Thursday, March 22, 2007

My space, your space – Cindy wants to know: Whose space is it anyway?

Okay. Decision time. To myspace or not to myspace, that is the question. For me at least. I’ve got a pretty active website and the hits are building all the time but I’m wanting to be more visible and all I hear about now is myspace … so of course I’m thinking of jumping off the merry go round and jumping on the bandwagon.

I know. I know. Like join the present with the rest of the forward thinkers, already. I’m late for everything, though, so you’ll just have to tolerate my foot dragging on this one.

Frankly – and I’m loath to admit this – but the whole myspace thing kind of freaks me out. I mean – is everyone in the world but ME out there for everyone in the world to see? And do I want everyone in the world to see me? And if everyone in the world wants to see me and read about my books, how does everyone in the world find me and why should they care? Especially when – at the risk of repeating myself – EVERYONE in the world (but me, remember) has a myspace sight. Won’t I just be another grain of sand on an already crowded beach? A blade of grass on a highly fertilized and manicured golf course? (okay, so I won’t be so manicured) Just another white dog hair on the black coat of life?

You get the picture. I’m conflicted. Not good, people. Not good at all. And it doesn't help that an author friend of mine with an active myspace page recently received a death threat. Okay. So hopefully it’s just some harmless cyber loon out there causing havoc, but jeez. A death threat? Isn’t that a bit extreme? All because he didn’t like her book?

So here's the question: Can anyone out there with a myspace site or with a friend who has a myspace site please help this poor conflicted soul? Tell me the pros. Tell me the cons (exclusive of the death threats - that one I've got a handle on). Tell me what I should know and even what I shouldn’t. Tell me what you think. Tell me what you know. But for heaven's sake, tell me. Even if it's just opinions or suggestions. I’m all ears.


Betina Krahn said...

Okay, Cindy, clarify for me: do you intend to operate a "web page" there or advertise your books there, or use it to chat with readers? I'm so behind on the loop that I'm not sure what you'd use MY SPACE for.

Some time back, I tried to go onto MY SPACE once to see what the attraction was and couldn't get past the registration. But apparently everybody else in the known world can. . . so maybe it's of benefit. It'll be interesting to hear others' take on this.


terrio said...

I refuse to jump on the myspace bandwagon. I know people (several actually) who have a space out there but I just won't go. There are too many loonies (and I don't mean Canadian money) and it's just too much hassle to make it worth it IMO.

I fly around this romance reading virtual world everyday (read visit about 7 blogs and a bulletin board) and this is the first mention I've heard about myspace. From what I see, blogs, bulletin boards and good old websites are the way to go. For authors at least. Now if you decide to promote a movie or CD, then maybe.

Cindy Gerard said...

Hi Betina
Your questions are my questions! I'm not clear on the entire purpose of a myspace page. Is it to blog or network or chat? When I go out there and view some of the sights, it seems there's a little bit of everything. That's why I'm asking. My knowledge of myspace is zip and nill and yet publishers seem to be very high on the idea of authors having a myspace page. Has your publisher suggested this to you? Anyone?

Cindy Gerard said...

Hi Terrio
You have voiced many of my concerns. At one point does one more virtual profile become one too many??

Michele said...

I'm a holdout as well. I have a web site and blog and this group blog and promote with two other groups of authors. I don't have time to figure out the MySpace thing. I don't want to, either.

The few times I've checked it out, first the pages are so graphic heavy, I give up on waiting for them to load. So if I don't hang around, do others do the same?
Second, it seems most authors will invite their author friends, and their pages are filled with fellow authors. But where are the readers?
It feels like you're standing in a very crowded state fair ground. There are throngs of people around you. You sight someone you know. You raise your hand. Hey! They raise their hand and shout, too. But you never actually get close enough to connect and chat. And this just goes on and on.. Nothing wrong with that, but I just don't feel the need to create something that, to me, feels like a time-sucker.

Now, if I had a CD, as someone mentioned, that does seem the place to promote that. To play a music video and to get some viral marketing going that way.


Debra Dixon said...

Cindy-- I'm not a big myspace fan.

If you absolutely wanted more connectivity, aside from a blog on your webpage, get your webpage folks to set up a bulletin board for you. And be prepared to spend some time hanging out there if you want it to be successful. More time away from writing.

If you were thinking of myspace as a place that would "find" readers and funnel them to you, I'm not sure that will happen.

I think you can be just as cool and connected from your website. (g) But I don't do myspace. I may be wrong, but the folks I hear talking about myspace never talk about anything but their friends. Doesn't seem to be much "content" beyond the social traffic.

Cindy Gerard said...

