Exploiting the Golden Goose Effect

In a previous posting, I contrasted some of the differences between live television/radio interviews and the more leisurely and deliberate web interview. In that posting, I focussed primarily on the notion that writing is a writer’s natural habitat, so to speak. It only makes sense, then, that a written-form interview is going to elicit the most satisfying result for both interviewer, interviewee, and audience.

But further to that particular notion of being a more natural fit, I think there are a couple of other factors at play that should make writers want to seek out these web-centric text interviews more often, even, possibly, to prefer them over live interviews.

For example, remember the old story about the Golden Goose? Some Joe does a good deed and is rewarded with a golden goose, but other people try to steal it or interfere with his good fortune and each of them gets stuck to the growing train of reprobates, strung out behind him as he wanders around the village.

In a way, every time you leave a new web footprint behind you – a blog entry, an interview on someone else’s site, a book review you post on GoodReads, etc. – it acts like a new golden goose, trailing out behind you, catching people unawares and referring them up to the head of the chain, which is you. But instead of trailing out behind you in space, these golden temptations are trailing out behind you in time. Not quite forever, but certainly for a long, long while. Much longer than your interview with Biff and Tammy Live is going to hang around. Especially given that video files are large and even if the broadcaster puts it up on their web site, they will probably take it down to recover space after a few weeks or months.

With text content though, nobody ever bothers to cull that stuff, so potential fans can stumble across it for the next 3 or 5 or 15 years. And each posting you do creates another one of these tenuous strands that can lead the stragglers to the dazzling golden beauty of your work.

Even if a video capture of that live interview does get posted to the web, it still has no context gravity. Most of us are still searching the web via text, and the only text around your interview is likely to be the headline and a short summary of your name and main topic. These are the kinds of details that will make it easy for people who already know about you to find you, but it doesn’t do much to suck new people into your orbit. That’s what I mean by “context gravity.”

Suppose you went on a little riff in the interview about how your magic system was inspired by your fascination with Peruvian aboriginal neuro-toxins. That detail is almost certainly not going to be part of the text summary of your video interview. But if the interview had been done in text form, suddenly people who are interested in the history of blow-gun hunting might stumble onto you. And if they just happen to be rabid fantasy fiction fans?

Guess who’s going to be the next victim stuck onto your golden train.

The geometry - and light - of story.
Anatomy of the e-book blurb: who ya gonna call?

About the author

Jefferson Smith is a Canadian fantasy author, as well as the founder, chief editor and resident proctologist of ImmerseOrDie. With a PhD in Computer Science and Creativity Systems compounded by a life spent exploring most art forms for fun and profit, he is underqualified in just about everything. That's why he writes.