Argh! (spoken in Pirate)… I do struggle with the promotion thing as an artist.
In order to write, or do any art form, the artist has to sell. AND…the selling is also about communicating; I used to liken writing and not publishing to standing in a phone booth, with the phone held up to your ear and mouth…and then finding yourself without a quarter to put into it so you can actually dial and TALK with someone. Of course, now there are no phone booths, and the analogy falls to pieces…
But to be able to spend long hours writing…ah… It’s about a feeling, a feeling that goes deeply. A sense of a slowed day, a day to move things around in my mind. The older I get, the more I realize that slowed time is best for writing…and frankly, that is what I most need and desire…in order to write. I am USED to shoveling my writing aside, to create some path, a path that leads from my house to the institution at which I work/teach.
I long to sit with the shoveled, and play! Make mud-pies. Build shapes. Let them topple and rebuild. And build.
And in order to do that, I need to sell books. The product of my writing.
My mother–bless her–went into her local bookstore and her local library, asking if they were going to put my new books on their shelves. They must have thought I was self-publishing, and so they gave her some paper-work for me to fill out. I put it in the recycling. (I do not envy the marketing WORK that self-published writers do, daily…) But both her bookstore and library have since ordered many copies of the books. Yeah, Momma!
My youngest brother was out in the world, with his wife’s wonderful artwork, selling at a market in the town of Sidney, on Vancouver Island, a town known for its bookstores, and in he went…asked them about my picturebook, explained I am his sister. They looked it up, and satisfied themselves that they might want to stock, and said they would order. Yeah, Bro! (Check out his beautiful surfboards…)
So this is how it works.
When a friend of yours, or a family member, someone you care about, creates work…GO! Seek it out. If you don’t find it, let someone know about it. This is how others find it, whether the others are bookstore owners or readers (or people who like visual art or are in need of a new surfboard…or a place for a vacation with a lot of bookstores…how DO we find out about what is Out There…if someone doesn’t share?)
It’s not promotion. It is sharing. Please share. Seriously. If you have a new book, contact me with a link, and I will put it here…and then I’ll trek out to my local bookstore, and convince them to share it, too!