Really, is this what the goal is, and/or is this what the goal should be? And if so, how to attain Google-ability?
This comes up as I have been preparing for the PAWA Submitting Your Work for Publication workshop. I have been asking other writers questions about what some issues and hang-up’s around publication are. Google-ability has come up.
I believe that’s beyond publishing, not necessarily a separate issue, but one that detracts from the core work and efforts of publishing.
That said, I do believe in maintaining a steady and professional web presence. This is why I have this website (and all these ancillary sites: FB, Twitter, Goodreads, etc. Really, look at all these places, though I can only realistically be active in one or two, and just have RSS feeds lead back here), which I should be updating more regularly than I do. I used to post here nearly daily, but that’s becoming impossible.
So I too work to achieve Google-ability through maintaining (and meta tagging) this website and blog, where I am responsible for its content, its being thorough and updated regularly with all things professional: teaching, writing, publishing, editing, curating. Talking to a fellow author recently, he told be he’s become wary of divulging online the details about his personal life, and we briefly discussed whether blogging about going to the movies was personal or professional. I said it’s cultural, akin to discussing what musical or literary offerings we are currently enjoying.
“Cultural” is a vast, sweeping category that also toes the line between public and personal, and can include food (farmers markets, Filipino home cooking, and restaurants), gardening, my fascination with LOTR, professional wrestling, superhero blockbusters, sci-fi, samurai films and Manny Pacquiao, i.e. pop culture phenomena. Sometimes these things are relevant to my writing, teaching, editing, and sometimes not so much.
I really do believe primarily striving for Google-ability detracts from the core work and concern of publishing. To me, this preoccupation with Google-ability speaks to what I mentioned in my previous blog post:
…there’s so much interest in self-promotion, in being recognized, so much desire to be given props and praise …
And that’s related to what Sunny Vergara blogged about “those people,” “the self-promoter, a schmoozer, a networker.” To be fair, the suggestion offered (to strive for Google-ability) was to focus only on submitting to online publications, never print-only publications, but the words “only,” and “never,” raise my eyebrows, especially when I believe in being ourselves diverse as writers, in reaching and connecting with various audiences and readerships in varied and various circles.
I am interested in finding/having a place within various and intersecting literary traditions — as an author that is a woman, a Filipino American, an Asian Pacific Islander American, a person of color, a woman of color, an American. I am also a writer of the Pacific Rim, of Oakland, of the Bay Area, of California. My poems are political, feminist, multilingual. I’ve dabbled in experimental poetry. My physical venues are local, national, grassroots, academic. They are indie bookstores, public libraries, universities, community centers, cultural centers, art museums. My publication venues are local, national, international; zines, journals, anthologies, chapbooks, books; print, online, multimedia.
These are no big, new revelations I’m making here as I state the obvious. I want to reach readers in various spaces. I want my work in classrooms and that is why traditional publication is important to me. I want my work accessible to anyone with internet access (and here I don’t mean necessarily owning their own computers, and also, folks may not be able to afford to buy lots of print publications — journals, magazines, chapbooks, books, anthologies), and this is why online publication is also important to me.
That said, aren’t our goals larger than Google and web presence? Or perhaps I should have first asked: Why publish? Why do you want to publish?