Sunday, October 13, 2013

A Writer's Prosaic Drive By

Samuel Murphy

Personally, I believe that the experts finally got something right: As difficult and exhausting as writing can be, nothing compares to the challenges and sheer misery of marketing one's self.

Just the huge numbers of electronic avenues make this experience quite daunting. (I run into that word quite often when I discuss trying to sell one's work). And as many of us have come to realize, it's not just the sheer numbers of Internet sites, it's the TIME you need to spend on them to make yourself credible. That's the REAL killer. I'll spend at minimum, an hour agonizing over THIS composition.

And so we Google, “How do I promote my new book?” Up comes millions of sites with easy sounding names, like “How to Sell a Million Books With One Click of a Button,” or “Make sure you become a member of the following 438 sites you can post on to make your book a bestseller,” and “Here’s a complete list of book bloggers that will review your book and make you wildly successful.”

Of course, The “One Click of a Button” leads you to websites that are impossible to navigate and probably useless, but for the sake of just one sale, for the next day or two down the rabbit hole you go. The 438 sites? Let’s just politely say that it’s not that they are not interested in your life; they are just interested in theirs a little more. And then there’s the bloggers who will review your books - for only $29.99, but it will take about 3 months, and they have so many restrictions, and they always seem to be yelling at you, but that’s OK because most of them no longer exist or let you know that they are not accepting new submissions until the summer of 2015.

So here you are, all excited and duly proud of yourself for having completed something that you devoted weeks, months, even years to and you can't even get your sister to buy one and give it a five star rating. You should be having this HUGE celebration with all your friends. Instead, you're fumbling around like a teenager in the back seat of your old man's Chevy, trying to add some kind of Pin to a Board on a site that you REALLY don't care about, and then Googling one inactive “Will review your book for free” site after another.  And it's TWO O'CLOCK IN THE DAMN MORNING!

But you've checked your numbers and you're 697,364 in Amazon's Best Seller Rank. So you text and you tweet. You create a fan page. You blog. You Skype. You Pin, and you Tumble. You contact every "friend" you have, and have them contact every friend they have, and every friend they have, and so on down the line. "Yes," they say, "I'll get me a copy of that new book you just published. I'm gonna read it, rate it, and give it a whole passel of stars." Two days later and now you're at 798,621.

And so you text and tweet some more looking for support and ideas. But as much advice as I get; I write. I consider myself a writer. Maybe not a very lucid one, but a writer nonetheless. I have stories inside of me. Having them stay there while I attend to other business only makes them fester and this will ultimately lead to some really bad juju.

By nature I am not a tweeter or a texter, a Pinner, or Tumbler. I don't try to StumbleOnto anything. Don't much care for Skyping, and I secretly hate all of my "friends" on Facebook.

And so here I sit, trying to promote my book on one more site, and it's now 3 o'clock in the damn morning. I just keep repeating to myself, "I'm a writer..., this will work..., I'm a writer, this will work..., I'm a writer…

I guess you can consider this some kind of prosaic drive by. I don’t know about you, but for once, I feel better.


Samuel Murphy
Meet him on Twitter: @swmurf


  1. Samuel, thanks for your contribution ! I'm sure many readers can sympathize and understand!

  2. The list of social media a writer HAS to keep up with just to sell a few books ... it's daunting.