I was thinking of yesterday's post, and wondering why it is that articles on 30 Ways To Market Your Novel! or 47 Ways To Maximize Twitter!! or 167 Ways To Annoy People on Goodreads!!! or Are You Sabotaging Your Sales?--Yes, You Are, You Moron!!!! always stress me out so much.
Much of it I can dismiss, because the people ensuring you that you MUST do X or Y and if you think it's not important, it's super-important, you idiot, and you're screwing it up, badly, are usually selling services. That kind of thing reminds me of one time I went in to get a facial, and the facialist walked in, informed me I was hideously ugly (not in so many words, but the import was clear), and then tried to sell me a bunch of expensive services in order to protect small children and other innocents from the horror that was my face. Need I mention that she looked exactly like a frog? Need I mention that I was propositioned by a complete stranger on my way to the salon, so clearly I was doing OK in the looks department beforehand?
But some of it is coming from people who actually love to do this sort of thing, and do a whole bunch of it, and I don't, and it makes me feel stressed and guilty. The irony is that, if I wanted to be commercially successful, I would have written a commercial book. One of the reasons I started writing novels was that I was tired of always having to write to various rigid commercial standards--at some point, you're not so poor anymore, and you weary of having to constantly contort your writing to match the market (which typically wants stuff that's "good enough," but not stuff that's actually good).
On the other hand, I do want Trang to, you know, be appreciated--for it to find an audience. And I think that's why this stuff stresses me out: I believe in the book, and I don't want it to fail because of something I did or didn't do. I think way too many things get compared to having a child, but there is that element of wanting what is best for this thing and feeling obligated to make that happen that is somewhat parental.
Still, when I take a step away and get some perspective, I think--is this crap actually going to help? Seriously? I have a hard time believing that Trang will succeed or fail (whatever either of those terms actually mean for me) based on whether or not I write the headers of my blog posts as questions.
And I calm down by thinking of the advice that comes from long-time writers, which boils down to:
1. Be patient.
2. Keep writing.