Many of us who like to write are also social. Chances are that if you like to write about people or write in a way that talks to people, you know people and like to be around them.
But there are those who are not social because they haven’t tried, are shy or just like it that way. For such people, the social revolution on the internet, which, at first, had seemed to bestow a lot of power on individuals, has thrown unexpected curve balls.
It has also unleashed a lot of us newbies, used to writing, thinking and generally being socially awkward and staying a hundred miles away from anything that says selling, or promoting, or being a part of the crass realities of the marketplace [smiley face here] into social spaces.
To say the least, we are rather odd denizens of these spaces, floating about like alien matter not quite knowing what to do. And yet here we are.
Some of us are not here yet, but we will be, even if we come with reluctance, taking slow but sure steps towards the inevitable.
We will promote ourselves, and sell, sometimes rather awkwardly.
Some of us will make a direct appeal on social media “Here’s why you should buy my book.”
Others will be a little less direct “This is how I deal with it in my own book.”
Others will say “I also blogged about it.”
Yet others will fall victims to classes and courses that “teach” one how to be social on social networks. Perhaps many will find these how-to classes personality transforming experiences. If you can teach an old dog new tricks that is.
Writers and thinkers, trained to inhabit worlds that are not necessarily in tune with buying and selling have to think hard now.
Not just think in a subtle way, such as what kind of characters might people want to read about in my book but how do I sell the book?
Should I do a buy one get one free deal for my two books or could I pull off a higher price for my novel if I also sold three short stories along with it for 99 cents as a package deal?
The reality is that the individual writer has to be an attractive package himself–good writer, good promoter, great networker and excellent marketer.
Of course, the separation of pursuits of the mind from the marketplace was always artificial. It just wasn’t as obvious as now because someone else was doing the selling.
But even at a more basic level, how will it change our approach to creating a piece of work as separate from market considerations, at least temporarily until the meeting with publishers etc.–a place where many could afford to be so far because someone else was taking care of all that?
Ultimately, some other hierarchy will set in for sure but until then, the writer cannot afford to be alienated from the market side of his craft in the process of writing.