The puffy sleeves of publishing

I would like to be a writer who writes.

I don’t have a personal fortune, a very rich spouse, or bestselling books. Life isn’t fair.

I love the teaching and consulting, and even if one of those three miracles were to occur, I’d probably do it anyway.

What wouldn’t I do? Promote. I wouldn’t try to publicize my books, or beg people to review them, or any of those other acts of misery. I know I was pretty dumb when I first started out, cheerfully assuming that if my books were good enough they’d rise like hot air balloons. I also assumed that good reviews would cut the ballast loose. Had no idea of what I needed to do to get attention.  So even when I did get attention, I didn’t capitalize on it. I just tootled along merrily waiting to succeed.

Yes, I live in a dream world sometimes, no question about it. Of course, that is part of being a writer, isn’t it? So why are we expected to cope endlessly with reality? Seems wrong.

Babble endlessly on social media. Push everyone you know to get those reviews up on Amazon. Do panels, appearances, bookstore signings, conferences. No matter how little the return.

I’ll stick with the spouse I have, thanks. So what I need is either a personal fortune or a bestselling book.

The personal fortune never has appeared—no rich dead relatives, no buried treasure anywhere. It’s begun to seem like that particular pipe dream is leftover smoke from the 70s. That leaves the bestselling book, which, I’m told, is not possible unless I do all those things I’d rather not do.

Thing is, even when I’ve had a little extra cash from time to time, I had doubts about hiring a publicist. What if I chose someone who couldn’t do the job? Talked a good story and delivered nothing? Took my money and fled to Brazil?

I finally have a publisher who is willing to do some of the promotion, and that’s great. But there’s stuff, still, that I have to do.

And don’t want to.  Reading this, now, I see that I sound like a little kid being told to put on a dress she hates. I don’ wannoo!

So I’ll put the puffy-sleeved poochy-skirted thing on and do it.




2 Responses

  1. Years ago, at my first writers conference, a publisher told our group straight out, that if you don’t want to push your book don’t be a writer. Don’t waste her time, she said. There are many ways to push a book without appearing in public, thanks to the ‘net. A fellow author, Julie Lomoe, and I, use our characters and themes for the basis of talks – she does mental health issues; I give talks on the Salem Witch Trials, which topic is always welcome at libraries and historical societies. I also guest-blog about my topic.

  2. I think it’s great that you can do this. And the witch trials are a great topic. Sounds like you’re good at it.

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