BSP AND BEING A WRITER by Debra H. Goldstein
Creativity, diligence, networking, engaging in BSP, and a lot of luck characterize most successful writers. Although a writer can’t predict luck, the other factors are all within a writer’s control.
Every story, poem, or novel begins with an idea. The key is whether the writer has the work ethic to take imagination, produce a work product and then rewrite it until it is polished. Many would-be writers talk a good game, but don’t follow through. There are a million excuses to avoid writing. Some of mine include: I’m preparing things for my daughter’s wedding; we’re traveling because of family events; I’m trying to add exercise into my life and the classes interrupt my writing schedule; I went to lunch at 11:30 and we had so much fun it was 2:30 before I left the restaurant to do my other errands; or I just don’t feel creative today. (Other than the dog ate my notebook, what are some of your excuses???)
Although writing is a solitary activity, being known helps one’s writing be read. J.K. Rowling, the author of the Harry Potter series proved this adage with the dismal sales of her new crime novel, The Cuckoo’s Calling. Although reviews were positive for the book, it only sold about 500 copies when people believed it to be written by a no name new author. Once her true identity was revealed, the book became a best seller. Most of us will never have the recognition of J.K. Rowling, but entering contests, networking with readers/fans, attending conferences, and being out there with social media is the only way to enhance sales and help a writer gain public credibility. Many of us are comfortable networking with other people, but the big question is why is engaging in BSP (Blatant Self Promotion) so difficult?
Maybe the problem with BSP is that all of us are taught as children to be modest. We are encouraged to achieve goals and win awards, but we are called out if we rub other people’s noses in our success. For the past week, I have been flying high because the first chapter of my work in progress, Should Have Played Poker: a Mah Jongg Murder Mystery, received a 2013 Alabama Writers Conclave First Chapter Award, but other than an “I’m dancing on the table” posting on Facebook the night of the award, I wasn’t initially able to bring myself to fully publicize it. My friends thought me crazy. It was only after one wanted to write a press release, another friend put it on her Facebook and twitter pages, and one sent it out as an e-mail to a group of our friends, that I finally got around to adding the news to my website, linked in information, and thought about addressing it in this week’s blog. I’m working on being more out there but I’m curious how do you feel about broadcasting this type of information about yourselves? Does it come easy or as most writers, has BSP required you to re-educate yourself to behave in a manner that isn’t innate?
0 thoughts on “BSP AND BEING A WRITER by Debra H. Goldstein”
You’ve hit a nerve, Deborah. Self-promotion does not come easy for me either. I think one way to address it is what you’ve done here–use creativity to to say it in a way that communications without hitting people over the head. Make it interesting; use it to ask questions; make it a story. It’s a constant challenge.
On another note, I wonder how Rowling feels about what happened. She obviously wanted this novel to stand on its own. It says a lot about the publishing industry, doesn’t it?
Thanks for your message T.K. Knowing your new book, Last Chance, about the Civil Rights 16th Street church bombing case told from the inspectors’ viewpoint comes out September 1, I hope you can overcome your reluctance for BSP…having read the arc, I know it is a must read. Rowling has given an interview about being hurt by the wife of a lawyer leaking it….but while she wanted the freedom of writing as an unknown author, she stops short of saying she won’t accept success.
Oh yeah, and as you mention, friends are a big help! LOL! Thank you, Debra.
LOL, Debra. I enjoy everything you write. You’re a great writer! And I would think with your credentials it would be rather easy to be a BSP. I expect that you will be very successful no matter what you tackle in life.
Please keep promoting yourself on Facebook or in your blog or your non-writer friends won’t know about your wonderful accomplishments!! We are all so proud of you!
Congratulations for the first chapter award, Debra. Yes, I have a terrible time telling people about the good things that happen to me with my writing. Maybe because my dad always said, “I don’t brag about my kids. I let other people do that.” I almost, kind of,sort of, sneak it into a conversation sometimes. I’ve been at one of my book clubs – all friends in both – but never mentioned placing in a contest for a poem, or having a short story accepted etc. I’ve even carried the poem with me hoping someone would ask me to read one. Maybe it’s because none of them are writers and haven’t a clue how hard it is to get recognized in this writing world we’re struggling in. I was at a sibling cook out a few weeks ago with my siblings and a few nieces and nephews. Everyone was chatting away about this and that. I was waiting for a lull in the conversation to mention that a short story of mine was accepted for an anthology. The lull didn’t come and I didn’t say anything. Years ago, I wanted to turn around and go home when I came to school one morning and the principal had put a huge banner up in the hall congratulating me for winning elementary teacher of the year for our county. It was even worse at the banquet honoring me and other teachers when I had to get up and give a speech. I think it’s because deep down I doubt myself – that my writing is any good or that I was worthy of the teacher award. I love hearing praise for my books – who wouldn’t, but I never ask anyone if they liked them if they don’t say anything. I think one of the reasons I feel so at home with the Guppies is because it’s a place we can announce good things and not feel we’re being boastful.
Gloria, thanks for sharing your self doubts. I think all of us have those no matter how many times we hear nice things about our work or win awards, etc. It’s the nature of who we are I think, although I’m not sure Hemingway had these issues. Then again I think he was drunk much of the time!
TK….I agree all of us have these doubts and based upon his writings, I think even Hemingway had self doubt……but perhaps it was only during his sober moments.
Gloria, what a thoughtful reply! Interesting to hear your doubts because whether your books, your teaching, or your speaking, you are most accomplished. It is truly the irony that when we succeed, we draw back the most from sharing it with others and yet we do want the recognition or validation. Being under the radar is in some ways so much more comforting, but impossible if one wants one’s books read. :).
Congratulations on your award, Debra!
Like you and the others who have commented, I also have trouble with BSP. Growing up, I would often hear: “Don’t toot your own horn!” The underlying assumption was that if you were really that good, someone else would notice and spread the news.
Thank you for the congratulations…and for tweeting about this blog. With the variety you show on your blog (check it out everyone), you have plenty to BSP about…..and yet it is difficult, isn’t it?
Chiming in a little late here. Joanne and I must have had the same mother. Mine always said if your good at something, no need to toot your horn. People will find out. She never heard about writing books. Congrats on your award, Debra. Toot your horn, and do it better than I did when I had something to toot.