I picture novelists of the future as the literary equivalent of home brewers, coming up with small batches of craft brews geared toward a specific taste. The challenge for a novelist lies in connecting our work with those readers who have an appetite for it. I’m starting to catch on to the importance of building that base through an online presence. It’s an enormous joke on us writers: Collectively, we’re an almost comically introverted bunch; yet in order to find readers, we’re compelled to morph into crack marketers and self-promoters.” (Bettina Lanyi, “the aspiring novelist”)
“When I was looking for an agent, all I really wanted was someone to save me from all the marketing and logistical hassles of producing and selling a book. I just wanted to be the shy writer and let everyone else take care of me. Today, I am actually grateful I didn’t find one.” (Cerece Rennie Murphy, “the self-published author”)
“I never anticipated that, when I became a professional writer, I’d also become a marketing strategist, publicist and entrepreneur. But in order to keep being a professional writer, I need to show my publisher how hard I’m willing to work. And I need to connect with my readers in as many creative, absurd and unexpected ways as possible.” (Jennifer Miller, “the novelist-entrepreneur”)
Over at The Washington Post, various members of the book publishing ecosystem weigh in on its evolution, with a common thread of the tension between writers’ inherent introversion and the extroversion a social media presence demands.
You want to be a writer? Keep writing.
The best work in literature is always done by those who do not depend on it for their daily bread and the highest form of literature, Poetry, brings no wealth to the singer.
Make some sacrifice for your art and you will be repaid but ask of art to sacrifice herself for you and a bitter disappointment may come to you.
Wilde’s words, embedded in which is a poignant addition to history’s finest definitions of art, are reminiscent of Alan Watts’s admonition that money shouldn’t be the object of life, which George Saunders recently echoed.
Still uncured? Here are some ideas for breaking through your writer’s block.
Herbert Spencer on writing, 1852.
The Philosophy of Style – Herbert Spencer on the economy of attention and the ideal writer, 1852.