When I began seriously trying to fledge a book or two I found that it was a universally accepted truth that I would have to potter around in social media. Like other writers, no doubt, used to being a hermit, hiding my light underneath a bushel of characters, the idea of self-promotion was hideous.
When I read a novel, I only want to enjoy it fully. I might want to know the author’s intentions or relevant research. That’s all. In past days of innocence, I hoped that if I wrote something good enough people might read it. No. I’m told I have to become a social animal, sharing my personal life, persuading people that I have something to offer, trading tricks, begging to be read.
All writers are advised, urged even, to engage in every possible way online and offline to promote their wares.
I penned a rebellious note to start this website. I sensed that it was unwise to publish it so I kept it private. Now that I have fully learned the error of my ways, I admit them here.
I wrote: When I need a plumber, electrician, home tutor, laboratory assistant, psychiatrist or garage mechanic, I don’t seek to find out how many chameleons s/he owns or where he likes to enjoy a pint or a double scotch. I just want to know that he can do the job efficiently and well. He may have to list his name and service in a directory but not since the 19th century does he expect to stand in the local barn exhibiting his face along with his tool of trade, waiting for attention. These workers, along with college lecturers, engineers, architects, nannies, surveyors etc do not have to display themselves in situations totally separate (alien?) to carrying out their work.
Surely writers should only need to display their writing ability and track record, or an extract of their work? I recently enjoyed The Silent Wife and was sad to hear that Harrison had died before it was published. She was saved from a heavy round of book-thirsty visits and signings, and her excellent psychological drama is going to sell and sell anyway. I read and reviewed Conor Patrick’s short stories on this site, Goodbye Crocodile. I was impressed but I don’t care a jot for what the author looks like or even if he’s a he, a she or a crocodile. Whatever his appearance, present accommodation or family setting, I’d read his work again.
I was brought up to be obedient. (I was just disobedient in my head). Therefore, here I am, rebellion suppressed, involved in social media.
I began by creating a blog. This was to promote Me-Time Tales, a book of short stories, ironic and with a dark edge.
I overcame the problem of author biog by calling the blog by the name of the book (http:\\fictionalcharacterswriting.blogspot.com). As I couldn’t bear to bare my soul, I let the characters do it for me. They’ve always been critical and now they dominate me. See the blog for yourself. I’m sure you’ll quickly have sympathy for me. Or perhaps you’ll tell me to assert myself and buy a self-help manual. I do have a laugh writing it and am amazed that visitors from 19 countries read it. I am warmed by that fact. And, there is not a whiff of my personal details on it, except what the characters reveal e.g. that I’m disorganized.
However, one blog does not make a social platform. There is Facebook, Twitter, Goodreads, Amazon, LinkedIn, various writers’ sites and numerous writing blogs to be entered upon. I do some reviews on Amazon and Goodreads. That activity is worthwhile and stimulating. But I have a feeling that if I could ditch fiction and just write fact, such as the manual for a vacuum cleaner, I could escape social media.
Succumbing to the necessary, I have opened my arms, if not embraced, social media. I’ve been told to. So here is this serious site. I admit I enjoy reading and reviewing unusual books. I truly love talking to other authors. What I don’t believe I will ever like is ‘Buy my book, it’s the most amazing x or y since Shakespeare.’ Who knows what will happen on this site? One thing’s for sure, I’m going to hang on in here and not rebel any more. Oh, I’m an obedient soul at heart and I do want to sell my books. Eventually. When I’ve got them right. You’ll be able to buy them here.
When I write that manual about sprockets, I’m not going to advertise it at all. It will just come with the goods.