One thing I learned from the Writing Track this year is self-promotion is critical. This is something I’ve always known, whether I wanted to admit it or not. In fact, I took the first major leap: I created my own flyers to hand out around Dragon*Con. I invested in nice creamy cardstock, printed them, cut them, and carried them around where ever I went. I even had other people handing them out for me. I also had several of the stickers I’d made, with the URL of my website hand-written on them.
As neurotic as I am, I was surprised I managed to get rid of them all. And people seemed excited. I was excited.
The toughest part of self-marketing is not knowing if those excited reactions were geniune, or if they were happy to get more con-swag. It takes time to build an audience, and I know it. I have wonderful friends helping me every step of the way. I chose the hard road when I made the decision to do everything myself.
Sure, I could hire an agent, submit my work through her, chance getting a smaller publishing house to notice me, and have everything be all right, but what I really want is that connection, to include the people who enjoy my writing. I (perhaps foolishly) want to do it myself. In fact, I’m doing it backward.
Which probably makes it so much harder. No, I haven’t finished the book. I know what happens, but I haven’t finished writing it down. So, in essence, I’m marketing a book that as yet does not exist, whole and complete. I’m hardly the first to do it. Look at the pre-orders for books in a series. Same basic principle. But even if no one supports me, I’ll finish the book.
I write because it’s what I’m made for; I wrote before I got it into my head that I should be an author, and I’ll still write if I fail to reach those goals. I write for me, but I also write for you. It might not be what the public wants, it might not be classic literature, but it’s something. And I’m giving it you.
I tend to discourage easily. Maybe it’s part of my nervous reaction, with the giant bats vomitting in my stomach every time I’m about to move on to another serious venture. I tend to panic when I don’t see the results I want. I think we all do. And there’s only one thing for it.
Pushing past those barriers. Dragon*Con was my trial run. I did something I never thought I could. I went up to strangers and handed out things with my name on them. I spoke to some really cool people about what I do. I gave you, my followers, my friends, the first chapter of my book. I give you short stories and poems, I’ve opened up my life to you.
And I’ll do it again.
AnachroCon might be five months away, but I’m planning. I’ve got ideas. Self-marketing might be the hardest thing I do, and I might not get much writing done in the process, but it’ll be worth it.