I began a blog as thought I would use it to showcase my writing and be a “portfolio” for potential clients. Subsequently, I changed my mind and thought I would post literary masterpieces that would shine of their own accord; you know what I mean, the dream blog, with an avid army of followers who hang on my every word. And then reality hit me.
Nevertheless, that is not why I am writing this. The reason I am writing is to get your opinion, especially those of you who are regular followers of my apoplectic musings (thank you for being so patient, I should add at this stage). Not being much of a social media aficionado, I have been thinking of how to promote my new book, which will be out during the summer, if all things go according to a wonderfully crafted plan which will probably mean mid- Autumn if I know my luck! The reason I have been thinking of promotion is that I read everywhere about how one should do it and tweet and pin things and so on, and it has begun to rub off on me.
Having read the great and the good (and some downright shameful), I get the distinct feeling that I am at a disadvantage in my sales pitch, in fact, I might even be at so much of a disadvantage that it is no longer merely a disadvantage, but a glaring chasm. I guess my failings on social media platforms derive from essentially being a shy person, more at home with a good book and lost in thought rather than online checking what the newest trends are in publishing and how to engage readers and sticking myself in everyone’s face whether invited to do so or not. I do not know about you, but I find the need to be online just for self-promotion a little daunting.
The question I need answering is whether my writing is actually good enough for it to be bought by people for its own merits and not because I have built up a successful social media presence. One that will coax, cajole, and maybe even brainwash potential readers to buy my book with endless messages and updates and promotion.
In fact, the whole concept of self-promotion that society has embraced as one would a long lost child, or even the prodigal one, is fraught with concerns (am I the only one concerned or are there others who think the same?).
My main concern is quite simple and I will sum it up quickly: someone who writes a good book but does not follow the herd will not get the requisite recognition; however, another author who writes a not so good book and is a master of social media will be feted as a genius. This concerns me. I know life is not fair, Mum and Dad told me so at an early age, but they also told me that if I do something to the best of my ability and have a little luck, I should do all right. Not amazingly, but just all right and I like the “all right” concept; all right is good, and certainly better than bad. Not as good as great, but then how many of us can call ourselves literary giants?
Now, I may hear some mutterings about me being arrogant (feel free to tell me if I am). Well, yes okay I admit that I am being somewhat arrogant, and I stress somewhat in this case. Others will say that it is survival of the fittest and expound Darwinian theories, for if you cannot adapt then you are but a dinosaur, and great though they were, they are dead. I get your point too.
However, spending “50%” of my time promoting my book and the balance writing and working (I still need a day job) seems to me to be the wrong way round (I cannot tell you how many articles I have read from authors who expound the idea of social media to become a “successful” author and other similar advice), not to mention impossible.
Surely, we should be concentrating on the craft, telling a story rather than telling people how good our work is going to be. I, for one, am in the “minimal social media to promote my book” camp, you may call me an idiot, naive, or whatever else comes to mind (profanity is allowed in this case) and in most cases (profanity notwithstanding) you could be right. That is just me (I reserve the right to change my opinion if enough of you convince me otherwise).
What I would really like to know is where do you stand on this issue and whether I should join the herd, now that the book is nearing completion, or should I plod along and release it and then have a social media blitz, or both, neither, something else???