Because I’m an incurable futzer? Maybe!
But also, I’m making this up as I go along. I try one thing, see how that works, find some pitfalls, problems, etc, and try something else. Each time I think I get a little closer to that perfect image I have in my head of what my web presence should be.
I don’t really like the idea of personal branding. It makes me feel all hampered and stuff. Maureen Johnson has a lot of great stuff to say on the subject. But I think that some amount of branding/public identity will form around us, whether we like it or not. And that’s if we’re lucky (the unlucky ones just get ignored). So if it’s going to happen regardless, I want to make bold declarations and assert myself. If I must be in a box, let me determine what kind. Let it be big and messy with lots of holes, spray paint, and strange, superfluous appendages. Let it change with me, evolve with me, do it’s damnedest to keep up with me, while I, frequently and without mercy, burn it to the ground and rebuild it. Over and over again. Let that be my “brand”.
My first book, Struts & Frets, was a realistic, extremely intimate, first person story about a boy and his music. My second book, Misfit, which comes out Fall of 2011, is an epic, dark fantasy about a demon girl in catholic school. It’s big, it’s loud, it’s nothing like Struts & Frets. Maybe that will disappoint some people? I don’t know. But as my editor pointed out, it’s still definitely a book by me.
Recently I did a panel with Lauren Oliver and she is pulling a similar stunt with her second book Delirium, which is very different from her first book, Before I Fall. She said the reason she did that was because she wanted, right from the start, to elbow out enough room to do whatever she wanted, regardless of genre. And I thought, “Hey, that’s what I’m doing!” Except, you know, without being all purposeful and savvy about it.
So the best way you can define your work is with…well, your work. But I think you are kidding yourself if you think that you aren’t also defining your work and your public identity with your online presence. And that’s where I actually am being somewhat purposeful and savvy. I’ve played around with a number of possibilities by this point. I liked having site, blog, and everything else under the one roof. But the problem is that if that’s the first thing people see when they google me, their impression is based totally on whatever I felt like tossing up on my blog that day.
Say, for example, I felt like posting random clips from Invader Zim…
See what I mean? As awesome as a collection of Gir clips is, I’m not sure I want that to be the first impression for some casual surfer or new potential reader. But I still want to feel like I can post that kind of stuff.
So now, this blog is at blog.jonskovron.com, which is probably where it should have been all along. And http://jonskovron.com is a simple landing page for all things Jon Skovron, and, at least at first glance, is vaguely respectable. Plus it has a cool embedded feed thingie. Check it out!