Why writers hate marketing

It takes time away from writing. That’s the main drag for me, anyway. Other writers may cite various reasons, things like “I’m not good at marketing, I don’t know how to market, I’m a writer so it’s not my job to market.” Unfortunately, all the reasons in the world, logical or not, aren’t going to erase the fact that no matter how or why we hate to market, we have to do it if we’re to have any hope of being read.

The good news is, technology has vastly improved our venue. Blogging is, at least for the time being, one of the best ways to get the job done. It’s cost effective (free in most cases) and simple to update. We literally have the world at our fingertips. Bringing that world to our virtual doorstep, however, takes a heck of a lot of work. In fact, I’ve found that since I started putting this blog together in September, I’ve had absolutely no time to work on anything else writing-related. I’m still in the process of learning how to get exposure for this site and probably will be for at least the rest of this year. A year I could have spent completing the first draft of a new novel. But every day I have to ask myself, what would be the point of writing another book no one is ever going to read?

I don’t entertain illusions of becoming a bestselling author; those dreams have long passed. All I want now, as I approach my mid 50s, is to develop a following of a few thousand readers—people who enjoy my stories and let me know they’re waiting for me to write another. I’m very a very logic-centered person, so to me that doesn’t sound like an unattainable goal. What I have to do now is find a way to reach those potential readers. As with most things, the key will be persistence.

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Why my hair is short

I used to have long, thick hair (a foot or more below my shoulders) that was the envy of every woman in the room. Straight, but not too straight, full of body and shine. Wavy without being frizzy. It was usually the first thing guys noticed about me, and the most common topic for hit lines: “Hey, can I touch your hair?”

Well, suffice it to say that was more than a few years ago—during my high school and college years to be exact. I’ll let you do the math.

The first time I considered cutting it was during a sitting for my high school graduation photos. I mentioned to the photographer that perhaps I should wait, come back after I’d gotten a haircut. He stared at me as if I’d slapped him. “Haircut? Are you crazy? Why in the world would you want to cut such beautiful hair?”

I let him take the photos that day. And I changed my mind about the haircut. Why eliminate one of my best assets as I headed into my senior year?

That asset snared me an impressive boyfriend for most of that year (I’ll call him Jerry). Jerry was a member of the cool crowd, a handsome, charming fellow with a reputation for fun. And, best of all, he was an older guy—already graduated and working full time. Jerry didn’t suit my personality very well, at the least the personality I’d had for most of my high school years (i.e. shy, quiet, studious). But what the hell. Just knowing I was dating Jerry caused my classmates to totally reevaluate their opinions of me. Suddenly I was complimented on my clothes every day by cheerleaders who had never spoken to me. I was encouraged to attend after school events I had previously avoided like the plague. And, most amazing of all, I was invited to go with the extremely cool crowd to a Rolling Stones concert (their “farewell tour” at the time, ha ha). I was very flattered of course. But I ended up turning down the invite because, as fate would have it, it happened to be on the same night that I had a ticket to see Elvis in concert.

What is the point of my topic today? What could it possibly have to do with writing?

Well, here’s the thing: Last week I went to my hairdresser, Judy, for a cut. Due to the holidays and my daughter’s wedding, two months had elapsed since my last visit. My hair was shaggy, too long, and the ends were flipping up and out—a look I totally despise. (I loved the old Mary Tyler Moore show, but oh dear Lord, that awful flip!) The first thing Judy mentioned was how well she thought my hair had grown out. In other words, she liked the longer hairstyle.

I respect Judy and her opinion. She’s very good at what she does. But in this instance, I made it clear I disagreed. I came home with my hair as short as it’s been since last summer, and I am once again a happy camper. Now I can get up in the morning, shower, run a comb through my hair, blow dry for five minutes, and get on with my day. That routine will hold for the next six weeks, after which I’ll return to Judy for another cut.

As writers, we all are pressed for time. My hair, pretty as others seem to think it is, is a 40-minute job to dry and style when it’s below shoulder length. And if I don’t do it every day, it looks like I spent the previous night on the street. Writing is about making choices, establishing priorities. Short hair is just one of the choices I have embraced in order to free up more time to write. I could list another dozen or so, but you get the point. At least I hope you do.