This has been a productive summer for me. I used to wonder if the writing would get easier, and now I have an answer. For me, yes, it has. I’m much more relaxed about this business than I used to be.
Part of that is I don’t spend a lot of time out on all the lists, and groups. Maybe I should, I don’t know. Trying to do the personal appearances took a chunk out of precious writing time, so I think it’s a necessity that I limit time spent on the Internet. Does that hurt sales? I don’t think so. I believe that the best promotion is the best book you can write.
When I was first starting out, the prevailing wisdom said you had to promo at the review sites in their “live” chat rooms. I did it. Some review sites bragged of having hundreds of people show up for a chat. When I wasn’t headlining those events, I went as myself, not the author, and I never encountered more than twenty-three people at a “live” chat, even when some rather big-name, New York authors were there.
The prevailing wisdom said, “You must have contests.” So I did. I got to know those people who haunt the lists waiting for a contest. I don’t bother much with contests, these days. T-shirts, bookmarks, promo cd’s – all the little klitchy things. I did them all.
And nothing – absolutely nothing – makes any difference if you don’t have a good book.
If I have just one shot at giving any advice to a new writer, or an old one, for that matter, I make it this: Forget everything that fills up your hours with counterproductive activities, and learn, learn, learn all you can to make your writing better.
And a better story leads to greater personal satisfaction, and that, my friends, is the hokey-pokey of this business. That’s what it’s all about.