Anyway, I’m also an introvert. I write books. I don’t market them. I’m an introvert by nature… it’s one of the reasons I became a writer. One of the toughest things for introverted writers to negotiate has always been the marketing of their books, and with the rise of ever more “social” and viral ways to market books, the landscape has gotten tougher to manage. Most of the time, I feel little overwhelmed.
I’m often caught in this weird place where people tell me I share too much, or too little, or don’t engage enough, or engage too much. And you know, all I want to do is write. I can write here or plunk away in cool silence in this big 1890s house, but at some point, if you want anybody to read anything you write, you need to crawl out of the house and back into the world.
Booklife came to me at just the right time. I’d sold a book, had it get caught in limbo, and was happily cocooning in my real life. Trouble is there are two big parts to The Writing Life. There’s the writing, and there’s the marketing. There’s the interacting with the world, and there’s creating worlds. Today, it often feels like I can do one or the other but not both at once. And… well, let’s say that interacting with the world makes me tired. I’m in marketing at the day job, and that means people and politics and social media all day. It’s the last thing I want to do when I come home.
I enjoyed Booklife because I got to see how another writer negotiated the writing vs. marketing portions of life. Because let me tell you – it often feels like they’re directly opposing forces. He gives some great strategies on how to move from writing to marketing mode and leverage social media tools. Yes, the tools he talks about may be obsolete soon, but the rules of social media (thus far) are pretty portable across mediums.
For me, it was the right book at the right time. How do you interact with the world without exhausting yourself? How do you withdraw enough that you can be creative but not lose momentum with your social media audience? It’s a tough negotiation that I’m right smack in the middle of right now, and seeing how VanderMeer is negotiating his own booklife was… comforting? I want to know it can be done. That I can build a writing career and still have some part of my life that’s still mine. I need enough left to create something.
Because I’ve spent a year being battered around by publishing woes, and I’m far too young and unpublished to become a bitter midlister just yet.