This post is a bit out of character.
It’s going to be just a little bitchy, a little whiny, and a little lame.
So, as you probably know, I’m a writer. I write. Specifically, I write fiction. But apparently I’m not supposed to blog about writing, just as I’m not supposed to blog about my product. (This is according to some so-called experts in the field. I’m not disputing what any one person has said, blogged or written about, because I’ve read several articles this past week that basically make that same point.)
Now, I already knew this. I made a comment in a post that I wrote a while back that I didn’t intend to blog about the so-called writing method. For the most part, I’ve kept that promise.
I figured what I would do instead is just WRITE. That’s why I do a serial fiction series installment every week. That’s why I support other indie authors and buy their books. That’s why I pour my heart and soul into my WIP every single day.
I have to blog about my product…isn’t that THE POINT?
But the consensus seems to be that people don’t want you to blog about that.
Well…what the hell am I supposed to blog about?
Well you see, they tell you, your readers want to read about *you*, not your work. They want witty, entertaining blog posts about your dog, your dinner, your sexual orientation. They want your opinions on the latest “Twilight” film, on where to go hiking in Nantucket, and how you raise your epileptic teenager. If they like you, based on all of this Non-writing crap that you spew forth on a regular basis, then they’ll buy your book.
Well, frankly, that kind of sucks.
Now don’t get me wrong — I totally understand. In today’s social networking megolith, we don’t want to have things sold to us, but we want to be “friends”. We want people to woo us with their wit and charm, and if they make us feel happy then we’ll buy something from them…so, really, they ARE just selling us something, but we’re happy because we don’t ACT like they’re selling us something.
Somehow, by spilling our social networking into our sales, we’ve convinced ourselves it isn’t sales anymore.
Huh? It may not taste or smell like sales, folks, but it’s STILL sales!
This is all very exhausting for me. I’m trying to pull it off, but I have one major problem: I’m not very interesting.
Seriously. I’m an accountant for a role-playing game company, for Christ’s sake! I have two medically challenged children. (I try not to talk about them too much because, frankly, I don’t want people to think I’m playing the sympathy card.) I walk 4 miles as part of my daily commute. I like most sequels better than the first (film, book, whatever). I’m either manic-depressive or just incredibly moody, I’m not sure which. I like to dance. I worship Wile E. Coyote.
Who. CARES. Seriously, do you give a shit about any of this?
Because what I care about is the fact that I have poured my heart, soul and lifeblood into writing a book. It’s AWESOME. I have never written anything this good before, and it’s going to be a hell of a challenge to write anything this good again. I am not, by nature, a boastful person…ok, hell, I’m scared to hell of ANY sort of social situation..so when I tell you how amazing I think my own book is, you should believe me. (Or at least believe that I believe it.)
But do you really need to know that I still cry about my Dad’s death every once in a while for you to want to buy my book? Is it really important for you to know that I speak German to be convinced that ”Blood Skies” is the most exciting thing you’ll read this year? When did this happen, that a body of work is no longer able to speak for itself, when we have to cajole and convince and schmooze in order to convince you to look at something that, when taken on it’s own merit, will absolutely blow you away?
I understand. I do. A consumer only has so much money to spend, and there’s a lot of stuff to buy out there. A lot of it is crap. You don’t want to waste your money, and you don’t want to waste your time. You want to buy something from somebody you trust, and in order to trust them, you need to know them. I get it.
Well…I sort of get it. I met two of my closest online friends because I thought their work looked cool, and I got to know them after I checked it out. Turns out they were as cool as their work. Will it always work like that? No. But dammit, I wish more people would take a chance sometimes.
So does a social introvert like me, who on the best of days doesn’t like to talk about himself at ALL, who would rather speak through the quality of his work rather than bullshit you into thinking he’s a terribly interesting guy, even stand a chance?
To set the record straight: I don’t think the way that social marketing works is wrong. Frankly, I’m just afraid that I really suck at it. That, of course, raises the question “Well, if you have so much trouble with the social media networking thing, Steve, why the hell are you doing this in the first place?”.
And that, my friends, is the real question, but the answer is pretty easy: I “do this” because I write.
I prefer not to get too much social marketing in my writing. I prefer to let my work speak for itself. If I comment on your tweets or your blog, if we chat online, or if I’ve subscribed to your feed and I follow you, guess what? It isn’t because I’m looking for a handout, or because I think it would build good PR for my site. It isn’t because a social networking guru said I should.
It’s because I actually think you’re interesting. If I bought your book, it’s probably because I thought it looked cool. Weird, I know, but that’s just the way I am.