The Life of a Novelist

A workmate of mine who I haven’t seen in years (when I worked a traditional job), contacted me the other day because he’s writing a novel and is looking for some direction. He asked me a bunch of questions that I did my best to answer, questions about grammar, editing, literary agents, and getting published. As I typed away, I realized that not one of his questions concerned marketing or promotion. This led me to believe that many aspiring writers—through no fault of their own—have no idea what the life of a novelist is like. 

There was a time many years ago when a novelist did three things: They wrote. They read. They participated in book signings. But in this day and age, an age of e-books, the Internet, and self-publishing, writers spend more time marketing themselves than actually writing. Unless you’re a well-known author with an established following like Stephen King, Michael Connelly, or Patricia Cornwell, promoting yourself may actually be more important than what you’re promoting. In other words, the sizzle is more important than the steak. Buzz is everything and buzz sells books. 

Over the last couple of years, I’ve learned a great deal about the complicated world of writing. Although I have a long, long way to go before I could even begin to think of myself as a successful writer, each and every day I must manage my blog/web site and frequently add new posts. I have to maintain a presence at many of the popular writers’ blogs. And perhaps most important, I must be visible on Facebook and Twitter and  network as much as I can. I have to promote my book(s) and myself every-single-day. 

To be honest, I’m not really fond of marketing and promoting myself. I wish that all that was necessary to become a successful writer was to write. But that is not the way of the world; at least not in the year 2011. So, even though it pains me and gobbles up more of my day than it should, the new world of writing holds me hostage. 

By the way, have you heard about my second novel, Resuscitation? It’s a must read for all thriller lovers. It’s available later this year. Oops! Did I just self-promote?

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