Author, Family, Feedback, Fiction, Marketing, Novel, Promotion, Publish, Reader, Real Life, Writing

Live together, die alone!

If you were a LOST fan, you recognize the title of today’s post as the motto for survival on that mysterious island. As a writer, it often seems I exist on an island too. Looking back on this past year of blogging, I saw that I had written three posts about the need for writers to support each other.

Although members of my family offer support for my writing in other ways, they don’t beta read for me. My number of non-writer friends is small and only one of those has read or expressed any other interest my work. Fellow writers are my readers. One brave writer has even volunteered to read my novel for the third time.

I suppose it’s understandable that writers best understand the support other writers need to keep working in face of incredible odds. In a recent blog post, Michelle Davidson Argyle expressed hurt that some family and friends did not support her by reading her indie-published novella Cinders. That’s sad, but more disturbing is a fact lamented in the comments on that post. Fellow authors don’t always support each other either!

In my two years of blogging, I’ve “met” a few published authors. I’ve also become aware how important promotion is for a book’s success. Most of the authors I know online work hard to publicize their own books. This applies to traditional, small press, and indie published books alike, but especially to debut authors. Since I, too, plan to be one, I’m concerned.

Unfortunately, those authors who need the least publicity get the most from their traditional publishers, e.g.: King, Grisham, Franzen. Midlist, debut, and small-pressed authors get only a little help from their publishers. Indie authors have to do it all themselves.

Fair is fair. I can’t expect my fellow writers to support me, if I don’t support them. In 2011, I plan to make a bigger effort to seek out, read, and spread the word on debut novels—particularly those novels written by authors who’ve chosen the indie path.

No author wants to “die alone.” Can we all vow to live together?

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Fiction, Group, Links, Marketing, Opinion, Promotion, Writing

Support your fellow writers!

Not so long ago, I wrote a post where I referred to this community of writers as a tapestry. I’d like to revisit that idea in this post.  We hear a lot of talk about social networking and self-promotion in the publishing industry. Long gone are the days when a writer could simply write and leave the sale of the work to their publisher’s publicity department. Nowadays, unless your name is already a household word, publicizing your published work is mostly up to you.

So here we are, already utilizing one of the best ways we have to publicize. And this is where the tapestry comes into play. If we want the weave to be stable and durable each strand of warp and weft must be strong. Each strand must be of high-quality twist. Single fibers spun together to create a continuous yarn.

Each of us is a fiber. Social networking spins us together. But what weaves that yarn into a tapestry? I believe it’s the support we give one another. Not only by visiting and commenting on each others’ blogs, which is very important for our often fragile egos, but by going the extra mile in promoting each other in these ways:

  • When you find a blog that teaches or blesses you, add a link to it in your Blog Roll.
  • Tweet or reTweet a link to the blog posts that spoke to you.
  • Mention names and link to worthy posts in your blog posts.
  • Remember to trumpet others’ published stories or books if you enjoyed them … or even if you didn’t, but think someone else might.

When I do these things, I help to weave that tapestry. I don’t stand a chance alone against the Big Name Writers. I need your help. You need mine. Working together we each succeed. Otherwise, we might just end up an ugly pile of threads.

In the Spirit of the Tapestry, you’ll notice, over there on the right, I’ve added links to some of my new favorite bloggers: Suzanne, Kirsten, Natasha, Dayner, and Victoria. You’d do well to visit those and my Writer and Poet friends’ blogs. And if any of you on my Blog Roll would prefer being listed under a different name, let me know.

I’d also like to honor a request to promote the Nebraska Summer Writers Conference. There’s a weekend session, June 12-13 or a week long session June 13-18. There will be workshops and classes for writers of fiction, non-fiction/memoir, children’s books, and poetry. Check it out.

Do you know other ways we can help each other get our names out there?

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Author, Fiction, Novel, Publish, Writing

An old-school author

WD0809When I pulled my copy of Writer’s Digest from the mailbox yesterday, I was happy to see Anne Tyler smiling at me. In honor of her 18th novel due out in January, she granted the magazine a rare interview—but only by email. She’s an extremely private person, having not given a face to face interview since 1977. As the article states:

“Anne Tyler belongs to a disappearing generation of writers, those who came into their own in an era when it was more than enough to—well, to simply write.”

For new authors, such reclusiveness is unimaginable in today’s publishing world. Once you’ve written, edited, revised and polished your book, once you’ve signed with an agent, once your agent sells your book to a publisher—then you get to start another career. You have to market your book.

Of course, most authors have always done book signings and interviews, but in this digital age, you’re expected to also have a website, a blog, a Twitter account, do podcasts, blog tours, and anything else you can think of to promote your book. It’s up to you to write it and sell it.

All that activity, of course, does not excuse you from setting to work on your next book … and don’t think you can take three years to finish it. Authors are expected to be personalities … to entertain their fans. And if you’re not a writer, but you are a celebrity … hey, there’s probably a multi-million dollar advance check with your name already on it.

So, all you writers out there, is this self-promotion policy something you enjoy (if you’re published), look forward to (if you’re aspiring), or do you long for the days when writers could “simply write” and publishers publicized?