I’ve been wrestling with writing a new blog for a few days. Initially, it was going to be a rant on what’s considered realistic writing, but then it occurred to me that a blog like that was entirely self-serving and possibly (probably?) of little interest to anyone else.
Normally, I wouldn’t care. As my title says, it’s my blog and…but my publisher recently started a marketing campaign for many of its authors, part of which involves feeds from its Facebook page. Among other interesting tidbits, there are a number of suggested ways for authors to use their website blogs. Mostly it has to do with blogging on current items of interest, or at least items of interest to others. That way you attract more readers and (potentially) more buyers.
I’m not okay with that “strategy” and it’s taken me some days to decide why I would willfully ignore the sound advice of many others, likely more skilled than me in marketing. I’ve come up with some theories and you have the option of reading through them or simply skipping to the end for the conclusion…
I don’t like to work that hard
Writing is hard work, make no mistake about that. Writing a book is extremely hard work. For every person who writes a book, there are likely 10,000 who say “I should write a book” and then don’t. Because it’s hard work. Given that I have now written two books and also spent the previous 25+ years working my way up the corporate ladder, I’m going to have to debunk this reason.
I’m afraid of success
This is one of my old favorites. Complexes and neuroses aside, I think I like success as much as the next person. True, I have never enjoyed “working” at something I enjoy (here I define working as actually making a living from some form of effort – I work plenty hard at tennis, fishing and keeping my mouth shut, but none of those earn me anything), but I am gratified anytime a new reader lets me know that they’ve enjoyed my book. So, the idea of thousands more enjoying my work is a cool daydream. Let’s give this one a partial debunk.
I stink at marketing myself
This one has some meat on its bones, since I’ve either been very lucky or very unlucky in my previous professional life, depending on your view of liquid-filled drinking containers. I’ve never been aggressive on my behalf, unless you contend that my hard work and commitment to doing a great job can be considered a form of self-promotion. In any case, things like raises and promotions have just seemed to come for me at a reasonably agreeable pace. Nothing like that is happening with my writing (except that commitment to doing a great job), so perhaps this is a real concern.
Personally, I think this is the big one. That might also explain why I’ve “only” written two books in three years. I mean, come on! Where’s the fire? Where’s the passion? Why aren’t there reams of half-written junk strewn about my office of various ideas of little merit? When I left work four years ago, it had the feel of retirement, even though I knew it wasn’t really. Combine a laid-back personality with a laid-back state and you get a pretty laid-back attitude to everything.
I love to write, but I’m not so motivated to do all the post production work (contacting bloggers, setting up readings and appearances, doing PR). Can I be considered “serious” about writing if I don’t work to give my work its best chance to succeed? I suppose that depends on how I define success and, to this point, that doesn’t seem to require high sales results.
So where does this rambling ramble leave us? Right back where we started. It’s my blog and (as long as I don’t seem too motivated to be a best-selling author) I’ll write what I want to.