When I walked into the Borders the other day I was immediately met by an author promoting his book.
The table was close to the front door, and he was standing up, engaging people when they walked in. I sidestepped as he caught someone else with his well rehearsed spiel – telling them what sort of book it was (using various examples of other things they might already know) and trying to hook them. He smiled as he talked, and found a way to physically put a book in their hands.
It was pretty classic huckster mode.
He struck out more often than not – but he kept it up and I did see a few copies make their way to the register during my time there.
Seeing this of course made me chuckle – because I thought of how many times I’ve heard someone talk about “popularity” and how being able to market yourself *wasn’t a part of writing”. That guy would probably laugh too.
So would the vast majority of published writers.
Getting your foot in the door in the first place is a combination of being able to tell a compelling story and finding a way to stand out from the crowd, to get noticed. Every step after that is about being able to sell what you have actually produced – to get into the hands of likely readers.
Even people published by one of the “big publishers” end up at book signings/conventions – and it’s not just as a thank you to their current fans, it’s an outreach to create a buzz that helps them gain more, and hopefully sell more books.
It’s a balancing act. You can write the greatest piece of literature ever seen in the world – and if you just sit back and expect someone to find it and recognize your genius, you are going to be in for a disappointment.
If you try to sell yourself *too hard* you become annoying and alienate the very people you are trying to reach.
Somewhere in there is that perfect line to walk, of letting people know you are out there but not being pushy. Heck, in our “real lives” most of us probably have to do this well – in school, at work, with various social organizations – getting recognized is as much about the hard work you put in as it is someone seeing that hard work and being able to appreciate it.
It’s there in everyday life, it’s certainly there if you want to break into professional writing, and it’s in Idol.
Where is *your* line when it comes to promoting your own work and how does it impact how you view the actions of others when they promote theirs?
Oh yeah, there’s also a new topic – http://community.livejournal.com/therealljidol/388436.html
Have fun discussing and brainstorming!