The ‘Lancer has a numerically small but engaged audience, otherwise known as ‘a few people who seem to like much of what I post.’ This audience, being mine, deserves my solicitude and affection.
Here’s the question: if I wrote about travel books, would it be out of bounds if I didn’t do up links, and let people search them out the marginally less easy way?
I ask because all the following are true:
- Travel is the most overrepresented category in my library. In very few areas does my library dominate the shelf selection at Barnes, and this is one of the few.
- You could learn a shitload about the world from reading these books. That’s how I did it.
- A lot of the best travel books are not done by Frances Mayes, Paul Theroux, Bruce Chatwin, or someone else who has done a lot of well-paid, pompously-reviewed writing. Nothing against any of those, but your typical travel writer is a one-off who doesn’t write any more. You will never find them without my help.
- There is a reason that I positioned the travel endcap nearest my recliner in my library (though making sure that history was in clear sight). If I’m going to grab anything to re-read, odds are it’ll be travel.
- If that’s going to happen–and it will, since I have no intention of being a book hoarder, and am very happy to re-read books–I could turn my readership on to a whole bunch of great stuff. Most of it probably didn’t sell, but the readership of the ‘Lancer is well aware that ‘didn’t sell’ does not mean ‘book sucks.’ It means ‘author couldn’t or wouldn’t market, and publisher didn’t bother.’
- For me, writing is easy; getting links right is hard. I have to dig it up on Amazon, pare out the extraneous stuff in the link, highlight, copy, highlight link area, paste, hope that the paste was the correct thing, and then test to see if it works. I hate this.
- I would write more about travel books if links weren’t a basic expectation, and if I didn’t dislike them so.
I solicit commentary on this subject. If I said “screw the links, look it up if you’re interested,” would that be a good trade for more writing?
6 thoughts on “A question about talking about travel writing”
I’d still be interested, but it is more reader- friendly to provide links. My main issue, though, would be whether the book is still available. So even if the book is spectacular, I don’t want a review if I can never read it.
That makes sense. And in most cases the answer would be that it is, but only on the secondary market.
I don’t click on many links in articles, too much danger of getting rickrolled, or worse. If I see an interesting book profiled in an article, I’m going to check the local lending library website first anyway to see if it is available for loan.
I should hope I wouldn’t rickroll you! But I take note of your point, and those of many others: if the links are a sacrifice to promote more real content, the links can go hang. I’m glad for the feedback, and for the ongoing readership.
If it is truly a trade off I would vote for no links and more content. Reminds me of Professor Emerson (History) at the UW. He would sketch out the core points of different topics and then list the resources if you wished to dive deeper into that area. His premise was that his interest and yours may actually differ, so you should be free to explore things that intrigued you instead of him. Great professor, even let you write your own final.
Thanks, Randy. I never took Emerson, but I knew who he was. Now I wish I’d had him.