Saturday, June 20, 2015

The Big Promotion

I'm a writer. Love it! I've loved writing stories since before I was published. I would still write even if I would have never been published, but I'm thankful that I was. But there is a rub to being published. To having a book or books out there. "There" being the public space where others can read and then also critique your work. One, you want people to read what has taken you some time to create. As writers, we don't just sit down at the computer and have our creativity spill out onto the page in a free flowing purge. Sometimes that creative process is slow going. Days can go by without a creative spark to put down on that blank space in Word. Sometimes even...Gulp...weeks. But once the damn breaks, it's nirvana! Spatial Heaven! The Big O!

The other part of writing is having your book known to others. How in the hell are you supposed to do that? I'm  relatively new writer. I don't have a line of books in the public sphere. Four. And I am proud of those four. So proud in fact, I framed them, and put them on my wall. Other authors have several series out, and my envy. They market their books. Promote them to the point where they have a following, and books sales that can support them financially. Again, envy. I envy authors that can promote their books with ease. I haven't the slightest idea of how to go about that. It's the rub I was speaking about earlier in a writer's career. You write what you think is a pretty good story, but short of driving around in your car and throwing books onto people's doorsteps 
, book promotion isn't as simple as it probably should be.
There are professional book promotion services. But they come with a cost $$$, and sometimes $$$$$$. Get the picture? And it isn't permanent. That comes in the form of an agent, who would then take 10-15% or more of your sales. Of course there's Twitter, and Facebook, and Amazon, and submitting your book, your baby, your miraculous creation that came from your imagination to a reviewer so they can critique, and pick it apart to the point of dried bones in the desert!!! And then they'll give your baby one, tiny, little, pitiful star. Leaving your to cry, rocking yourself in the fetal position, alone in your room, because  your baby, your book wasn't well received by some stranger.

Promotion is the bane of a writer. And if I were trying to be the next Tia Louise, Maya Banks, or Laurell K. Hamilton I would be worried about promotion. To me, it's kind of like a child. You want your child to be successful. Your push them (gently) toward the right path and hope they'll succeed in school, go on to college, and maybe be that doctor, lawyer, or next President. But maybe school was hard for them. They graduated (barely), and then went to community college for more than the average two years, to become the best manager Walmart has seen. You don't love them any less. You're proud of them. Maybe no one knows how good they are, because they aren't a lawyer, or they aren't on TV every night welcoming you to Nightline, or well-known for their courageous acts overseas. They're still your baby, and you gaze at them with pride and love. 
And the first person that says anything bad about your baby will have to deal with you!

So, I don't promote like I should. It comes down to the rock or the hard place. Spend time promoting my books in hopes of garnering that New York Times Bestseller accolade, which then comes with it's own share of problems (book signings, travelling away from the family, maybe a movie deal where they cast your main characters totally against what they should look like...Sorry, I digress), or slow sales where you don't become rich, and more time to write what you like even though few will know who you are. Hmmmm.

I've always told my kids that there was a difference between a job and a career. A job pays the bills. It may not be what you like to do, and you may even hate it. A career is something that you love to do. It may pay well, or not. But the reason you're doing it isn't because of the money. You just love to do it. That's how I see writing. I can promote to get more sales, and bring in more money. That would be great. I won't lie, it would be.  But I didn't begin this journey to grab the bucket of gold and run. I want to tell a story. if people like it...Yay. If not...Okay. Maybe I'll begin promoting my books in the future. Maybe not. But right now, I'm going to end my rant, and write. I have too many characters yelling in my head for attention. Too many stories clamoring to get out. I'm going to go and write a story.