As a bookish child and an introvert, I always wanted to
be an author, sitting in my garret above the hustle and bustle of the real
world. I had the odd notion that all I would have to do was pour my heart onto
the page and that would be sufficient.
In so many ways —wrong.
First off, you have to have experience before you have
much heart or soul to pour onto the page. There’s a reason starving, despondent authors write great books. But
diets and depression aren’t my thing, so I got a job. Which is the reason I’m
not Edgar Allen Poe and not blogging about experience today.
I’m blogging about promotion. I thought cutting a vein
and letting my blood flow onto the page was painful (not spurt, mind you, I know the
difference between veins and arteries), but the actual writing, revising, and editing are just small
pieces of the torture the industry currently puts us through. Do you have any
idea what it is like for shy, introverted writers to put on a happy face and go
out into the world, shaking hands? After some of the performances I’ve seen, I think some of us are ready for the stage. It’s an incredible strain the first few times we’re put through the publicity grinder.
Happily, I enjoy people and love readers, so I’ve learned
to overcome shyness, and introversion doesn’t prevent me from talking. It just
means I’m exhausted when it’s all over. <G> So I manage the booksignings and the cocktail
receptions and the conferences when I must, and avoid them when I can, because
I’d rather be writing. I said I could manage them. I didn’t say they were my
But now, on top of the public displays of disoriented
writers pretending to be celebrities, the business wants us to promote our work, blatantly,
frequently, and with much gusto. I don’t know about everyone else, but I was
taught to be humble and not to brag. And really, if you want to get into a
socio-philosophical discussion about the effects of America’s hyped-up braggadocio on
society as a whole, we could write reams. So we won’t go there today.
Or I won’t, the rest of you are
free to do as you like. I’m supposed to be the very public Author who doesn’t
make controversial remarks that will turn off readers, right?
So here we are, experienced, talented (not to mention opinionated) writers,
blogging about our books as if we’re comfortable putting ourselves forward. As
in many things, it’s been a better experience than we expected, and we’ve got a
lot more out of it than we dared hope. So
maybe it’s not all bad that we’re being forced out of our comfort zones.
But now…groan…we’ve started dabbling our toes in other venues. I’ll add links so you can see what I’m talking about, if you don’t know
already. Take a peek because a test
may follow… Mary Jo’s video , Mystic Guardian video , Jo’s page .
Overall, the process of creating a video or a website is fun, but IMO, it’s
a constant psychic and creative drain of energies that could be better used
writing a book. Who wouldn’t love having
a producer write a script and choose music and images to reflect their
vision? But reducing a year’s worth of
work to two minutes of images… Not my
strength, I’m here to tellya, and after spending hours over the last few weeks putting this thing together… I’m wiped. And now they want me to promote the promotion?
Give me a break! I love my book, I love what I do, and sure, I
want everyone else to love it, too, but wave it in people’s faces? Not me. I
even forget to tell people when the book is on the stands. (Not until July 3, so
this doesn’t count as book waving, just griping . <G>Check patriciaricewebsite for excerpt–I can’t create websites but I’ve just spent the past month working with my brilliant webperson to bring it into the 21st century. )
So, on top of updating websites, and creating blogs and videos, authors are now tramping around MySpace,( Jo’s page), Nora is creating bobblehead dolls (scroll down to bobblehead), and others like our own Whipmaster are all atwitter about conversational journaling. Who has time, I ask? Do people never sleep?
deliberately avoided telling people that I’m a writer because I don’t like
attention. How sad is that? It was fun the first few times, but after the tenth time of being asked how much money I make or where do I get my ideas, it’s simply easier to tell people I’m an accountant. Questions about taxes I can answer.
But hundreds of books are released every single month, every month. How can we get readers to notice
small offerings if we don’t wave them like a flag in people’s faces? In this country, humility gets you nowhere. Or so we’re told.
So tell us, did any of the above-mentioned videos sell you on our
books? Has any video ever sold you on a book? An ad? MySpace? Meeting a
writer at a conference or booksigning? And afterward, did you continue buying
that writer’s books? Oh, and let’s go all the way here—what most often persuades you to go out and look for a book?
I know doggoned well that it’s
the book that makes you go back and buy an author again and again, once you’re
hooked. But it’s that hooking business that makes us crazy. Maybe next time, I’ll try to figure out what’s
in a book that makes people buy that author again, or maybe we could get back to the effects of a braggadocio society…but I’ve asked enough
questions for one day!