Tuesday, March 2, 2010

The Question

If I ever attempt again to seriously promote writers, I'll ask each writer one question about their work: Is it your hobby or your life?


David said...

Ah, but what is the difference? In my life I have paid the bills by working as an insurance salesman, an auditor, a banker, managing a restaurant, and working in automobile sales. Now my wife and I own a hardware store and we also just built a laundromat. We've supported ourselves comfortably from all these endeavors. And in all this time, spanning nearly forty years, I have enjoyed writing. I have even been paid for some. It's not how I earn my living, but I would never wish to stop writing.

Perhaps more imporant is asking if the writer wants to engage in marketing his or her book. How far can she travel and how much time can she devote to a book tour. Will she even read in public? Does she have blog and a base of interested readers?

These things can make a big difference. You can have a most marketable manuscript, but if the author can't commit to the marketing effort, can a publisher succeed with it?

K.I.N.G. Wenclas said...

Commitment is the factor-- but how big a commitment? For real success there's no halfway. No foot in the water. You have to dive in all the way.
It's that competitive out there.
Especially if you want to achieve the impossible.
Cortez conquered the most advanced-- and in many ways the most ruthless-- civilization on the planet, with a mere 300 men. The first thing he did was to burn their boats behind them, so there was no turning back. That's commitment.
The marketing steps you mention are micro-marketing. With more and more writers doing the same thing, how does one differentiate oneself?
Remember, you're competing against 400,000+ other writers who all use the same tactics.

Ann Sterzinger said...

That's not commitment, unless you mean it in the 'to a locked facility' sense. And what's so pathetic (as you seem to imply) about any hobby when the majority of humanity is condemned to spending 40+ hours a week making a living doing something they not only don't love, but in most cases hate? For most people, hobbies are the only things that make life sort of worth living. For someone who disdains the upper classes you certainly seem to demand that everyone else belong to them -- or else get labeled 'hobbyists' if they ever display a passion.Or do you only want writers who like living in Dumpsters?

K.I.N.G. Wenclas said...

In your sense then I'm a hobbyist, in that most of my time and energy goes to supporting myself.
But what's the psychological commitment?
It'd be nice to construct an alternate reality, but we have to live in the reality that EXISTS-- which is that America is a hyper-hyper-hyper-competitive nation.
I've discussed elsewhere a salesman I once worked for. This guy was balls-to-the-wall. He'd tell himself every day, "I'm the best!"-- and he told everyone who met him the same thing. He operated in a much tougher arena than the literary game.
This is the mental attitude one needs to succeed. It's as simple as that.
I have that attitude. I know it and everybody who's encountered me knows it.
I've never played a game halfway.

K.I.N.G. Wenclas said...

An added proviso:
1.) I spent the peak years of my life sleepwalking.
2.) Like many dreaded white males, I was born impatient.