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January 31, 2011

Self Promotion

I have tried several times to write this dispatch and given up on it. I keep returning to it in my head, trying out ideas, abandoning some, and elaborating on others. This morning, as I was cleaning the horse pen, it occurred to me that because I cannot let go of the topic of self-promotion that I must further commit to exploring it. The best way to go about doing this is by going at it on paper. This is what I’m now doing.

I’ve always believed that good writing will eventually speak for itself. This is the ideal. There is writing out there that may not be good, but it thinks it is. It screams “I’m good, I’m great, keep reading, and things are only going to get better.” I would give some examples, but I have none on hand because I don’t pay any attention to such work. Suffice to say, it’s everywhere for a short period of time, and then it disappears. There’s also writing out there that says it’s good, but in a more indirect fashion. The reader is drawn in by both the quality of the work and the subject matter. Readers either hear about this work from like-minded teachers or friends, or they just stumble upon it.

My writing fits into the latter category. Some time ago, I determined that I’ll need to speak for my writing. This is hard for me to do. Self-promotion is probably best done by those who primarily use the left side of their brains. I primarily use the right side of my brain. If given a choice between producing a given piece of writing or marketing, I focus on the former. This dispatch is a case in point. I had a choice this a.m. I could either have worked at contacting publishers, or on writing this. I chose to write. It became a priority, to first figure out for myself, and then others, my take on this business of self promotion.

I feel like I’m getting nowhere fast. I have watched as classmates and friends have made a name for themselves as writers. The feeling has been akin to being in a marathon. They’re out in front, and I’m far behind. I should be happy just to be in the running. My performance is respectable. I’d like to do better. I would like for my work to be well read by a larger audience.

Yeah, I understand what I’ve been told, which is that I need to become a more adept marketer. I should get a Facebook Account and make more friends. I should get an agent. I should self-publish. I should go to conferences and book conventions. I should booze and smooze. Of course, all this takes time away from the production of good writing.

I suppose some would say that once Raudi’s Story is out, that I’ll have to spend time promoting it. I’d have no problem with that because I’ll then be speaking for a work that will then have a life of its own. Working to get it into print is the tough part. Right now, the book is in a computer file.

I’ve decided to continue to do what I’m doing, which for now is to divide my time between marketing and publishing. I’m writing in the a.m. and contacting publishers on an individual basis, via email and snail mail in the p.m. If it doesn’t work, well then, my biographer will someday have to pick up where I leave off. In the words of Kurt Vonnegut, “And so it goes.”