Asking Less (and More) of Others
We all know people—likely professional colleagues, as they rarely last as friends—who view a person's worth solely in terms of what the person can do for them. “Hi, it’s nice to meet you. Can you drive me to the car repair shop over lunch?” “Oh, you finally have a weekend free to yourself after eight weeks of work and house guests? Great! Can you help me move into my new apartment?”
Of course, true friends are glad to help one another out, and over time it’s a mutually beneficial relationship. You want to help your friend, because you genuinely want to make their life easier and better. Too many people, however, don’t wait for that goodwill to develop before presuming they’re entitled to impose upon your life.
I try not to be that kind of person. In fact, I’m loathe to ask even family and dear friends for “help.” If at all possible I’ll find a way to get it done myself, even if it takes longer and proves more difficult.
So what does all this have to do with (a) writing, (b) publishing, (c) science fiction, (d) science fact or (e) anything else I’m apt to write about on this blog? Well.
I was chatting with a fellow independent author (though she has quite a few more published works than I) whom I recently had the pleasure of meeting. We were discussing the ins and outs of marketing and promoting one’s books. She asked me why I had held off on creating and promoting a Facebook page (which I do now have, because we’re almost to the finish/start line), a GoodReads profile (coming soon) or several other common marketing avenues.
The fundamental reason boils down to this: from the beginning of this undertaking, I have been very cognizant of the fact I have no RIGHT to ask people to support me, to invest time and effort on my behalf, until I've proven I can deliver.
There are approximately 37 million people (I could be exaggerating, but more likely I’m under-counting) on the planet who are currently “writing a novel.” Only a very, very small percentage of them will ever finish that novel. An even smaller percentage will successfully navigate the work-infested waters and publish their novel. (I mean no disrespect to all the people out there writing simply because they love writing. Please, continue writing. Follow your heart. You’ll be happier for it.)
As of this moment, there is absolutely no reason for the world to believe I will fall into the 0.xx% who will successfully run the gauntlet and actually publish—much less publish something worthwhile. And you know what? I don’t blame them. I truly don’t. I haven’t proven myself.
Some of you know me from Deviant Art, FF.net, AO3 and other sites. I’d like to think you do believe I’ll deliver, because for you I have in the past. I’d like to think family and close friends believe I’ll deliver, because I've achieved in other arenas in the past.
For the rest of the world, you have no good reason to believe, and I agree with you. Sure, clicking “Like” on a Facebook page isn't asking a lot (and I suppose I am asking now, because again, really close to publishing). But shouting from the rooftops four times a day “’like’ me—‘follow’ me—leave a comment—‘pin’ me—‘tumble’ me—share me everywhere please” when I haven’t DONE anything?
Well, it kind of reminds me of the narcissistic co-worker who wants me to help them move on the first free weekend I've had in two months. It’s just…rude.
So to all of you who are already here, already ‘liking’ and ‘following’ and commenting and encouraging—I appreciate it more than you know, and will endeavor not to disappoint. Marketing and promotion will be ramping up very shortly, and I do welcome any and all support, because no one will know about Aurora Rising unless someone tells them about it.
And to all of you who arrive in the future as a result of those promotion efforts, or simply because you find and enjoy my novel, a sincere welcome. I’m glad I deserved it.