Running the literary Internet

A list of 35 writers of whom (with the exception of Neil Gaiman and William Gibson) neither you nor I have ever heard, are supposedly the Internet’s Most Influential Writers. Amusingly enough, one of them isn’t even a writer and another admittedly has no Internet presence at all.

The debate as to whether the Internet is good or bad for literature doesn’t seem any closer to resolution now than when it began, years ago, but the fact remains that some people in the literary world are excellent at using Twitter, Tumblr, Facebook, and even Instagram or Pinterest to communicate with readers and get people interested in what they’re writing…. Whatever it is they do on the Internet, these 35 people do it better than anybody else in the book world, and that’s why they help steer literary conversations and tastes.

This comment following the piece was funny, if not entirely accurate. “haha i just checked vox day has more followers than any of these. larry coriea gets more hits with one post than the plonkers.”

The list also made Cedar Sanderson scratch her head:

Someone put together a list of the 35 Writers who Run the Internet that had a bunch of us scratching our heads in puzzlement. We’d collectively heard of two or three of them, and most of us are very well read online, keeping up with the changes in the industry. So I challenged several disparate groups of people to nominate influential voices in literature. Who do we listen to?

  1. Larry Correia
  2. Hugh Howey
  3. Sarah A. Hoyt
  4. JA Konrath
  5. John C. Wright
  6. Jerry Pournelle
  7. Brad Torgerson
  8. Kris Rusch
  9. Neil Gaiman
  10. Vox Day
  11. Mike Resnick
  12. Cory Doctorow
  13. Dean Wesley Smith
  14. Kevin J Anderson
  15. Laura Resnick

This isn’t her exact list; I omitted the group blogs for what should be the obvious reason that this was being compared to a list of writers, not blogs. And who is missing?

In my opinion, Instapundit is the most egregious exception, closely followed by John Scalzi, who still merits a significant place on the list even though no one on the Right reads his blog anymore since he outed himself as a rabid Left Democrat. Whatever has lost nearly two-thirds of its former audience, but that still puts him well above the average and he’s mostly active on Twitter these days anyhow. These days, I’d put Instapundit at #2 behind Howey and Scalzi around #6 or #7. Charles Stross should be in the top 25. There are probably two or three at that would bear mention, but I wouldn’t know who they are. And John O’Neill of Black Gate absolutely merits top ten status in my book; don’t forget he also launched the SF Site.

I’m surprised to see Mr. Correia at the top; he’s certainly number one where book sales, displacement, and sheer awesomeness are concerned, but let’s face it, for all that he’s been driving the Hugo discourse for two years there aren’t THAT many writers interested in painting miniatures. Hugh Howey would be my personal top pick; what he’s doing with Amazon analysis is both groundbreaking and important. I’m both surprised and delighted to see John C. Wright so well-regarded; his blog is always my first stop every morning as it is always a pleasure to read anything the man has to write, and even when I disagree with him I know there will be substantive food for thought on offer. Kris Rusch, like Howey, does a great job of sharing her wealth of knowledge with the writerly world.

Sadly missing is Our Friend Damien, who will probably be weeping and cutting himself upon learning that not even a platform on a major international newspaper was enough to help him make either list. Which is somewhat of a pity, because for all that he’s a suicidal leftie on anti-depressants who views me as the very evilist of the Evil League of Evil, his views on the changes taking place in the publishing world are far more relevant and sane than Scalzi’s or those of the people running SFWA.

One more thing. Don’t be surprised if in a year or two, you see Jeffro and/or Daniel from the Castalia blog making such lists. Their literary posts are among the most substantive I’ve seen that are not written by Matthew David Surridge.