In today’s Journal
* Quotes of the Day
* One Writer Disagrees re Marketing
* The Passing of an Era
* Of Interest
Quotes of the Day
“Starting a novel for me is always fun. The key is to not care, and I do mean that exactly as it sounds. If I allowed myself to care in the slightest, made writing the novel some major thing that I had to pick carefully on, I would freeze down and never write a word.” Dean Wesley Smith
“The great fun in my life has been getting up every morning and rushing to the typewriter because some new idea has hit me. The feeling I have every day is very much the same as it was when I was 12.” Ray Bradbury
“I have what I call ‘the theater of morning’ inside my head. And all these voices talk and when they come up with a good metaphor, then I jump out of bed and run and trap them before they’re gone.” Ray Bradbury
One Writer Disagrees re Marketing
as do several others probably. And that’s fine. With one short story collection published, he believes writing the next book is more important than actively marketing.
From a writing perspective, of course, he’s right. But from a writing-business perspective, he’s as wrong as I’ve been all these years. The difference is, he has me forewarning him that simply writing the next book as your primary means of marketing is a fool’s errand. He needs to start collecting emails of potential readers NOW.
But whatever he chooses to do is fine. He, and of course, all of you, are free to conduct your business as a writer in whatever way you see fit.
I can only pass along my own experiences. You may use them to cut your own learning curve or you may ignore them. Completely up to you.
But I personally consider “the best marketing or promotion is writing the next book” as just another myth. It’s not only misleading, but it can actually harm your career as a writer.
My own (albeit unintentional) mentor told me repeatedly the best marketing is to write the next book. That once you get 10 or so novels out there, things would begin to take off, readers would discover your work, etc. etc. etc. ad nauseam.
And yes, something in the back of my mind said he has people who do his marketing for him, and that since I can’t afford that I need to do some on my own, but I pushed it down. I just wanted to write and tell stories.
I’m an old guy. I don’t like this world in which everyone expects everyone to lie to them, in which everyone mistrusts everyone else until they prove they can be trusted, which of course nobody can do.
I’m from a friendlier, less-suspicious time when the norm is to trust someone until they give you a reason not to, and most people of that time were trustworthy. As a result, when I trust I go all-in. Stupid me.
(On the other hand, I never expect or ask anyone to blindly trust me. I lay it out and suggest you try it for yourself. But very few will even go that far. I suppose they assume if they try something on their own, somehow I’ll benefit. Not only will I not benefit, I won’t know or care.)
Because I, like a complete and utter moron, clung doggedly to the nonsensical dictum that the best promotion is to write the next book, I didn’t bother to collect names, emails, etc. like all the marketing gurus say you should.
And today, with almost 80 novels and novellas and well over 200 short stories in 30+ collections, I’m telling you point blank that simply writing the next book did not work For Me. Learning to design covers and write sales copy didn’t work either. Your results may vary. I hope they do. Or maybe you can afford employees to do the dirty work for you.
One way or another, I suggest you do what I did not do. Begin compiling an email list. That is at the top of every marketing advice to-do list out there.
But again, you do what you want.
The Passing of an Era
Not specifically to do with writing, but an account of one more bit of the erosion of my segment of American culture. Actually, the era passed long ago. Today there are fewer and fewer radio stations where fans of true country-western music can hear the “oldies.”
For several years in Benson Arizona, just such a station existed. Complete with dick jockeys and hokey, home-made advertisements for local businesses. The station played a mixture of older country music (all the way back to before I was born) as well as the newer artists.
Recently, the owner passed away.
Whomever had the power to do so sold the station almost immediately, and of course, the new owner changed the format. Now for the First Time Ever we can hear exactly the same identical programmed crap on the local station that we hear on every other “country” station nationwide.
This is called “progress.” Eh, slap a coat of plastic on it and call it new and innovative.
Come to think of it, this is exactly what writers who are mired in the myths do: revise, seek critical input, rewrite, and polish until their novel sounds exactly like all the other novels in that genre at that time.
Unique. Original. Um, NOT.
Listen, I might be off here for a day or two. I have a story to tell. You guys talk amongst yourselves.
Talk with you again soon.
See “The Making of The Silent Count…” at https://www.thepassivevoice.com/the-making-of-the-silent-count-or-how-i-learned-to-stop-worrying-and-love-the-bomb/.
The Journal…………………………………… 940 words
Writing of WCG 7 Santa Fe 2 (novel tentative title)
Day 1…… 2190 words. Total words to date…… 2190
Day 2…… 3049 words. Total words to date…… 5239
Day 3…… 2588 words. Total words to date…… 7827
Total fiction words for December……… 24241
Total fiction words for the year………… 239215
Total nonfiction words for December… 10230
Total nonfiction words for the year…… 208310
Total words for the year (fiction and this blog)…… 447525
Calendar Year 2022 Novels to Date…………………… 4
Calendar Year 2022 Novellas to Date……………… 0
Calendar Year 2022 Short Stories to Date… 0
Novels (since Oct 19, 2014)…………………………………… 70
Novellas (since Nov 1, 2015)………………………………… 8
Short stories (since Apr 15, 2014)………………… 217
Short story collections……………………………………………… 31
Disclaimer: I am a prolific professional fiction writer. Because It Makes Sense, I trust my characters to tell the story that they, not I, are living. This greatly increases my productivity and provides the fastest possible ascension along the learning curve of Craft because I get a great deal more practice at actually writing. It will do the same for you if only you trust it.