I’m going to touch on something that I’ve discussed briefly before but which I think is worth reheating into its own post. Here are the best selling books in the US from 1912, which is (for those of you for whom math is not a strong suit) 100 years ago.
Archive for the ‘Advice for New Writers’ Category
One of the first published novelists I got to know told me that it was really awkward to be friends with a writer whose stuff you don’t like.
Buying into a personal mythology of hierarchical status can harm your career. It’s one thing to expect respect for your work and experience. It’s quite another to expect demonstrations of your status or to make pronouncements like “I will not attend any conventions at which I am not a guest of honor.”
We do need, not more, but a deeper relationship with what we have. Not knowledge, or not just knowledge, but understanding. That’s what writers give us.
A good story should always be raising questions — not asking them directly, but instead forcing the reader to ask them. “Wait, what’s that weird symbol they keep seeing on the walls? What was that sound? Something’s up with that top hat-wearing fox that keeps following them, too.
If you do set up an event at a store, it may sound obvious, but an author promoting their event on their own Facebook and twitter helps out a lot. We have our own ways to publicize an event to our customers, and we have our events listed in the newspaper weekly, but the more an author can say, “I’m going to be in this city, on this day,” the better our event turnout is going to be.
Let’s talk about self-promotion and how it feels icky.
Yes, self-promotion is awkward to do the first time. Yes, it is very easy to do badly. But–it is incredibly important to your career. Someone asked, “Isn’t it enough to write a good story?”
When I told people at ConCarolinas that I’d gone from writing 2k to 10k per day, I got a huge response. Everyone wanted to know how I’d done it, and I finally got so sick of telling the same story over and over again that I decided to write it down here.
Today, when the dominant form of communication is email, it’s easy to go through your publicity campaign without ever hearing your publicist’s voice. This would be a mistake.
So let’s get back to that whole laughing at work-for-hire authors or trashing popular books or not understanding what a saleable novel is.