An interesting thing (interesting to me at least) is going on with me at the moment; actually it’s been building for years. I have a new novel out, and this is the time I should drop everything and promote the hell out of my new book to give it a good launch. That’s what I’ve done in years past with other books. Yet, I’m spending very little time on promotion, and this is a trend that’s been going on with me for some time now.
On my morning walk today, I thought about why I spend less and less time marketing my books. I’m fortunate that I don’t rely on royalties to put food on the table, so my motivation for wanting books sales is so that hoards of people will read and enjoy my work, and also I want my publisher to get a good return on their investment in me.
As for me, I see two sides to writing. The first side I call joy, and it has to do with sitting my butt in a chair every day and challenging my creativity to explore plots and characters and themes, and tie them all together into something meaningful. It’s a process of opening up to the universe for imagination, and then recording those images using the skill I’ve developed as a writer. When I do that to the best of my ability, it brings about a feeling of joy that has no equal in my modest life.
The second side of writing I call drama, that part rears its head once one becomes a published writer trying to increase your readership. To do this, one needs to become embroiled in the drama of being a writer—developing a mindset that says, “Look what I’ve done. Read my work because I have something to say you want to read.” Early on, and like many other writers I’ve met, I was more concerned with developing my image as a published writer than I was about the product I was creating. That drama of being/becoming something—a writer of quality books—took over my life and bloated my ego out of all reasonable proportion.
So a few years back, I began to realize that this drama I was caught up in was something stealing my focus, time and energy away from the joy of writing, and entangling me in a trap of my ego. Since at realization, I’ve purposely downplayed my role as a writer, and try to spend more time alone, writing.
These days the only drama I want is on the written page.
Yes, my sales have suffered, and for that I must apologize to my publisher, but my life continues to grow more fulfilling, and I believe my stories have become more satisfying, too, not only to me, but to my readers as well.