Self-Promotion Hell

on August 5, 2013 in Misc

You pretty much know that this is my last year for writing.  In fact all I’m doing this year is editing and polishing two manuscripts.  At the rate I’m going the publishing process will stretch into the beginning of next year.  Drats.  But once I get them into print I shall declare myself FREE of the literary disease.  Unless the bestseller fairy comes along and whacks my books with her wand, but we know what the odds are for that ever happening.

Anyway, there’s an article by writer Sean Beaudoin in Salon that makes me feel relieved about getting off the publishing treadmill.  It’s wisely titled Hell is self-promotion

OMG, I can so relate to the painful stuff Beaudoin talks about, and I don’t even do a fraction of the social networking and marketing he subjects himself to.  Also unlike me, Beaudoin is traditionally published by a major company, Little, Brown Books for Young Readers.  Yet he still has to go out and spend so much time flogging his books that, as he says: “If I could have back every minute I’ve spent on social media and apply it to churning out actual prose, I would probably have finished at least one bestselling swords-and-incest fantasy trilogy instead. Maybe even two.”

And then there’s this: “The great white hope of writing is to reach the point where you no longer have to pimp yourself at all, where you tap into a weird alchemy in which you suddenly have enough name recognition and sales that word-of-mouth and momentum do all the work for you.”

Of course my problem is (and I have so many problems) that I really don’t promote myself or market my books.  I am not only the all-time worst author when it comes to marketing, but when I even think about self-promotion I want to run away from my own brain.  I mean, I write LONG novels that wear me out, and I have the nasty habit of stuffing them full of history.  My two current manuscripts, Charity MacCay and the Almighty Dollar and Charity MacCay and Holy Relations are set in America of 1867-1869, and they required so much back-breaking research that the very idea of now turning myself into a whirligig of advertising just makes me want to… Well, give up.

That said, I cannot express how much I admire the way so many of you write your novels, get them out there by traditional or indie publishing, network and promote your books and other writers’ books, and make gobs of online friends and readers.  Really truly, you are all gifted in more ways than you know.  More power and success to you.

Me, I may start a blog called The Fun Wild Stuff I Have Time to Do Now ‘Cause I Gave Up Writing.

15 Responses to “Self-Promotion Hell”

  1. It is a ton of work! I’m with you on that. One last book for me and then I’ll probably join you in that writer-free lifestyle.

  2. Helena says:

    Alex – You’ll have time to be a full-time Ninja!

  3. Hart Johnson says:

    It’s not a lot of fun. I wish you WOULD, though I know you hate it, but you have SO MUCH TALENT i really want for you to get that bestseller thing going so you continue writing books!

  4. Helena says:

    Hart – You’re so sweet. Maybe after my books are all in print I’ll come up with an easy-peasy but brilliant promotion scheme. (Gad, but we writers can live in a dream world!)

  5. Gina says:

    Self promotion is really hard work.

  6. Helena says:

    Gina – Sounds like you know personally, too.

  7. Marketing and self-promotion is much harder than writing and editing. I’m not geared for the social scene, and I usually feel like a fish flopping on the beach. I wish you all the best and a little bestseller magic dust to sprinkle around.

  8. Helena says:

    Carol – Those ARE tougher, aren’t they? Ironically, you and Under the Tiki Hut always struck me as being so naturally friendly, I had no idea you’re not geared to the social scene.

  9. I don’t think I do much self-promotion. I just blog when I feel like it. Right now, I don’t feel like it at all. And I don’t think my blog has sold many books. My writing that I post on a well-trafficked website (one chapter at a time/serialized) is what sells my books.

    The noise online is vast. I think that may be the most discouraging me for me. The fact that there are so many people raising their hands to the point that really, the hard work that I feel that I do is literally one grain of sand on an entire beach because everyone else is doing the same thing.

    I’ve also become distracted with the stock market. I’ve been investing a lot since June and have made roughly 10%. Because it’s been so profitable, I’ve been throwing most of my creative energy into actual investing because it may turn out to be a way I can secure financial freedom. “Artistic” freedom can sit on the back burner.

    I wish you luck. If you need any investment advice, hit me up. I have learned a vast amount of things since I started.

  10. Helena says:

    Michael – You’re so right about the noise online, and the article I listed talks about it too. As for the stock market – if you know what you’re doing you are so smart to invest. I wish so much that I had bought Starbucks, Ulta, and a couple other stocks a year ago when I looked into them. I didn’t have much to invest at all, but even a few hundred dollars would have gone up at least 40% by now. 10% in one to two months for you is excellent, and if you keep that up you definitely know what you’re doing. I may indeed hit you up for some advice.

  11. I’m glad you like the Tiki Hut. In real life, I’m friendly up to a point. Husband is gregarious, and I’ve learned much from him. I work hard to make the Tiki Hut a friendly place, but as the place has grown, it’s become easier. It’s much easier to operate an easy-going Tiki Hut than it is to push my own books.

  12. Old Kitty says:

    I too am in awe at all you writers promoting away! I can barely keep up with one blog! LOL! I cringe by proxy when I read of authors doing literary festivals getting up in front of audiences and reading out loud from their books and then doing Q&A…oh wow! I can’t do all that! So I doff my cap to all of you!

    Lovely Helena!! All the best getting your novels out there!!! If I could I’d kidnap the publicity fairy for you! :-) Take care
    x

  13. Helena says:

    Old Kitty – That dang publicity fairy is so hard to catch! And she’s such a slippery little bugger.

  14. Take a break, definitely, but don’t give up on your passion. Write some short stories or poems — keep your creative spark alive. Don’t let the pressures of promotion bog you down.

  15. Helena says:

    Milo – Right now, it’s an effort for me to get passionate just about the two manuscripts I’m editing. So maybe my creative spark should go dormant afterwards, at least for a long time. You, on the other hand, have a real gift with short stories and scifi — I really am impressed.