Are You Too Scared to Sell Yourself?
The illustration below is by the renowned and redoubtable Victor Juhasz. It expresses exactly the way I feel when a book is done and it’s time to get out and sell it.
For the past few months I’ve been working full-time promoting my just-published novel, A Man at Arms, and I have to tell you … I am waaaay out of my comfort zone. No doubt you guys yourselves are a little pissed-off at me for the various promo e-mails and pop-ups you’ve seen on this blog and in your Inbox, not to mention Instagram, Facebook, YouTube, podcasts, and everything else I can think of.
Here’s how I feel about it. I don’t see it as selfish (though no doubt there are self-interested elements in there.) For me, it’s about fidelity to the book and, especially, to the characters.
There is no worse feeling for a writer or any artist than to see their book, their film, their comedy, their music go out there and die. Or worse, go out into the world and nobody even knows they exist. I’ve experienced it more than once and it’s heartbreaking.
So I’m promoting A Man at Arms. I want its lead character, the solitary mercenary of the ancient world, Telamon of Arcadia, to have his day in the sun. I want the little girl Ruth to get her moment to shine. If readers don’t respond, so be it. I did the best I could. These characters did the best they could.
But what is unforgivable for me as their champion is to let them sink beneath the waves with no one even knowing that they stood up and acted.
So I’m promoting A Man at Arms.
It’s not my natural way. The enterprise is decidedly not in my wheelhouse. But Resistance works its destruction at marketing time too, just as it does in the writing itself.
I can’t yield to its sabotage of me and of the characters who have come out of me.
So I apologize, you guys, if I’m flogging my stuff to you too blatantly.
But this is the game today. I have to embrace it for my stuff and you do for yours.
We can’t let ourselves be too scared to sell ourselves.