We’re still beating up on Laurie Gough and her contention that bypassing the gatekeepers who live east of the Hudson River hurts written words.
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When I pointed out that we’re all gatekeepers now, Jeff Duntemann (author of the excellent Ten Gentle Opportunities) responded by pointing out:
@NotJonMollison As readers, we’ve always been. The difference is that we now have to be systematic (and unrelenting) about it.
— Jeff Duntemann(@JeffDuntemann) January 1, 2017
He’s absolutely right. Word of mouth has always been a cherished aspect of marketing, and bad word of mouth can easily overcome even the most sophisticated advertising campaign. Look no further than the recent Ghostbusters debacle which resulted in a very different kind of hysterical response than the original.
For the record, my gatekeepers are legion, and I’m always on the lookout for more of them. If you love a particular style of work, and if you want to see more of it produced, then you should become a gatekeeper, too. You’re a fan, after all, and one of the things that fans do is talk about the things they love. The more you talk about the things you enjoy, the more people will find those things, and the more incentive people will have to make more of it.
The dirty little secret about increasing your influence as a gatekeeper is that it’s really easy to do. it just takes a little time and dedication. All you have to do is start showing up in a few blog comments, find the blogger’s Twitter feed, and join in the discussions. You don’t need to build a full blown blog or start up your own literary criticism magazine. Just join in the discussion, and you to can help keep the gates open for the style of works you love.
Here’s a quick list of the guys who make for a good starting point (in no particular order):
It’s a rolling conversation that spans dozens of links, threads, and blogs, and it’s a blast. If you join in, you’ll start seeing familiar faces and before you know it, you’ll find your very own team of gatekeepers blowing open doors to works that you probably would have missed out on if you relied on the recommendations of snooty New York literati types.
Even better, they’ll all have you to act as a gatekeeper to help them find the same.