Keeping It Real
I recently took a workshop on marketing your wares as a writer. As writers, we've been told that we need to play our part in selling our books – that publishers expect writers to promote their own work. Of course. I get it. And this isn't exactly new news. Everyone in the arts is expected to get out there and promote themselves. I've always agreed that a writer should get behind their work and do what they can to sell their books. Well, why not? We have to.
However, lately I've been thinking about this whole thing and I feel like I don't want to spend all my time marketing/promoting instead of writing. A little bit of promo work suits me just fine. But too much, and I'll start to lose my focus. I want to write. The business side of writing is important. I do do it. I send out my work in hopes of publication. I promote events that I'll be reading at... but I can't turn into a marketing machine. It just doesn't feel right for me. I'd rather write in obscurity and have a few readers and have a sense of inner purpose, than run around promoting myself. I like the idea of a reader discovering my work – they'll find it if they really want/need it.
Recently on twitter, someone sent out a warning to new writers saying that we should brace ourselves because most of our time is going to be spent in marketing and promotion – with very little time for writing. At the time I thought – yes – she's absolutely right. No doubt. But whether she's right or not, it just doesn't seem like the right choice for me. I like to spend my time in contemplation, reading and writing – and gosh darn it – enjoying life. I don't think chasing after the dangling carrot is going to do it for me. I don't want to chase success in writing. It's not why I write.