For years I have had an interest in becoming further involved in the traditional publishing industry, now through my experiences over the last semester I have come to understand how we are all publishers. The book reviewing, I have been doing for many years, across many different platforms was online publishing. Throughout the past semester, I shaped my own online publication and grew my own public. While my publishing journey was occurring my views on what publishing is evolved and I am left at the end of the semester with a desire to continue the growth of my online self.
I struggled with seeing myself as an online publisher. Publication prior to this course felt very creative to me, such as the creation of a book and all the processes that go into releasing such a creative venture into the world. For my entire life, many made the assumption that due to the ferocious amount of reading I did, that naturally I must have this burning desire to write a novel of my own. I have never been the creative type through. I have never been what Debbie Chachra describes as a “maker” (Chachra). I am not a maker, I critique, and I comment, but I never have and probably never will create my own story. This lack of creation does not mean I am not my own publisher though. Reviews are an integral aspect of the book publishing industry as coming from my own experience as a reader a company’s marketing strategy has to be creative and enthralling to hook me into picking up one of their latest releases, whereas certain reviewers I trust to the utmost degree and I would read absolutely anything they would recommend without question.
Shaping my online publication did not just occur in the blogosphere rather all aspects of my internet experience underwent an evolution. Over the years I had built my own “personal cyberinfrastructure” (Campbell) which encompasses everything I have cultivated online, which is grown to encompass more than just my love of reading, but also some of my passions such as history and U.S. politics. It has been over the course of the semester that my “personal cyberinfrastructure” was honed into representing who I am online specifically into my online brand, ClaryNathanWill. My brand is centred around my love of New Adult literature and my desire to decrease the stigma surrounding the genre through introducing readers to the genre and making them fall in love with it through my reviews and recommendations. My online publication occurs through multiple channels from Twitter, to Instagram, to Goodreads, and to my blog which will all assist me in achieving my goals of decreasing stigma and increasing readership of New Adult books.
Through all the channels that showcase my online self, I have built and cultivated an audience. Tara Chittenden discusses female teen identity and the blogosphere she specifically looks at “the importance dialogic interaction with other bloggers for how teens come to understand their own identity and cultural tastes” (Chittenden, 505). I cannot deny that who I am as a person has been shaped by the internet and the interactions I have on multiple platforms. Growing up with the internet informed my interactions on it, causing me to be honest and open with people online. Therefore, I have been open with my cultivated audience as well. There is an intrinsic trust within the New Adult book community, as the topics are taboo, and some readers are more comfortable than others about declaring their love for the genre outside of safe spaces online such as the many Facebook groups set up by authors for their fans. There are many authors within the genre that write under pseudonyms in order to keep their work from falling into the hands of their family members and friends. The majority of the community, and those who take in my content whether it be blog posts, or tweets are primarily not teens, but I am still and in my last year of my teens I have really come to understand my identity through interactions within the online community I am a part of. With continuing my blog, I hope to create another safe space for new adult readers, young and old and to be a place for the breaking down of the stigma, a place where more and more readers can be more comfortable with expressing their passion for new adult literature.
My public did not just extend to fellow fans of New Adult books, but to the authors themselves. The course concepts that have stuck with me the most have been the aspects of John Suler’s Online Disinhibition Effect. The effect of minimizing authority (Suler), is most applicable to my audience. I have interacted with authors both in public and online, both circumstances have had varied results. It took meeting my favourite author Cassandra Clare three times in order for me to speak coherent sentences to her. Online through I have interacted with her and many other authors easily, using both Twitter and Facebook. As both my public and blog grow, I hope to speak with even more authors and thanks to the effect of minimizing authority many of the roadblocks that existed before the internet will not stop the flow of conversations online between readers and authors.
The work I have done the last semester in growing my online self, my online publication and my online brand is work I will continue. I was blogging before this semester started and I intend to keep blogging for years to come. I have always desired to help others find books to fall in love with, and blogging will help achieve this goal. My blogging goals consist of continuing to post regularly into 2019 and to start a series of weekly wraps up in order to review even more books alongside the ARC reviews that I have been doing for months. When it comes to reviewing, I am so grateful for all the opportunities I have had and I cannot wait to review even more amazing books next year.
Debbie Chachra. 2015. “Why I Am Not a Maker.” http://www.theatlantic.com/technology/archive/2015/01/why-i-am-not-a-maker/384767/
Gardner Campbell. 2009. “A Personal Cyberinfrastructure.” EDUCAUSE Review 44 (5). http://er.educause.edu/articles/2009/9/a-personal-cyberinfrastructure
John Suler. 2004. “The Online Disinhibition Effect.” Available from: Cyberpsychology & behaviour 7.3 (2004): 321-326. http://truecenterpublishing.com/psycyber/disinhibit.html
Tara Chittenden. 2010. “Digital dressing up: modelling female teen identity in the discursive spaces of the fashion blogosphere.” Journal of Youth Studies http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/13676260903520902