I received an email the other day about my blog and while I was considering my reply I found myself studying it for the first time in a little while. And it struck me that my blog had somehow fallen out of date without my noticing it.
When I started it back in January 2011 I was at the beginning of the process of querying literary agents in the hope that one of them would agree to represent me. (Actually the hope was that a number of them would fight like light-sabre-wielding Jedi knights over the chance to represent me but that dream died faster than a slave girl in Jabba the Hutt’s kitchen. Kuh-runch.) The whole purpose of my blog was to chronicle what it takes to get a literary agent interested in an unknown, untried, untested author…who isn’t writing about vampires, witches or werewolves. When I started out, I knew that it was going to be a hard slog convincing someone who doesn’t know me from Skippy the Bush Kangaroo. But, I figured with enough optimism to make Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm take to drinking, at least one out of the 45 agents on my list would see the potential in my idea, my story, and/or my writing.
So as I began to work my way through my list of agents, my blog’s title of Are You There Publishers? It’s Me, Martin was apt, relevant, irreverent, and a little bit funny (preferably the ha-ha kind of funny.) But now that I’ve been turned down by every last one of them and my journey to publication has evolved into self-publication and in addition to this blog, I now have a website, a Facebook page, and a Twitter account (feel free to bookmark me, fan me, and follow me, respectively), the purpose of this blog is going in a whole new direction too.
In addition to blogging about the progress of my books, I also plan to blog about different aspects of living in Hollywood during the era in which my books are set. An expert on self-publishing who I follow on Twitter advises not just to blog about your book, but blog about what your book is about. His reasoning is that it will establish your (online) authority on the subject matter of your book. Made sense to me, hence my most recent post about Musso and Frank Grill – the oldest restaurant in Hollywood. I enjoy reading about these sorts of places and I enjoy writing about them too. (And with any luck you’ll enjoy reading and learning about them as well.)
But as far as my blog goes, to continue calling it Are You There Publishers? It’s Me, Martin seemed now to be antiquated because, quite clearly, they ARE there and they do NOT care that I’m here. I considered renaming it something along the lines of Screw You, You Stupid Publishers! Who Needs You Anyway? but that seemed a tad harsh (not to mention a tad bitter, a tad juvenile and possibly self-sabotaging in the long run.)
Then I got to thinking how my self-publishing mentor Catherine Ryan Howard presses the point again and again and again that it’s vital you present yourself to the world professionally and cohesively. Your website has to match your blog has to match your Twitter has to match your Facebook. Cohesion is the goal! So I’ve swapped out the old banner that used to sit atop my blog–the one of the guy trying to navigate his way out of a maze of paper–and inserted instead the same banner that sits atop my website and changed the blog’s name to reflect what this blog really is: THE ‘GARDEN OF ALLAH’ BLOG.
Yeah, yeah, I know, it’s a little boring and unimaginative but I’m all about cohesion here, people! I’ve also changed the tag line from An author blogs his way to publication to The golden years of Hollywood were anything but golden. I’ve also added a page: “About the Garden of Allah hotel which is an abbreviated version of the one on my website (cohesion!) which talks about the unique setting of my novels. And I’ve added a page about book one The Garden on Sunset along with the cover art.
Oh, and I also changed the background color from boring white to deep burgundy which was the color of the curtains at the Dendy Theater in the Melbourne suburb of Brighton which is where my love of movies started. Of course nobody on earth (except the readers of this blog) will ever get the connection but I thought while I’m shaking things up, I might as well shake it all up but good!