These days, I spend more time than I'd like to reading other writer's blogs. For those of you keeping track, that's about 45 minutes a day. I know that may not seem like a large investment, but it's time, I could argue, that is better spent writing.
On the other hand, if I want to be part of this business, I need to get to know this business and keep up with what is going on inside it, and writer's blogs are a very good (and, as a bonus, often entertaining) way of going about this. Unfortunately, I see a trend developing--much of the discussion now is centered around marketing and self promotion. Not a bad topic, but I'd like a little variety.
Of the 'reasons for not self-promoting' that Joe Konrath puts forward, the one that resonates with me most is, I simply don't like being a salesman. I hate it, actually. But then, I'm thinking of sales in the traditional sense, and promoting your book isn't (or shouldn't be) thought of in the same way.
If you have a good book, and you believe in it, there should be nothing standing in your way of telling people you have a good book. Or a great one. I'm sure I could do this. When I was dabbling in stand-up comedy and bringing in a second income as a folk-singer, I did a fair bit of self-promotion. You have to, or you go no where. Joe is right on this.
So, if I had a great book, I don't think I would have trouble with the marketing quite so much. I think I would have no problem e-mailing, writing or looking an agent in the eye and saying, "I have a great book, you should publish this." The problem is, I don't have a great book.
I have a book. It isn't great. It is even good. And while I'm pleased that I have learned enough to know that, all the marketing in the world won't help me turn a poor book into a good book or a good book into a great book.
I'm not struggling with marketing concepts right now, I'm struggling to rewrite my novel and, I'm afraid to say, making quite a hash of it.
My goal (my initial one, anyway) is to publish a book. I'm still way down the ladder from that, however. The rung I'm trying to reach is labeled, 'Write a good book.'