Keep 'em coming ladies. I'm learning lots ... and still pondering.

terrio said...

A Bulletin Board is a great idea. That's how I got here really. I met someone on an author bulletin board that became a friend. Then she sent me the link to here and here I am.

It really creates a community and it doesn't feel like some giant promotion thing. And since it's so well controled (i.e. spam kept out) it's a place readers would not be afraid to go.

lois greiman said...


I can barely handle email. But I feel your angst. It's so hard to know what's worth the effort.

Is there a charge for myspace or what's the deal there?

Cindy Gerard said...

As far as I know, there is no charge. And if you set it up yourself, there's no design charge. However, my cyber expertise being what it is (nil) I'd have to hire someone to design it for me.
What I'm wondering about is if publishers think myspace is a great promo idea because it's just the 'next big thing' or because they know something we don't and it actually does generate buzz. Anyone know those answers?

Helen Brenna said...

My gut tells me, and remember it tells me many erroneous things like chocolate is good for you, it's a small piece of pie, etc..., that if your books are targeting a young audience, myspace is a must. If not, it's a crapshoot.

Keri Ford said...

Cindy- I'm so glad you wrote about this because I have no idea what myspace is or what's all about!

A friend of mine said she visited a myspace page and couldn't tell that it held any benefit over a website.

My thoughts on the matter is, it's a time sucker and I don't want to give up my time to learn it.

Helen Brenna said...

I don't know about everyone else, but I'm running with that, Keri!

JoAnna said...

All of my friends were on Myspace and kept talking about it so I went on and created a page. Then I proceeded to forget about it for about 8 months. When I returned to it some of my real friends had posted things on it. However, what creeped me out was that anyone could come along from cyberspace look at my page and post any old thing they wanted. Send me any weird, scary and sometimes downright dirty messages. This really turned me off myspace. I am now with another site that is limited to the people I allow to see my page. They can't even get near my info like they could on myspace.

I enjoy visiting author websites and reading info about books and characters. Yet, when I see the myspace pages with the same info just in another format it seems repetative to me.

Betina Krahn said...

Oh, I just thought of one use for it-- a friend of mine is doing a book trailer for her back-to-back (Oct and Nov) fantasy debut. She's paying significant money for the trailer and wants to make the most of it, so she's going to put it on UTube and MySpace and every place she can get it. That makes sense to me. Using your media in that format as well as on your web site. . . hoping it will go viral.

If nothing else, it's a good free airing for something already created. And if you have time to monitor the flow, it might be a good place to augment your e-mailing list.

Cindy Gerard said...

Great points, Betina and Keri and Joanna and everyone else who has posted. the input has been wonderful and thought provoking. I'm still a bit on the fence but if I look at it from a purely networking Point of View and am careful about revealing too much personal info, and not letting it suck the life out of me time wise, it MIGHT be worth a try ... or not. :o( Can we say decisive???

anne frasier said...

i've had a myspace page for a couple of years. when i first joined there were no writers on it. i remember telling my editor about myspace, and she had no idea what i was talking about. now editors are telling their authors to get on myspace. it takes a while to get used to. what i really like about it is the lack of attention it needs. you put it up, and that's about it. if you want to go there you can, but i rarely use it. i get messages from fans. some people myspace and only myspace, so it's just a different demographic. i'd say 99 percent of those people don't go to websites or regular blogs. believe me, i tried to get them to, but most are myspace die hards. i love that you can put music on the page and constantly change it. i have my book trailer there and music that i think fits the background image which is a photo i took at bonaventure cemetery. but the big thing i like is that it's just so much less time than a blog and it's a really good place for fans to leave comments and send messages. myspace is fun. it's kind of like a scrapbook. but i think if you don't do it for fun it's probably not worth the effort.

anne frasier said...

oh, here's the url:

Helen Brenna said...

Anne, that's a cool myspace. Did you do it yourself? Now you got me thinking. Hmmm.

anne frasier said...

helen, yes i did! :D took me a while to figure it out. part of it is finding the right layout site so you can get away from the basic myspace page. once i found that, i was on a roll. the myspace template is similar to blogger, so posting images and things like youtube is really easy.

Cindy Gerard said...

Thanks Theresa. That makes sense to me. I have a book trailer in the works so it seems a fitting place to park it. I'll see what happens.
And yeah, your Anne Fraiser space is way cool
Great to chat with you. hope things are going well.

Anonymous said...

Ive had myspace a while, but I didnt even go to it, 1 of my children fixed it for me, but now its almost a addtion, got to go ,got to go right now to myspace

Cindy Gerard said...

Ha anonymous - I can see that becoming a problem:o)

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