Wednesday, April 27, 2016

What it Means to Live as a Fiction Writer

I'm a member of a writer's group called BookPod. This week, one of our members, Yi Shun Lai, was featured on an episode of Joy Sandwich, publicizing her book, Not a Self-Help Book, soon to be released. I listened to the podcast. Very chatty, and great fun. Good to see another writer I know so well succeed. The aftermath of the podcast included  a discussion among BookPod members about marketing of books.

Marketing... the bane of every writer. Before I started writing fiction, I knew writers were a tad schizo. All those voices inside my head, screaming "Write ME!" But after nearly three years of 'authoring' I find we're also bi-polar: writing is so quiet and solitary, then marketing is so noisy and messy. Argghhh.

When I got started, I had a publicist who worked her tail off to get me known. It worked. Then I moved to a marketeer, one who knows exactly where to place ads, at just the right time to trigger maximum sales. And that's what surprised me. Having Rebecca Berus of 2 Market Books changed everything for me. Now, all I do is write fiction, write blog entries, and, on the promo days, send out messages to my email list, Twitter and Facebook. I'm active on Facebook and Twitter, dropping links to news about computer hacking, politics, technology and... my own books and how those topics relate to my fiction. Busy days, every one of them. As an older (gonna be 69 in three weeks), thoroughly used-up former spy, I thought retirement would be three rounds of golf every week. Nope, it's fifty hour weeks. Twenty-five hours of fiction writing, five hours of research on medicine, computer hacking and programming, politics and facts about locations I'll have to visit so I can 'vibe' them into my stories, fifteen hours of editing what I've written and what my critique partners have written, and five hours of social media.
As song writer Joe Ely says in one of his songs, "The road goes on forever and the party never ends." So, there are lessons to be learned, yes, but the half-life of their applicability to whatever you do is very limited. On the Internet, no one knows you aren't a dog. On the Internet, things are simple. In a writer's reality, we're all dogs sometimes, and other things at other times. In reality, writing is never simple. It's why no one knows when they've achieved success. There's always another obstacle to mount after this one is conquered. 
Who knew becoming a writer could be such great fun? (Then again, maybe I'm just a masochist...)

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