Sunday, July 10, 2011

I Quit

I’ve had enough fun with the "zero-selling book" shtick, and I’ve had a bit of a think about this whole self-promotion business; now it’s time to get back to work.  At the end of the day, it’s all about the words.
Self publishing is an amazement, a miracle that allows writers to get their work in front of an audience.
Self-promotion is another thing altogether.  To many, it is a chance to shine, to gather an adoring audience, to reap the rewards of their hard work.  To me, however, it is a frustrating time-suck, a con, and something I am coming to believe I am better off without.
But (I hear you exclaim) a self-published writer must self-promote.  No one is going to find your book by accident.  True.  But there are a few facts of life that need to be taken into account when it comes to me and self-promotion: when I say I suck at it, I don’t simply mean I don’t like to do it, or that I am not very good at it, I mean I am genetically unable to do it; you may as well ask me to write a thesis on quark physics, I’ll have just as much of a chance of pulling it off.  And this is not something I am just discovering.
Consider this:
  • Back when I was a PC manager, my boss asked me to evaluate new software and I wrote a memo to him (I still have a copy) that says there is no future in MS Windows.
  • I went with 8-track tapes
  • I bought a Betamax
In short, I am rubbish at making business decisions or prognostications, and have no imagination when it comes to exploiting new technology.  I’m also a writer, which means I am not naturally a pushy person.  If you see me at a party, you’ll likely find me sitting by myself in the corner with a drink in my hand, observing.  This leads most people to assume I’m shy or, perhaps, someone with “special needs” but I’m just a writer, doing what writer’s do.
The On-Line Marketing Game is also becoming more frenetic.  When my first book was published, I had the blog, and my followers, and I was encouraged to send my book to reviewers.  I was able to do these things, but it took about all my time and pushed me to my marketing limits.
Now, however, social networking is The Thing, and I MUST be a gadabout on Twitter and Facebook if I hope to have a chance in hell of selling a book.  But Twitter intimidates me and my Facebook friends are, well, my friends, not a marketing opportunity.  And I cannot tweet every hour, on the hour, day in, day out, about my book.  This is what people seem to think you have to do to get noticed (and they not only think it, they do it, and it is highly annoying), so what am I do to in the face of this onslaught, post every 45 minutes?  (I’ve had a look: my balls are neither that large nor made of brass, so this is not something I would even consider.)
Besides, every single person following me on Twitter is trying to sell me something.  So they aren’t exactly a great target audience, either.
And now, as I struggle to get a handle on the basics of social networking, along comes TweetDeck, and ChimpLst, and Google Reader, and HootSuite, and Google+, and TweetSprout, and Social Media Examiner, and there are simply not enough hours in the day to keep up with these things.  And if I read an article on using Social Media to pimp your book, I get advice like “embed a retweet button in a free chapter of your book” and I don’t even know what the fuck that means.
And throughout all of this, the only constant is that fact that I am not getting any writing done.  Not a bit.  All my time, effort, energy and the will to live is being sucked away by futile attempts to conquer Social Networking.
So enough is enough; I quit.  Social Networking: 1, Me: 0.
This doesn’t mean I am giving up.  Quite the opposite; I am going back to what this is all about—the writing.  After all, this blog isn’t called “The Life of Social Marketing.”

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