Friday, March 28, 2008

Too much information?

I read something rather shocking the other day. It was in a biography of Jane Austen, by Carol Shields, a quote from a letter Jane wrote:

"Mrs. Hall of Sherbourne was brought to bed yesterday of a dead child, some weeks before she expected, owing to a fright -- I suppose she happened to look unawares at her husband."

Whooo, Jane, that's harsh! Was she trying to be funny? Did she hate Mrs. Hall of Sherbourne?

Whatever her motive and although this was in a letter to her sister and not "out in public," it's such a cold and nasty remark, it's changed the way I look at some of her work.

And then I got to thinking, what if she'd written this in a blog?

Today, writers today are being encouraged, even pressured, to reveal more about themselves than ever before, as a way to build name recognition and increase readership.

But except for the few who get in on the ground floor, does it? And what about the potential for the opposite effect?

How much information do readers really need? How much should the author reveal for the sake of PR and sales? And if an author chooses not to go these routes, should that be considered a flaw?

Is there still room in the publishing world for the author who prefers to remain a mystery?


Kimber Chin said...

I don't talk about myself on my blogs. Frankly, I don't think I'm that interesting.

On my non-fiction blogs, I usually talk about business research I've been doing.

I still haven't decided whether to put my photo online (for book publicity). I hear that it increases the odds of an author getting tv exposure (I don't think my face is going to help sell books).

But then I haven't decided whether I want tv exposure either. LOL

Anonymous said...

I am resisting any attempts to make me a "public" figure, and then I find myself being one anyway . . .

GRRRRRRR!!!!! This was so much easier years ago, to be anonymous, to want anonymity and achieve it.

Now I google myself and shudder at all the things that come up!