"Do you like doing all the marketing, social networking and other obligations of modern book publishing? Or would you prefer to just sit in your room writing, with no business-side duties?"
When I first learned the topic of this week’s discussion, I thought of a wonderful quote from Peter de Vries: “I love being a writer. What I can't stand is the paperwork.”
Oh, how well he summed up the irony of modern publishing.
Gone are the days when writers were allowed to do precisely what they were expected to do -– write.
Today many of us are expected to maintain/participate in one or more of the following:
1. A personal website
2. A webpage linked to our publisher or other site such as Amazon.com
3. Facebook (often personal as well as a “fan page” and maybe a fan group)
5. Personal blog and guest blog appearances (especially as our release dates approach)
9. Goodreads, LibraryThing, Shelfari, or other book cataloging site
10. A newsletter
11. A fan forum
12. Group blogs
13. Attend conferences
14. Host book launch parties
15. In-store book signings/tours
And these are just a few of the most prevalent social networking and/or marketing obligations. I’m certain there are others. Plus, these are in addition to researching our next book/series as well as actually writing that next book or starting that next series. Throw in the day jobs that many writers keep for various reasons, spouses/partners, kids, pets, extended family, and friends and it’s a wonder any books are written at all.
Now, as to answering the question from my personal perspective, I have a serious love/hate relationship with the obligations we face from modern publishing. While I don’t participate in all of the above, I do have a website and enjoy hanging out on Twitter and Facebook, posting to Criminal Minds and another group blog as well as my own (when I have something interesting to say) and a few other items from the list.
But, I’m the new kid on the block and debut authors often feel the most pressure to perform and participate in all of these outlets. It’s my theory this intense pressure is often a contributor to the dreaded “sophomore slump,” a second novel that doesn’t stand up to the expectations met or exceeded by the first. We become blinded by the need to market and promote our book that we don’t spend as much care and time with the second one.
Would I prefer to sit in my darkened cave...uh...my room and write? YES! (There is a reason my husband gave me a T-shirt that reads "Keep Out of Direct Sunlight" for my birthday one year.)
Is that going to happen? NO!
Will I learn to suck it up and deal with it? Yep.
Will I like it? Not really, but give me coffee and a supply of Tootsie Roll pops, and I’ll at least be happy until the next book is ready for promotion.