Posts Tagged ‘promotion’

Written by:
Wendi Friend

Forgive what I’m about to say, but writers, particularly those who are on the up-climb in their career, can be some of the most arrogant, selfish, and self-centered people to be encountered. This does not apply to each and every person who writes, – but far and wide there’s a frustrating sense of “all about me” syndrome sweeping the field of writing. This is not to say that writers are bad people, or that they don’t deserve credit and reward for their hard work. But escalating success does not warrant a bad attitude or lack of appreciation for those who supported them along the way. The sad part is that most of the time, these people don’t even realize how they’re coming across to others! In fact, the energy they’re exerting is anything but arrogance in most cases, but rather an over-abundance of self promoting, which is a must if one is to get their work noticed! Writers get so caught up in self promotion that they forget to pay attention to anything besides their own portfolio! One thing to keep in mind is the transition from aspiring writer to self-focused professional is not an instant transition. Instead, it’s a slow progression based on what aspiring writers are taught!

New writers, for the most part, care about getting published, yes. More importantly, they’re consumed with what’s being written. There’s a unique, unbridled passion that takes place in which the writer forgets about his or herself, delving completely into the world of the storyline they’re creating. When writing begins, it doesn’t begin with an overwhelming need to see a byline. In fact, many writers will attest that they began writing in early childhood, as a need – a need as important as breath! Writing is a way for them to escape a reality in which they have no control, and create other dimensions in which peace is found internally. The writing, in and of itself, is the dream. As we age, completing a major writing project becomes the goal. However, once the masterpiece has been created, the writer steps into another world– the desire to have their work read by others! Somewhere between the phases of passionate writer to published author, something changes inside; but why?

I blame the internet, personally. Prior to the World Wide Web, writers didn’t often communicate with each other, unless attending specific functions designed for writers to meet and greet each other such as workshops, book signings, promotional events, and the like. But with instant access to thousands of on and offline publications, the number of writers dramatically increased, making the field that much more difficult to enter. The submission process became, in large part, electronic, saving writers both time, and materials such as envelopes and postage. On the same token, writers learned that there’s an easy way to avoid rejection, getting their work into print virtually immediately. I’m talking about self or co-op publishing. While self publishing has existed for many years, it was not nearly as popular as it has become with online advertising. Now, anybody can be an instant author, if they can afford it. One can even choose to use a source as inappropriate as CafePress.com to create and sell their own print on demand books in the event they can’t afford to self publish in mass quantity.

But the real problem with writers converting to self-consumed publicists is writing groups and communities. There are thousands upon thousands of online communities, websites, and resources for writers to engage with other writers. Amidst these groups, advice surfaces by the sewer-full from writers of every caliber. Of the advice given, the most popular is: promote, promote, promote! Even big house publishers don’t offer much in the way of promotion, so a writer’s success depends solely on how much effort they are willing to put in themselves! Thus begins the metamorphoses causing people to lose themselves (and often times, friends and respect) to their own desire to succeed.

We start by joining as many writing groups as we possibly can – because networking with other writers seems to be the best way to build a “following”. We join a group and introduce ourselves by kindly commenting on the work of others, befriending many. We do this until in turn, writers (often out of obligation or their own self promotion) return the service. The more responses to an article or poem a writer receives – the more replies the writer hungers. As people discover there’s talent in the work, and more responses come, the writer slowly regresses in the amount of reading and responding they do to the work of others. Before long, the writer is no longer showing support to anyone at all, but greedily seeking out more favor for their own work. The writer builds their own website, creates their own message boards, develops their own self-promoting newsletters, and thus the transformation becomes complete.

For a while, while the fan base is new, the support is plenty and encouraging. But eventually, those visiting the writer’s site, subscribing to their newsletter, and commenting on their work, get sick and tired of hearing all about that one writer and their endeavors. In some cases, just watching the writer self promote can be exhausting! What’s worse is that by this time, the writer no longer takes the time to show support to anyone else. They become far too busy to visit anyone’s website but their own, or subscribe to anyone’s newsletter but their own, or join any group outside of the ones they’ve created!

Writers aren’t bad people. In most cases, writers who advance far enough to warrant such self promotion do produce high quality material worthy of being read. Unfortunately, by the time the writer’s next work is released, people are sick and tired of the name and the self love. People begin to realize that a writer is not returning the support, and the support stops. Sadly, the writer may never see the damage in their own actions.

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