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Public Face, Art as Product

January 29, 2012 By: Hiromi Category: Blog, Business of Writing, Thoughts on Writing

I’m still trying to get over this. Or integrate. <grin>

I have to confess that the business side of writing is not my favourite part. Certainly there are many writers who are more extroverted and enjoy speaking about themselves and their latest book. They do a great service for boosting their own profile; after all, if we can’t get readers interested in picking up the finished book, if we can’t get it read, the project fails. Without readers books are inanimate objects (except for that person who’s made the most wondrous sculptures out of books!). We are writing these books so that they shall be read.

So why this reticence to self-promote, why so uncomfortable about using my person(ality) to foreground a project I believe in and worked very hard at completing?

Part of it is cultural. ~__~ . I don’t know if this is a cheap excuse. But anything that was anywhere near to “bragging”, even “self-promotion”, could be seen as a form of self-aggrandizement, a mark of a weak character. Not noble. Not “classy”. Clearly there are a lot of imbedded problems with this model– I know! But, man, those childhood lessons sear into bone.

Of course I believe in my own novel. If I didn’t I wouldn’t have been able to complete it. But I still have a lingering reservation about sales-pitching my own work. Clearly I must overcome this aversion because after the creative art process of writing, the book published by a publisher definitely enters the public space simultaneously as an art project as well as a product. The product exists in a market. The book is not only something that is read, but it is also something that is bought.

The buying part is important because if you are an artist who is making her living with her writing how well the book sells matters a great deal! I am nowhere near a “comfortable” place in income earnings. I get by each year by hook and by crook (not crookedly!). So in practical terms I should be busting my ass with promo after the book is in my hands. But I bite my lower lip and avert my gaze, hoping that someone else can do this for me….

Well! Tomorrow morning I have a Skype meeting with my publicist about “key message points”! And I will listen carefully and learn some new ways of talking about my art. Because I have moved past the “art-creation” point in the project, and into the region of “business and sales”.

And I’m really pleased with how Darkest Light turned out. I am ~__~. I hope you will be too.

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