Filed under: Dave White
JT asked me to cross post this from my own blog, so here goes. I’m going to edit it a bit to make my point clearer. What’s ironic to me is this group, Killer Year, is used mostly as a promotional tool, though lately it’s become more than that, which I’m glad about:
I’m tired. Maybe it’s just me. Maybe it’s been late nights and stress and thinking too much, but I’m tired.
So why am I tired? Because some of this stuff has gone on too long and it’s time to say something.
I just want to remind you all, we’re WRITERS.
So why don’t we talk about books and craft and how we write more? Why don’t we talk about the best way to tell a story? Or why multiple POVs seem to work better than first person these days? Or why Author X’s book worked so well? We don’t talk about that on these blogs enough.
When we review something it’s seen as promoting a friend or a fellow writer. It doesn’t come off as honest to me. And that’s because there’s a trend, at least since the advent of writer blogs, and that trend is PROMOTION.
That’s what 90% of these blogs are about, it seems. It’s WHO I hung out with at a contest. Or how I walked into a bookstore and swooned the booksellers into pushing my book. Or what my plan is to make my book a bestseller.
You know what my plan is? To write a good book.
And then write another good book.
We are writers and writing is the MOST IMPORTANT thing. Writing well, is the MOST IMPORTANT thing.
Too many people, it seems, are worried about getting their name out there. Yeah, that’s important. But isn’t part of that making sure you’re proud of the book your name is on?
I will go out and sign books. I will hang out with booksellers. I’ll do the leg work because I enjoy it. But I don’t want to have to feel like no matter where I am I should be peddling my wares. I shouldn’t be harassing people with business cards telling them how good my book is all the time.
My focus should be on the work. I should worry about how well I’m writing and if it’s going to resonate. If I write a good book, then the chips should fall into place. I gotta think it’s easier to sell a good book to people and keep them coming back for more good books.
I think the problem is, the business is finite. It’s easy to come up with a few answers and go out and do it. Writing is infinite. There are hundreds of ways to do it and we’re afraid to talk about it because it might be wrong. But there is no RIGHT WAY. I don’t know anything about writing from day to day. I never know if what I’m doing is right. And that scares me. And I think it scares a lot of other people, which is why we don’t talk about it.
But we should.
Yeah, people have to find out about the book somehow. That’s where the legwork comes in.
But is it the most important thing? I don’t think so.
Writing a good book.
That’s the most important thing.
And if that doesn’t work out, I’m still a teacher.
I feel like I’m not sure if my point is getting across. Yeah, promotion is important and it’s definitely something I have to learn about and get good at. I’m going to have to promote my book. And in all honesty, I’m looking forward to doing that.
But at the same time, isn’t one of the best ways to start promoting a book, writing a good one? Why can’t we talk about different ways to get better and exchange thoughts about how to become BETTER WRITERS and better promoters? Isn’t there a balance to that? Somehow, I feel like writing the book should be the MOST IMPORTANT THING, but when I read blogs, it isn’t.
Maybe I’m in a different mindset than a lot of people. Do I want to write for a living? Yes, I do. A lot. And I will do what it takes. I’m dedicated to being successful. But if it doesn’t work out because of things out of my control, I can still write short stories and remain a teacher, a profession I love.
So the question becomes, what can I control? The words on the page. I can write a better book. I can do what it takes to learn how to write consistently well and become better and better at it. And then I can go out and do the signings and schmooze the booksellers and wine and dine publicists.
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