Monday, December 20, 2010

How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love My Writing

The word "sell" leaves ashes in some writers' mouths.

Here's the truth: any writer who wants to be read must learn how to sell her/his writing. If you really love something, you'll want to share it.

Selling can come in many forms: sales to a market (as most short stories are sold), sales of books (which I'm trying to learn about and/or do now), sales to a library (yes, most libraries won't just take anything for their collection), sales to readers...

It's that last bit that gives me motivation. Even when I worked at the bookstore (my job was to sell, sell, sell), I tried to see "selling" beyond the bottom line. I wasn't making a profit, but sharing a story/book I felt was worth the sharing.

As a teacher, I feel like 80% of my job is sales. Motivation and engagement are key--if the students are tuned out, forget it. I don't have a problem doing my job. I love writing and reading and literature--I want everybody else to feel the same way. Of course I can "sell" that.

Well, I love telling stories, too. And telling stories involves a "sale," even a simple "please read my story."

That's how I learned to stop worrying and love my writing (and "selling" it).

So here's a piece of me for sale (and it won't cost you a penny): an interview at Write 1 / Sub 1.

What about you, dear readers, how do you feel about the "selling" aspect of writing? How much do you love telling stories?


Martin Rose said...

Your blog hits close to home. This is something I've been wrestling with for awhile now.

Once you get past the the pressure to "sell," the work takes on new tones, the work of writing, that is. And as much as I want to sell, as much as I try to sell, I've walked away from opportunities on principle alone, especially in cases of artistic compromise. I compromise all the time, when the occasion warrants; but there are times when the market you aspire to sell to is not worthy of what you've created.

That's a hard pill to swallow. Harder still is the isolation I feel; I had hoped to find fellow writers who loved their writing more than they loved selling -- people who loved writing for the sake of its language; what it held the power to do when you are alone and holding the pages, time lost with all sense of self, and all because of what someone else took the time to create. For no other reason than that they loved it.

I have come to believe the success is not in the selling. Sales/Exposure are not requisites for success; artistic passion is the currency, and what one purchases with it can be, if a writer is good, hearts and minds and imaginations.

So you see, you do not sell at all. You market in the distribution of hopes and dreams. You buy. :}

Cate Gardner said...

I'm really interested to see how this write1sub1 works out for you all.

Aaron Polson said...

Martin - What I jaded, bitter man I am some times. :\

Cate - I'm curious too. Drop me a line and let me know when you find out, okay? ;)

Danielle Ferries said...

I find it daunting a lot of the time but I'm slowly getting better as it. But I agree with you...I need to stop worrying about it so much and just write.

Ricky Bush said...

Hey, you have been tagged as a "writer extraordinaire", how cool is that? Sale or no sell.

Aaron Polson said...

Danielle - "Just write" is my hope for Write 1/Sub 1.

Ricky - Very cool. I tend to think of myself as "writer AD/HD".

Jarmara Falconer said...

I've stopped worry about how others did it, or how many other writers are trying to become the next bestselling writer etc and just get on with the job.

Who can say what the reader wants to read next. If it was that easy the publishing world would tell its writers what to write.... No matter how many books are in the bookshop already the agents and publishers are looking for that next best thing so who's to say it won't be you or me.

I just love to write and if it's what they want then they will soon let me know.

Happy Christmas to you and yours

Katey said...

It's a scary thought to me because I was raised with a WASPy tendency not to talk about my own accomplishments--little though they may be. You do that in my family, and you're getting mocked heartlessly.

But there is a difference between "Hey, you might like this, it has this and this and this!" and "Hey I am sooooo awesome and my book is better than _insert awesome author here_". So I usually just think of that and my enthusiasm for telling tall tales carries me through.

Usually :D