I’m worried. Really worried.
About how self promotion has become not only expected but required. The more the better. I recently heard a small-press publicist say their writers should invest more than their advance on promotion. Two years ago it was suggested that I start blogging, attend conferences, get involved in more online groups and online events, give talks at libraries, travel to small towns and speak, consider making a book trailer, have online contests, maybe a writing competition, join more organizations, enter my books in more contests, do a monthly newsletter, put together a mailing list, visit more bookstores. I’m sure I’ve left out a few things. The argument for all of this is that publishers have no idea if any of it helps, but it certainly can’t hurt.
The few who agree with me about the futility of self promotion usually say it takes away from a writer’s writing time.
That wasn't my problem.
It took away my leisure time. I’m exhausted, and I’m afraid it’s going to take me a very long time to recover.
It wouldn’t be so bad if my efforts had mattered, but we are all just kids at our individual Kool-Aid stands, holding up our signs, begging people to stop and buy. And on every corner is another Kool-Aid stand serving up another version of cherry-flavored anxiety.
Our family and neighbors shuffle over. But mainly we just stand around and drink our own stuff and go check out the other stands to see what flavors they’re selling that day. And while we stand there delivery trucks go by taking Kool-Aid to stores all over the country.
The national decline in reading isn’t our fault, and we can’t fix the problem by opening a Kool-Aid stand.
I’m giving myself permission to write. Just write. And maybe enjoy life a little bit while I’m at it.