I struggle with the business side of a lot of things. I don’t like the business of church, and I’m discovering I don’t like the business side of selling books. I’m learning that writing a novel and publishing a novel are two entirely different things. Then there is the pressure of creating and maintaining an “author platform.” A platform is what this blog and my twitter are known as. When done well, it is a valuable tool for sharing. When abused, it becomes known as SPAM.
Why the name SPAM? Why attack an innocent luncheon meat? Well, first off, the luncheon meat is less than desirable in terms of culinary fulfillment…as is wasteful blogging and twittering. But as an unpublished writer hoping to become published, there is no avoiding the topic of self-promotion. With the dawn of self-publishing upon us, I cringe at the thought of selling my books out of the trunk of my car. I just think they deserve more. And by more, maybe they are destined to be nothing more than tattered manuscripts bound by rubber bands in a box UNDER my book shelf. But I do know there has to be some sort of balance between self-promotion and author platform. My rule has been…if it starts to feel “icky” then it is probably spam, and spam is cheap.
A few authors are able to do both, write new material while self-promoting their old. Know yourself before you decide you’re one of them. Honestly evaluate your social skills before you decide to go cross-country hand-selling books in shopping malls. It works for some people. Having watched the efforts of other authors, I must confess that I’ve become skeptical. If you could reliably create a bestseller by just throwing some promotion at a random author, the publishers would be doing that instead of paying bestselling authors.
As I have already stated, this is a bridge I have yet to cross…but I have been asked several times why I haven’t self-published my novels. I think the answer has decisively become…
I don’t like spam.