Zestful Blog Post #98
So last week I talked a bit about the demands of marketing / promo and the fact that an author must—somehow, somehow—strike a balance between it and everything else. In a way I feel I have a tin ear for it. For instance, today I cannot bring myself to give away e-copies of Left Field exactly as I promised last week. I said I’d give away copies to two lucky winners, selected at random, among those who posted a comment or sent me an email.
As you will see if you look back, three Zestful Writing Club Members (which I consider you all) left comments, and a few more got in touch via email.
I considered claiming that the random number generator malfunctioned and awarded prizes to everyone, but the truth is, I can’t let anybody down. So if you left a comment or emailed me, you’ll get a book. (Some of you I have email addys for; one of you I messaged on Google+.) I guess if like fifty people had signed up I’d have to stick to my original plan, just because of the sheer administrative time involved. But maybe not.
I recently read something by a marketing expert who works with authors. We know that lots of authors don’t do adequate promo. This person said he thought those authors are ‘arrogant’ and they feel promo is ‘beneath them’. I suppose some are and do.
But for me, and I suspect for many others, the reasons are two:
1) Marketing is a skill set. To do anything well—or at least halfway decent—you have to learn it. This requires, in my case:
a) admitting you have a problem;
b) committing to change;
c) learning the skill set;
d) applying the skill set. Which takes a boatload of left-brained effort, which is counter to the right-brained effort of creation us authors committed ourselves to long ago.
[Sometimes it all feels so desperate...]
2) The plain fact that most of us were brought up not to boast, not to thrust ourselves forward, not to make lofty claims for our work and actions, not to be insincere. I prefer to let my work speak for itself. Except that its voice—confident but quiet—gets drowned out by the digital cacophony, and so needs help.
It is literally a physical and emotional struggle for me to do promo. I confess this not to elicit pity but to share a baffling thing. When I force myself to update my Amazon author page, or log into my (currently pathetic) Goodreads profile, or even type a post onto Facebook or Twitter, or do any other sort of putting-my-self (and-work) into the world, or even JUST READ AN ARTICLE about how to ‘interact with readers’, my stomach drops a little, my palms sweat, and my heart starts to pound. I really don’t know what the emotion is: fear? If so, fear of what? Failure? Success? Is it that my brain hurts because I have to use the left part instead of the right? I cling to my membership in Mensa and my history as a part-time college math tutor, to convince myself that I have at least some working left-brain molecules.
Regardless, I will continue my quest to get good at marketing and figure out ways to do it that don’t make me feel like a crack whore. Or perhaps I simply need to embrace my inner crack whore. I bet she's a nice person, once you get to know her.
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