When you’ve been a consistent voice in the blogosphere for a few years, people start to notice you. It means a lot to me that Cerulean Sanctum has been a blessing to others. I get emails from readers that bless me, too, especially those that tell how much the writings here have been a benefit in other people’s lives.
Unfortunately, that same Web presence can spawn its own interpersonal trials and misunderstandings. That brings me to four relational issues I wish to discuss: post link acknowledgments, book reviews, charity mentions, and LinkedIn.
Acknowledging links to posts at Cerulean Sanctum
Early in my blogging life, I made it a mission that I would thank every blogger who linked to one of my posts and mentioned Cerulean Sanctum on their blog. It was important to me that I acknowledge other bloggers who referenced my writings as a way of showing my gratitude and to make the blogosphere a less cold and unfriendly place.
Sadly, as more and more people link to posts here, I have been unable to keep up with this duty. In fact, if I started today and tried to make up for the backlog of just the last month or two, I would spend all day every day for the rest of my life trying to catch up.
So if I don’t post a thankful comment on your blog for your link, it’s not that I’m not grateful; I really am. Economies of scale have just made it an impossible task.
So I say here, Thank you to everyone who links to posts at Cerulean Sanctum.
I am also grateful that anyone would see fit to ask me to review books that they have written. That major publishers write me and ask me to read galleys is not only a shock, but one of those “I’m not worthy” kind of events.
As a professional writer, I am ultrasympathetic to the plight of authors attempting to garner marketing publicity for their books. My heart goes out to you.
However, the day has so many hours. Because I need to make a living, and I am the sole breadwinner for my family, I am willing to review books but only for a fee.
Yes, for the rare book that is dead-on-target to issues I discuss here at Cerulean Sanctum, I am willing to reconsider. But if you have a book on dating for Christian seniors or some other not-discussed-on-this-blog subject, I can only review it for a fee.
I am sure your book is deserving. The problems are on my end: limited time and the need to feed my family. If I am reviewing a stack of books all day long gratis, then I’m falling down in my most important responsibilities.
Recently, I’ve seen a sharp increase in the number of charities wishing me to acknowledge their organization on Cerulean Sanctum. I did this once and now face a flood of requests. That’s normally how these things go.
To those that folks who have approached me about their charity, I want to say that I pray that God richly blesses you. But I have decided I need to stick with a decision my wife and I made many years ago. We only support those charities that are run by people we know personally, people that we regularly meet face-to-face. In this way, the accountability remains high. It also means that we can dedicate our limited resources to the people who are doing the work in those charities because they are friends and neighbors in “real” life.
This will be perhaps the most contentious issue of the four here.
I like LinkedIn and use it. It is my only genuine social networking outlet on the Web (besides Cerulean Sanctum), and I believe it to be a decent way for me to keep my business presence alive on the Internet.
But LinkedIn is only as valuable as the strength of its relationships. Its primary purpose, as I see it, is to allow others to recommend my work and for me to do the same for them. For that reason, it demands that I know the people well that I accept as connections. I have to have some history with my connections.
Do I accept connections from people I have never met face-to-face? Yes. However, those people have two things going for them:
- I know what my connections do for a living and have seen examples of their professional work. In this way, I can recommend them to others.
- My connections and I have developed a history outside of blogging. That means carrying on conversations in private emails or phone calls over the course of some time.
Nothing is harder for me to do than decline invitations to link up on LinkedIn. For every person I decline, it’s like a little death.
If you have offered to link up and I’ve not accepted, I want to say this: It is not because I don’t like you or am being a snob. It’s solely for the two reasons above.
It’s not you, it’s me
So, if I appear standoffish, it has nothing to do with you, your book, your charity, or your blog, and everything to do with my own limitations.
I genuinely care about the people who read Cerulean Sanctum. I’ve prayed for many, if not most, of you. Forgive me if I fail you in other regards.