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The writing-promo connundrum

All I want for Christmas is time to write! Not to promote, or to chase reviews, but to write. This writing world we're in is a crazy place.

I've just read a very helpful forum post about cross promotion to populate e-mail lists. The post was great, the idea a good one, but my reaction was to want to thud my head on the desk and sob. We are saturated. We have so many things to chase and do and none of them are the writing. And we're supposed to do this alongside jobs and families and life because very, very few writers will ever earn a living just-writing.

Now, I'm no slouch at the promo side of things. A fair few of you are reading this (waves!) and I have a good network and good visibility. But it all takes so much time. If I'm honest, the last time I did some real writing was in June. The rest of it has been edits, blogs and a lot of time taken up by marketing.

One part of me wants to go out there and join a cross promotion campaign. It sounds great and that it pays back - but I was told that about facebook ads and they sure didn't. One part of me wants to put the time into my mailing list. But most of me (apart from the bit ranting here) wants to research and write my shiny new idea, and fix up that novella to try to find a home. Oh, and review my screenplay of Inish Carraig. (Strangely, I don't begrudge time spent work-working. That's in a different hub/zone of my attention. And I get paid for it - funny how that can be a motivator.)

It seems to me that there is, sadly, a choice to be made. Get busy writing, or get busy promoting. I don't have an answer for anyone except myself. But I do wonder how effective it all is anyway. At what point do so many mailing lists exist and no one looks at them? At what point does even the most avid Kickstarter supporter run out of funds. More and more I think community is the only way forwards - and at least enjoyable - and writing a good book that people will recommend. Surely that still has to count more than any amount of come-and-find-me promo? I cling to that. I'm not naive, i know promo must happen but more and more I query how it happens. We need something that doesn't demand so much time, that is energy-filled, not energy-sapping, that celebrates readers and writers and doesn't look for books that are 99p only or promoted with a swanky ad in every group that moves. I want promo to further me AND other writers AND readers.

Writing makes me happy. It was never supposed to make me rich. I want to do more of it, not less. It may well be that after Abendau's Legacy comes out I might not bring out my novella as planned but just take the few months between that chaos and the launch of Waters and the Wild and just write. It may be that marketing is taking too much time, and that I'm a saturation point. Or it may be that I want to be a writer more than I want to be a bestseller.


Anya Kimlin said…
I'm currently having to organise my days. This may be a load of rubbish and come January when Black's Nest actually comes out things may have to change. I've been lucky to have been given help from Ben Galley at ShelfHelp (it came free but now I know what he does I may well have paid for it). With his help my day is now roughly split into two hours online, two hours working on my stories and then an hour reading (for Writer Types my new blog). I've done it by getting up early to do the writing and I've been using my phone for online things so I can do that and function during the day. And I do the reading in the evening before bed.
Nick said…
This is all so, so true. Promotion actually burns me out in ways writing absolutely doesn't, writing bring gives me energy, brings me satisfacfion. Endless promotion takes that energy and satisfaction and snaps it in half. For sure, we are ahead of the curve after a month of sales, but... I just want to write again, so I have been. Stuff the promotion, when I have time at the moment, I write, and am glad to be back into a flow again. But in the back of my mind... I know I should also be promoting.
Joanne Zebedee said…
Anya - I don't think, in my case, it's a time management thing but just simply having too much on! But, for sure, there can be ways of managing it that might elp.

Nick, I think it's about finding the balance, really.