It’s easy to forget how far-reaching the internet is. I tend to think I am holding court here in my own corner of the blogosphere, but the truth is, anyone who happens to search for the right term (or wrong term) can land on this blog.
Mostly people get here by using various search terms having to do with writing or grief, but occasionally I post an article that gets hits of a sort I never intended. For example, three years ago, I posted a transcript of a conversation I had with my sister “Was It Bizarre Reading a S** Scene Written By Your Sister?” A couple months later, when I realized that the article was attracting a huge number of hits from people who wanted to have s** with their sisters — 1,954 hits as of right now — I posted the list of the search terms people had used to get to here: S** With Sister Tips. Um…Yeah. That list has garnered 16,790 hits in the past three years. Two days later, I wrote S** With Sister Tips — Writing Tips, That Is. It was my idea of humor — if they wanted tips for having incestuous s**, I’d give them writing tips, sort of as a gentle chastisement. The article itself wasn’t humorous. It was a very pragmatic look at the pitfalls of writing about sibling s**. That article has garnered 9,272 hits.
The whole situation ceased to amuse me years ago, and now makes me rather uneasy. (Which is why the asterisks — I’m trying to keep the search engines from finding yet another s** with sister article.
The other post that makes me a bit uneasy because of all the attention is How Many Books Are Going to be Published in 2012? (Prepare for a Shock). I’d only written the article as a way of trying to make sense of the current book climate and to show the meteoric increase in the number of books available, not to establish myself as any authority on the subject.
Although the article was posted only five months ago, it has had 1,536 hits as of right now. I don’t mind that, of course, but I do mind being touted either as an authority or as an idiot. Several sites that offer book publicity services use that article as a reason for authors to sign up for expensive promotions, and others write scathing articles calling me an idiot who shouldn’t be allowed around statistics since I misuse them.
The truth is, there is no way to extrapolate from the information I gave as to how many books will be published in 2012. Bowker estimates they will issue 15,000,000 ISBNs this year, as compared to 407,000 in 2007, but the truth is, many people use several ISBNs for the same book since some retailers want separate ISBNs for ebooks and print books. And many self-publishers don’t use ISBNs at all, especially if they are only going to sell on Amazon and B&N since both companies will issue their own product numbers. So there could be 5,000,000 books published, or 15,000,000, or even 150,000,000.
This was supposed to be a cautionary tale about being careful what you post since it could haunt you for many years, but it in the end, telling your truth of the moment, no matter what the fallout, is the important thing. It does sadden me, though, that some of my best writing — inspirational and thoughtful posts — sink into oblivion, while these posts get many views.