by his or her imagination. Why write the same thing dozens of other already have? I imagine that that’s what it takes to attract the big publishers, a safe bet. And I’m glad that those writers have done well for themselves, but that kind of story-telling just isn’t for me.
One book that comes to mind is Winkie by Clifford Chase. Long before the movie Ted, Chase wrote about a teddy bear that comes to life and is subsequently imprisoned for terrorism. That’s the kind of imagination that won’t ever hit the top of the New York Times Bestseller List, but it’ll definitely get close to the top of mine.
Robb: Before the podcast, I would just continue reading books by people whose books I already enjoyed. It was great, but tough to discover new authors.
Now we do a hybrid of considering books submitted to us for review, and looking at new releases from the big publishers. Sometimes the books are personally significant, so we want to read them anyway. Sometimes they’re significant to the writing community, so we think it’s important to have a conversation about it. Other times, a book falls in our lap at the right time and we decide to go for it.
What is one question you are sick of being asked—not in interviews, but by individuals who know you do a podcast?
Livius: What is a podcast, is that on the radio? It’s 2013 for goodness’ sake.
Robb: I’m actually very careful about who I tell about the podcast. I don’t know if you know this about writers, but they crave validation. I’m not saying this as a slight. It’s objective truth. So saying that I do a book review podcast can be dangerous. But of the people that do know I do the podcast, my least favorite question probably is: “Have you read ___?”
Because I most likely haven’t. I don’t think people realize how many books exist. Even at the speed I read, there’s literally millions of books I’ll never ever read.
A close second would be: “Can I be on your podcast?”
Any strange “crazed fan” stories?
Livius- No. I kind of wish there was though. Now that I’ve said that, we’re likely to wind up in some real life remake of the movie Penn and Teller Get Killed.
The fans have been terrific. The best part of doing this podcast has been the connections we’ve made with writers and listeners. I now feel that I have friends all over the world and that never would’ve happened if it weren’t for Booked.
Robb: I think it’s crazy that we have ‘fans’. Not really, though. The nice thing about podcasts is that it’s not a very exposed medium. People only get from us what we choose to give, and when. I’ve had a few people approach me and tell me they listen to the podcast, and I have no idea who they are. So that’s weird in an awesome way.
Can a writer excel at his or her craft if they do not read?
Livius: I’m not sure if there are writers who don’t read. I’m not a writer, but I imagine it would be really hard to pull off successfully if I didn’t read. If there are and they’re successful, more power to them. I just think it would be an impressive feat to pull off.
Robb: Probably. I like to imagine writing talent as being a spectrum. So there’s probably people that can be excellent writers because they’re just very naturally talented. But that’s going to be on a far end of the spectrum. A larger concentration of excellent writers are going to exist somewhere closer to the middle, where it takes lots of study, practice, and inspiration to create something truly great. And again, pairing with the right editing team can make something with the potential to be excellent actually become what it is capable of being.
So sure, a writer can excel if they do not read, but it’s either going to happen or it isn’t. People shouldn’t just be hoping greatness will bless them. You have to work for it.
When does self-promotion cross the line and become a nuisance?
Livius: Up until I had a product to sell, I would have said the second time I have to see it.
The problem with social media and self-promotion is redundancy. So an author (or podcaster) has their own personal Facebook page, an official page, a Twitter account, Google +, maybe MySpace (I think this is still a thing). All of those are okay because I chose to see that person’s posts. I mean, it still sucks to see the same thing 6 times, but that’s what friends do, right? But then there’s spam. That comes into play when you belong to say a Facebook group. Our podcast has a Facebook Listener Group which was a genius idea from listener Laramore Black. It’s a closed group and people can ask to join. Our selection process goes like this. You ask, we add you. Of late, we’ve seen people join and then immediately promote their wares. Forget the fact that that’s just shitty marketing that won’t sell one book, it just makes you look like a turd. Writers (or promoters of any kind) would do well to learn that marketing yourself not only doesn’t work for your product, it gives people an immediate negative vibe about you and what you’re about.
Robb: Almost always.
Favorite book of all time?
Livius- The Booked. Anthology. If that’s not an eligible pick, Kiss Me Judas by Will Christopher Baer. Sometimes I think it’s just so I can say that a guy gets his kidney stolen by a hooker, tracks her down and falls in love with her. I’m pretty sure that I started looking at books differently after reading it. Not that I don’t still go for some lowest common denominator fiction from time to time, but it really set the bar higher for other writers. There’s a feel to it that I can’t quite put into words.
Robb: I’ll take the out that I did on my Goodreads profile. Any book I’m reading has the potential to become my favorite book. So I’m not so worried about keeping track.
That being said, I suppose the obvious answer is The Booked. Anthology. Because my heart is in there.
Livius: Probably that I’m as bitter and spiteful in real life as I make out to be on the podcast.
Robb: It’s not an act. I’m always this handsome, charming and smart.
Is there anyone you’d like to give a mention?
Livius: Pela Via. If it wasn’t for her, I don’t think this book would be what it is.
Robb: Pela Via, who is an incredibly talented editor and writer, and a great friend. We wouldn’t be the podcast we are if she hadn’t introduced us to the 36 authors of her anthology Warmed and Bound, and our book wouldn’t be what it is without the time and hard work she put into it.
What is in your “to be read” pile right now?
Livius: Reading for the podcast has put me behind on the works of Andrew Vachss, so there’s a couple there. I’ve also had an itch to reread some Clive Barker favorites, Imajica, The Great and Secret Show and Everville. When Craig Clevenger’s (as yet unnamed) third novel comes out, I’ll likely drop everything, call in sick to work and just go through it twice. I’ve also heard about this great zombie writer, Todd Something-or-Another…
Robb: The Summer Is Ended and We Are Not Yet Saved by Joey Comeau is what I’m reading right now. Not much more right now. I’m sure there’s a pile of books I’ve acquired, but I try not to stress about when I’ll have a chance to get to them.
Thanks to Robb and Livius for stopping in...now...buy the book.