This is something I was mentally sketching at various points over the weekend. (Yes, I draw graphs in my head for fun. Is anyone surprised by this?)
It’s a representation of things I keep reminding myself: for one thing, that the Internet is not as big as we think it is. For example, the Elizabeth Moon/Wiscon debate from last year was a huge deal in my online circles … but when it came up during the Political Correctness panel at ConFusion, we had to stop to explain what we were talking about.
Likewise, the idea that online arguments in general are going to destroy an author’s career … let’s just say I’m doubtful that the average Internet authorfail does any appreciable damage to said author’s sales.
The circles might need to be shifted a bit — there’s probably more overlap between Fandom and the Internet, now that I think about it. And every author’s graph will be a little different. From what I’ve seen, I’ve got some moderate name recognition online and in fandom circles, so I nudged that overlap up a bit. Independent stores and convention sales make up a nice chunk of my overall sales, and I get a decent number of hits online. But it’s still only a fraction of my overall readership.
It’s something I try to keep in mind when it comes to publicity/promotion. There are a lot of readers who don’t go to cons and probably wouldn’t identify as “fandom.” Likewise, a lot of readers aren’t hardcore Facebook/Twitter/LiveJournal users, or whatever. I could come up with the most brilliant online promotion ever, and it would only reach a fraction of my potential audience.
I’ll continue to do conventions and hang out online, both because I really enjoy it, and because it’s still an effective way to connect with some of my readers. But I also try to keep in mind that I’m only reaching a fraction of those readers.
What do you think?