Because I was constantly questioning things I saw that made no sense, and that was considered “mouthing off to the bosses.” “That doesn’t make sense–why not code it so that one process is responsible for making sure that the field contains the information or a pointer to it, rather than having several processes able to edit it? If you had one process called ‘update errorcount,’ then you can just call it when you need to update the count and you won’t have everyone changing it all the time, PLUS when you have to modify that code, it’s only one program being changed, not everybody’s code.” This always got me into hot water because everyone else didn’t wanna hear this.
But anyway, I intended to talk about promotion in the sense of publicizing your books, stories, etc.
In an earlier post, I mentioned that two of the agents I’ve talked to recently recommended that I post some of my work for free download on my website and use my LJ as a marketing tool. (They mean post the stuff they consider unsalable because of the story. The pundit novel uses a terrorist plot as a maguffin, but there’s no domestic terrorism IN it: it’s just that my heroine, who works at a cable news network, is recruited by a homeland security agent to help him find out who the mole is at the network, and they fall in love while they sleuth. The other one is _Little Rituals_, which they think is too chick-litty and which they say I should have sold five years ago. Well, I started sending it to 3@#*&% agents six years ago, but they wouldn’t send it to editors, so we missed the window!!) I think this is not such a hot idea.
Agents and editors don’t cruise blogs for fiction, IMHO. But that wasn’t what they were saying. The advice basically said that IF I PLACE IN THAT BENCHLEY CONTEST (and the organizers of same have still not announced a winner, which makes me think that they have talked to the winners and are getting a big announcement together, whereas I have not heard anything, sigh), I could get a lot of traffic to my webpage through a link from the contest announcement page. Supposedly various editors watch to see who wins that award, as they consider it legit. Theory goes that if editors surf to my page, they might read excerpts and email me asking for a query. I suppose it COULD happen.
But still, the lameness factor worries me. If you have to give it away for free, or you can’t even GIVE it away, then your work is likely to be lame–that’s most people’s thinking on the matter. (The books that are being offered by Tor and other sites, books that are out of print but were sold as “real” books on the shelves in ages past, don’t count. I’m talking about one that you never sold. People perceive it as being worth what they paid, I believe. “Couldn’t get anybody to take it, huh?”) I *might* do this, I suppose. Still considering it. The world has changed. People under thirty-five see things differently.
But I’ll never let my journal/weblog become an unreadable and obnoxious sales pitch. I swear by Athena’s owl and Mark Twain’s quill pen (*these are fairly serious oaths and I hope I am not struck by lightning for them*) that if I ever have any success, I will NEVER do what some writers do and turn every post into a drooling mess of “Look here at my latest good review, which I will type for you!” and “Look here at this award I won, and at the tributes I’m being offered!” Or even “You should buy my book, because you will LOVE it!” Such writers also email their long list of acquaintances with every little thing that happens–the book is #44555 on Amazon, the book was a finalist in the Fancy Ass Book Reviewers Pick List, it got a speeding ticket on the Appian Way to Hell, or whatever. Please!! If I wanted a hard sell, I would go over to the Ford dealership and get them to ply me with cold Diet Cokes and fancy cupcakes as they beg me to please buy something off their deserted lot. There has to be a better way.
(If you are still on my friends list, I’m not talking about you. And I am not talking about moderate, normal shoptalk. I certainly appreciate hearing about when your book comes out and how your book tour is going–but I get exasperated when an entire “posse” forms and six or eight people arrange to post, all on the same day, “Fleegle’s new book is out! Yay! It’s so wunnerful! We’re all buying it!” and then Fleegle reciprocates as soon as one of theirs comes out. I’m not talking about a simple mention that the book is available and you’re going on a book tour and are happy about it. YOU KNOW the kind of posts I am talking about. You hate those posts/emails, too!)
I think to strike a balance . . . you know, have a weblog that is entertaining and informative, so that it makes people who like your style think, “I’d like to try out one of her/his books!” . . . is the idea. If I like someone’s writing and personality on the journal/blog, I am willing to give the fiction a try. Doesn’t always mean I’ll like the fiction, but I wasn’t turned off by a hard-sell pitch approach. If you don’t like my style, then you know not to worry about trying my books. Unless you’re just plain curious, that is. That’s usually how it works, anyway.
Come on, Norther! You’re supposed to be raining now!