I’ve wanted to be a writer since I was ten. I’ve been writing stories for as long as I can remember, and I used to think that’s all I had to do to succeed as a writer. When I first started getting advice about self-promotion, I turned away from it and thought, “Surely I don’t need to do that. The quality of my work will stand on its own. I don’t want to throw myself at people saying, ‘Look at me! Look at my book! Pay attention to me!'”
My novel writing professor, Cathy Day, has started to change my mind. She talks not about self-promotion but about literary citizenship. I’ll be taking her class on it next semester, but I understand the basic idea behind it. She thinks that the best way to make yourself known to readers, agents, editors, and your fellow writers is not to beg for attention but to participate in their world. Tweet. Blog. Be on Facebook. Be on Goodreads. Comment on blogs, make guest posts on blogs, get in on discussions. Talk about your experiences and your advice. Give something valuable into the community and you’ll get something back.
That sounds a lot better than self-promotion, doesn’t it?
As part of the class next semester, I know we’re going to be required to start a blog. I’ve tried blogging countless times. It’s never worked out for me. But, I’m trying again, and I’m trying with greater purpose. I’m going to use this blog to talk about my journey as a writer, reader, and student. I’ll post about my problems, triumphs, and questions. I’ll review books. I’ll start being a good literary citizen.
Wish me luck.