Editorial by Kaleb Nation
On April 16, 2008, I started a website called TwilightGuy.com with a short introductory post and the tagline “A Guy Reads Twilight by Stephenie Meyer.” I went to bed. By the next morning, 3,000 people had already visited. So began my journey through the vast and remarkable world known as the blogosphere.
When I originally started my blog, chronicling my journey as a male trying to understand the rabid fan base of Stephenie Meyer’s vampire novels, I had no real idea where it would be heading. As months passed, and the website hits crossed one million, then three million, and even further, I began to wonder just how much this Twilight Guy thing might affect my career as a writer. Starting the website wasn’t really envisioned as a way to promote myself-just something fun I thought up. But I found myself wondering: Would I ever be able to stand on my own as a writer while standing in the shadow of another author’s fandom?
On the other hand, I realized that blogging should not be treated differently than any other professional writing I did. As a blogger, you become a voice, and that voice represents you online in the same way your books represent you in stores. When I wrote something on my website, I knew that 24 hours later, nearly 10,000 people would have read it—which could be considered a far stronger readership than even the most popular bestselling novel might have, despite the fact my writing was given out for free. Unintentionally, writing for my blog served readers from all around the world with a free introduction to my writing style. Hopefully, visitors realized that if they enjoyed my writing online, they would similarly enjoy my writing on paper. It’s somewhat akin to a writer crossing genres—say, from mystery to fantasy—though the style and content might be different, the voice remains distinct.
When my website popularity exploded, I was not expecting the sudden interest in my novel, Bran Hambric, as it was an entirely separate piece of work that had absolutely nothing to do with vampires. There’s hardly any romance at all. But being a blogger helped set me apart from all the other writers putting out books in Fall 2009. Because of the boundless reach of the Internet, the midnight release party for my novel in September was attended by readers from all over the world, many whose countries weren’t even publishing the novel yet. And while the book is marketed towards a 9-12 year-old middle grade audience, I cannot name a single bookstore stop on my recent tour where the kids were not vastly outnumbered by older teens and moms—most, I’m certain, coming from the Twilight fandom, and from my blog.
Someone once asked me if I regret being known as the Twilight Guy, because its early popularity sometimes seems to overshadow my own published writing. But I don’t see writing for blogs as much different from writing my own stories: Whether I’m writing as the Twilight Guy, or writing as the author of Bran Hambric, I’m still writing as the same Kaleb Nation.
VISIT: Kaleb Nation’s Web site.
BONUS MATERIAL: Delaying the e-book version of Bran Hambric