I was talking to a good friend last night about writing and why I write in so many places. I’ll post the occasional essay here but I also write about libraries and technology on my professional blog. I also host a podcast over there and I write for that too, which is different than writing for a blog. I write books, and those books were borne out of two different websites as well.
I’m working on my third book now, which will be about cyberpunk, cyberculture, and the realization of technology. Like the other books, I’m writing about this online and will eventually gather up these bits and pieces and shove them, kicking and screaming, into a single document which will become an eBook. This is nothing new in the world of tech and, as a matter of fact, one of my favourite tech writers did this with one of his latest books.
Rather than collecting them under one banner, I’m publishing them on Medium, where there is a rather nice cyberpunk community. I have a cyberpunk collection, but really, you should check out this one. The former is mostly mine, the latter contains other authors, all of them excellent.
Back to my friend for a minute, though, and why I write in so many places. The fact of the matter is that this blog isn’t the place for everything I write, neither is Cyberpunk Librarian, or Medium. I also have a Tumblr site I will be updating more often as I work on my fourth, yes, fourth book. I wouldn’t write about library stuff here and I wouldn’t really write about deeper cyberpunk philosophy on my professional blog. Likewise, a lengthy essay and critique about Deep Throat doesn’t really belong here, on Medium, and certainly not my professional site. It’s all about niches, and the Internet is full of them.
My “problem,” if you will, is that I like to write about a wide variety of things. Science, tech, porn, art, culture, books, libraries, and reflective personal things. If something interests me, it’s a good bet I’ll write about it sooner or later. I don’t think it’s unreasonable, or even unusual, to write specific things in specific areas. After all, the people going to my library site aren’t the same people who will show up here. The people going to my library site are probably interested in libraries and tech and want to read stuff about that. They’re not landing on that blog expecting to see an in-depth look at a classic porn film, nor should they see that there. There are plenty of other places to pick that up if the interest exists.
Back in the day, there was this phenomenon called “pulp magazines.” These contained stories about all kinds of topics and genres but each magazine focused on a specific genre. They were called pulp magazines because they were printed on some of the cheapest paper possible to keep the price down. It wasn’t unusual for a pulp writer to diversify their presence in the market. Writers like Robert E. Howard (Conan the Barbarian) and Lester Dent (Doc Savage) sold fantasy, western, historical, spicy, and adventure stories to the magazines that would buy them.
In many ways, I consider myself a pulp writer, the only difference being that I write essay and non-fiction. However, there’s a parallel between my drivel and their writing — the way we speak to our audience. Like a pulp writer, I direct my words to everyone. I try to write so anyone with a degree of literacy in American English can pick up my stuff and get something out of it. Hopefully people enjoy it and hopefully they’ll want to read more of my typing.
And hopefully, I’ve put it in the proper place for the reader to find it — filled the right niche, you might say.