As with most mornings I’ve been checking my emails. A few listings from job agencies – yes, I’m desperate to get another job – and one or two announcements from Amazon trying to get me to part with the little money I have (sorry guys, but I’ve just about done with shopping online for this year!), but amongst it all are one or two mails informing me some people are following this blog. That’s so great, it really is. But, when I go to their blogs and see them being so successful, with so many admirers, with links to books published and a trillion and one reviews, all so positive, I feel so depressed. How do they do it? Why are they so successful, and I’m not?
I can’t market.
That’s the bottom line. Self-promotion is alien to me. I can’t. It’s the same when I’m in a social gathering; I’d rather sit quietly and not speak, listening to others ranting on with their opinions about life, all of them the great philosophers of the modern world. That’s not for me. I’ll keep my opinions to myself for the most part. I’ll only be shot down in flames any way. So, no. I can’t do it. I write my books, I get them published, I post them on the social sites, put in the occasional ad in the local press, do an interview, appear on radio, go to book signings in bookshops…but I hate it. I’m not comfortable with it, and I don’t know what I’m doing. The idea of standing up and saying, ‘Hey, my book is so great, you’ll love it. Just buy it, read it, and you’ll see,’ is impossible for me. I should be more positive, of course I should. Confidant. Yes. Everybody loves confident people. I can’t. I’m none of those things. I let my words speak. They are all I have. But I guess I’d better try harder…so, here goes:
Yes, of course I’ll continue to post pictures of my books on here, and on Facebook, but nobody takes a blind bit of notice. I did a talk the other day in my school library. About thirty kids turned up (I’m repeating it next week for another thirty!) and as I went into the library a colleague stopped me and asked me what was going on. I said, ‘I’m doing a talk about my books.’ He looked at me, pulled a face. ‘Your books? You mean, books you’ve ordered for the library?” Now, given I have been at this school for 7 years, and have been writing for much longer, isn’t it simply amazing he doesn’t know I have published 16 books? So I simply shrugged, ‘No, books I have written,’ I said. And his reply? ‘Oh.’ Then he walked away with not even a flicker of interest.
Says it all really.
I’m depressed by it. I don’t know what to do. Yes, I could sign up for all sorts of wonderful agencies. Pay the money, listen to the crap. Sign up for one of those ‘boot camps’ ( God, I SO HATE that phrase. Boot camp? What the hell have boots got to do with writing?). As soon as I see those words, I scroll on by. You know what I really want to do? I want to grab hold of my old Olivetti, run away and live in a cave somewhere and simply write. Maybe I should do a George Orwell and find a Jura of my own. But seriously, I have a simple choice. I can either join the merry throng and take on board the pontifications of the noble and the just as they tell me with so much arrogance what I really need to do (because they know it all, of course) or I can continue being me.
I think I’ve already made the choice.
I’m not a sheep. And with that acceptance I also have to accept that my approach is going to take a long, long time. But that’s ok, because in the meantime I can continue to write stories, stories which entertain me and which I love to write. One day people will begin to pick them up in bigger numbers. Until that day comes, writing is what spurs me on, not any polishing or marching of boots in a camp!
Visit my website for links to my books. I write as Glenn Stuart for Young Adults, and as Stuart G Yates for adult thrillers, both contemporary and historical.
A personal PS on this sad day…Nelson Mandela inspired a generation with his love and capacity to forgive. May his memory inspire us all to seek tolerance and understanding and over-turn the hard and the un-caring thoughts and actions of so many. Our world is losing its way; let us try to bring it back on course through his example. Rest easy, the world will never forget you.