Notes from An Alien

~ Explorations In Reading, Writing & Publishing ~

A Virtual World, A Writer’s Mind, And Serious Business That’s Always Fun!

I just got back from Book Island in Second Life.

Yep, a virtual world I visit for play and work. I wrote about virtual worlds in a previous post. Here’s a bit of what I said:

“All virtual worlds have virtues that make them valuable whether we’re talking about your mind, a book you read or wrote, or a computer-created world.”

Yes, I called our minds and books “virtual worlds”. Check out that post for more about what I’ve done as a writer in Second Life.

This post is for talking about what I’m doing as a promoter (of my writing) in that virtual world.

Just like a book’s virtuality can become quite real to us, walking around in a computer virtuality can make you wonder why this “real”, consensual, physical reality puts so many demands on we weak humans :-)

My latest book will be coming out in May and I’m doing all the necessary promotional tasks I can squeeze into my day–writing this blog, visiting the blogs on my Blogroll and commenting there, planning a BlogTour for the book launch, making final revisions, preparing for online reviews of the book, using Twitter and Facebook, etc…

Most of those activities are me relating to other people and that’s what I consider Promotion to be–Relationships.

Would you rather be bombarded with TV or online ads for books, movies, or your favorite things, or would you like to have a friend recommend one to you?

Relationships have always been the most effective form of promotion, in spite of the mega-budgets of the marketing firms. Sure, you may have seen a movie that got mega-hyped and liked it but, imho, most of what’s sold through the traditional channels of promotion is either quite useless or actually harmful.

So, I take a break from the sometimes sweet, often harsh, conditions of Real reality and move my relationship-forming brand of promotion into Second Life.

I’m the events manager on Book Island, I help host the weekly Open Mic on Sundays, I take part in the Wednesday Writer’s Chat Support Group, I’m organizing the new Happy Hours at the Writer’s Block Cafe, and I read chapters from my forthcoming book on Thursdays.

Apart from the live reading of book chapters, most of the “work” is hanging out with people and forming relationships. I’m not running around shouting out my agenda. I talk with folks from all over the world. I bond with them. They often wonder what I do in Real Life. I tell them about my book…

What I do in real life takes many hours of every day. I make time for virtual relationship-building, carve it out of my diurnal allocation, find it often more satisfying then this war-torn, global crisis-ridden, greedy and dangerous “real” world…

Like yesterday: I sat with five people from various parts of the United States, one man from Finland, and two others from the UK. Some were writers, some artists, and one was a pole dancer. We all had a great time. We shared information, experiences, laughter, and good will

I think it’s time to wrap this post up. I’ll do it with some questions from that previous post:

Have you ever wondered if your mind is truly registering our physical world with fidelity?

How lost can you get in a good book?

Has a book you’ve read ever made you want to abandon our consensual reality?

Have you ever visited a virtual world?
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17 responses to “A Virtual World, A Writer’s Mind, And Serious Business That’s Always Fun!

  1. Karla Telega February 17, 2011 at 5:38 pm

    I can hardly help but visit virtual worlds on a daily basis. My writing is a process of dipping into that virtual world in my mind and making it come alive in print. If I can’t get lost in a book from the very start, I generally put it down and don’t read it.

    I often remind myself that reality for me is my perception of the world around me. Not everyone likes the same foods. If a carrot is absolute, then everyone should like them. I can actually choose to see life differently, and it becomes real to me.


    • Alexander M Zoltai February 17, 2011 at 6:07 pm

      “I can actually choose to see life differently, and it becomes real to me.”

      While being a firm believer that there really is a physical World out there that truly exists, I know it has many input channels for change…

      Then, there’s the consideration that most humans live most of their lives in a Social Reality that is always ripe for change…

      Also, various studies have concentrated on the fact that much of our Perception flows out from our mind and not into our brain…

      Karla, I “envy” your path–humor writer–since the one thing that can most often reach into a seemingly intractable situation and open it for radical change is Humor :-)


  2. HaleyWhitehall February 17, 2011 at 6:56 pm

    Thanks for sharing about Book Island. I will check it out as soon as I have the time. I wouldn’t say that the stories I create put me in a virtual world. It is more like an imaginary world similar to Peter Pan’s Never Never Land.


    • Alexander M Zoltai February 17, 2011 at 7:03 pm

      Haley, I hope we can meet on Book Island soon :-)

      You’d be a great contributor to our Writer’s Chat Group and folks would love to hear you at the Open Mic!!

      Well, virtual or imaginary, or their creative combination–all is awaiting you in Second Life………


  3. Claire King February 17, 2011 at 9:29 pm

    I think this is a very important post and this hits the nail on the head: “Most of those activities are me relating to other people and that’s what I consider Promotion to be–Relationships.”
    In a digital world, push strategies are outdated. Networks are the way forward.


  4. Catana February 17, 2011 at 10:44 pm

    Until very recently, I’ve never had a computer that could cope with Second Life, so I haven’t thought much about it. But I’m curious. I don’t care for chats, probably not open mike either, so is there anything in Book Island that would be worth the time? Or, more accurately, is there anything there that I can’t do in my regular online venues?

    Of course, the other question is, since I know that it used to cost money and probably still does, does it offer anything that I can’t do for free elsewhere? After all, the internet is a virtual space.


    • Alexander M Zoltai February 18, 2011 at 2:07 am

      Very good questions, Catana; and, I’m sorry it took so long to respond but I was in Second Life :-)

      The one thing I think SL can give you that other online venues lack is the sense of Presence. It’s one thing to be texting to someone from another country in a forum and a whole other thing to watch their avatar move and speak and interact…

      As far as cost, registering for and downloading the software is free. Roaming around and attending events is almost always free.

      You can spend money but one American dollar is worth something like 264 SL dollars. This blends right into other things one can do in SL, too.

      I rent space there. Two shops, and a cottage. The total, in US dollars, per week, is about $5.50… Yes, you do have to buy furnishings and most folks buy lots of clothing (though making your own is an easy option) but, again, a suit of clothes, even fancy stuff, is a buck or two…

      So, over all, the “reality” of the virtual world is like adding about 6 new dimensions to what you could do in other online venues…


  5. cmmarcum February 17, 2011 at 11:23 pm

    Well, you certainly have a busy schedule. Next to you, I’m a slacker. At one time, I was in a race to produce a backlog of stories, but now, my instincts tell me to slow down, consider each word, each sentence and paragraph.
    I’m not ready to write a novel, but I can’t wait to see how your efforts stimulate book sales.


    • Alexander M Zoltai February 18, 2011 at 2:10 am

      I’m so busy for two reasons:

      * I have a small military pension so I’m working harder than I ever did–but, it’s only stuff I want to do.

      * I’m 64 and my WIP is the most important thing I’ve ever done in my life. It deserves all the time I can give it :-)


  6. Simone Benedict February 18, 2011 at 3:19 am

    Thanks for sharing this info, Alexander. It sounds like a lot of fun. Hopefully one day I’ll be able to check it out. Maybe you can write a post soon about what you’ve learned on your journey of promoting your novel, i.e., what has worked and what hasn’t?


    • Alexander M Zoltai February 18, 2011 at 3:51 am

      Well, Simone…

      I’ll add the idea to my possible posts list (always filtered by my Muse) but the real story about what’s worked or not will be when the book is finally out in May…

      Still, if I take the angle of what has “worked” for me as far as successfully building relationships on the Web, that I can do :-)


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