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?