When I first began this writing gig, it seemed a perfect fit for my personality. I’m a bit of an odd-one-out, an introvert. I don’t much like crowds, or noisy parties, or even busy shopping centres. I’d rather be out in the bush, or talking to the animals … or writing. Writing is a solitary profession, and most writers are to a greater or lesser extent, loners. It can be no other way and this suits me just fine.
Then I became published, and read the endless advice all over the internet about the key to writing success. Publisher publicity wasn’t enough apparently. No, I had to become an authorpreneur, a juggernaut of self-promotion. I needed thousands of Twitter followers and 5,000 Facebook friends. I needed to strategically comment on high-traffic websites that targeted my audience, organise mega-blog tours, approach book stores and libraries, juggle daily posts on every form of social media. That’s when the collywobbles set in. The idea of flagging down readers and pushing my work on them was about as appealing as a kick in the head.
But do you know what? I discovered that, as with all things in life, there is a balance. You don’t need to be loud and flashy, with a sales pitch set at full volume, to succeed as an author. But you also shouldn’t be reluctant to join in the conversation, to link with other writers and experience that gorgeous sense of literary community that’s out there. I’ve discovered that I like Twitter and Facebook. I enjoy talking occasionally about my work, and most of all, I love connecting with readers.
So I’d like to remind all of the shy, self-contained writers (including my niece!), not to be discouraged. There are plenty of quiet literary achievers out there. I’ve met them. Frenzied self-promotion is not the only path to success. First write an amazing book, one that says something important, one that showcases the vivid world living within your own imagination. Next, find the level of engagement that suits you, and be open to new people and experiences. It can be fun! Lastly, allow your genuine passions to shine through. Folk tales, science fiction, conservation, children’s literacy – it doesn’t matter, as long as the subject is close to your heart. Be authentic, and people will engage with you. It’s true!
P.S. Can’t wait to reveal the cover of Currawong Creek – coming soon …