So, I don't have this whole "professional writer" thing figured out. (Shock and awe.) I, like most people, am just making shit up as I go along and hoping to every god that I don't fall flat on my face in front of everyone. There's one thing, though, that I've been thinking about of late that I really struggle with. And that special something is maintaining enthusiasm while marketing myself.
Hell, self-promotion is hard enough. Sure, let's take a group of people who are professional introverts and have a well-documented tendency toward fraud complexes and then have them PROMOTE themselves.
I admit that the days I feel like a failure are fewer now than they were...say...4 years ago, but I still have about one week out of every month where I am convinced I should just get out of writing forever and save the human race from my drivel. Those days still exist.
Even when I have those days, I still have to get out there and bang the drum. I don't mind doing it for other people. In fact, I love being the carnival barker for other people. Step right up and see the amazing Beth Cato and her debut novel THE CLOCKWORK DAGGER! Tremble before the might of Delilah S. Dawson (writing as Ava Lovelace) as she unleashes THE SUPERFOX upon you.
And so on.
But it gets exhausting to do it for oneself. At least for me.
There are days when I absolutely loathe my writing (the same book that I loved two days ago and have to encourage you to buy) but I have to muster the enthusiasm to convince you it's not a waste of your life energy (and money) to experience it. And even if I like the book or story, there are days when I'm just tired of looking at it, thinking about it or even knowing I created it. It's like with anything else... sometimes you just get burnt out on something. For example, I've read UNVEILED somewhere in the realm of 10 times (minimum) in the past 4 months. This past weekend I had to read it (again) for what is (I hope) the final proofing pass...and I can't begin to tell you how much I hated that book. Not necessarily because it was shit (I'm the way wrong person to ask about that, see above points), but because I'm just tired of it.
And, of course, NOW is the time when I have to really gear up the promotion machine to get YOU to love it and buy it and tell everyone in the world how amazing it is.
Not only do I have to fight myself on this one sometimes...but I have to fight the rest of the world. Or so it seems. Most of the self-promotion I do is via social media. Facebook, Twitter, this blog...these are the main ways I try to flag your attention and get you to notice my works. I don't know about you, but my Twitter feed moves incredibly fast. There's a billion words that I try to sift through to see what my friends are saying. Of late, I've been rather quiet (for me) on Twitter because I have just felt kinda out of it. Like I don't have anything to contribute.
And that leads to anxiety. There's this odd fear... I don't know if other people (creatives or otherwise) feel this way, but I have this fear of being forgotten. If I don't tweet something witty today then you're all going to forget I exist and move on to the latest, hottest, prettiest, coolest new model of funny chai-loving pyromaniac.
I feel that way in my writing life, too. Like if I don't produce something new right the hell now, I'm going to lose what tenuous purchase I have on a publishing career and fall into the abyss.
I feel like I'm competing for your time. There's so much content! And the internet is so LOUD! I feel like I have to constantly yell louder to be heard in the din of "click here". And on top of that, you have to measure your promotion carefully. Like with the Kickstarter, I had to carefully choreograph when I made what announcements and upped my game. I felt like I had to constantly refresh things and out do myself to keep people interested.
And that's exhausting.
So yeah. It's not something I've figured out yet. At least, in my opinion. I mean, I can't see returns on sales or hits or followers and such, so there are days where I feel like I'm just shouting into a hole. I know that it's necessary. It's part of the job, and I'm sure there's a balance and rhythm to it. I just haven't found that yet.
So yeah... um... buy my books? ;)
And seriously, go check out Beth Cato, Delilah S. Dawson, Tex Thompson, Stephen Blackmoore, Kerry Schaefer, Chuck Wendig, Marsheila Rockwell, Rene Sears, AD Marrow, Michelle M Welch, Sharon Skinner, Karina Cooper... oy, okay, I could keep going. They are amazing wordsmiths and all around awesome people. If you don't buy their stuff, my stuff...just... go support some author types.