Writing’s great – it’s being a writer which can be a bit of a nuisance. The part where you look at a blank page and make up stories is essentially a positive experience. It can be frustrating of course, if the stories do not come when bidden, but it is what writers choose to do, what they feel they need to do.
Being a writer on the other hand is more of an obligation which writing brings and one which I’d rather do without. I can’t be alone in that I’m sure.
Once you are published there are all kinds of things to do we’d rather not be doing. And for self-published authors that non-writing work starts even before the book has become a reality, since they have to act as their own publishers too.
The business of marketing your own work, of creating a presence for yourself on and off the Internet, is essentially an endless one. It’s like a race you can never win. It doesn’t matter how many thousands of Twitter followers you have, how many see your Facebook messages or read your blog posts, there is always more you could do. It doesn’t even matter how many books you sell because, in the grand scheme of things it won’t be very many and of course it could always be more.
The very open-ended nature of the process makes it tough to limit to a reasonable amount of time. It drags us away from writing too, which is the only real reason any of us got involved in the whole process in the first place.
I’m a reasonably social person, thankfully, and so I don’t mind chatting to people online or talking about my books when I meet them face to face. But it’s still not why I started writing.
As an author you feel compelled to do this endless marketing and promotion of your own work if your books are not to disappear without trace. Yet the rewards for doing it are not great. Financially for many of us it makes no sense. It’s pleasant to get nice reviews, we get to think of ourselves as writers – that’s about it for the upside really.
Sorry if this one’s been a bit of a downer – promise I’ll be more fun next time!
‘Loved this book, a bloke’s view of the dating game, made me laugh out loud.’