It never ceases to amaze me how our technological advancements are often used to express our pain of existence. I guess since we cannot catch up on a biological scale we have to use it to communicate it. Technology now gives us an outlet for our passive aggressive tendencies. As someone who uses social media, it is not a surprise to see or even experience the cruelty that lurks behind a computer screen. As a writer, it is not something that is unexpected. Still, it is sometimes difficult to wrap your head around when it happens.
“Why don’t you nut up and just give money to cancer research and shut up about using a worthy cause to get people to buy your crap!”
I received this message from one of my ‘admirers’ in response to my postings on various venues about my new novel. Of course, my initial reaction was . . . well . . . rather less cordial, but, after thinking about it for a while, I realized there might be something more about this comment since I have learned over the course of my life that there is more to things than what we see. And, since I have a problem with corporations using non-profits to polish their images, I can understand a reaction of this sort.
However, I thought this might be a good way to give someone a peek into my life as a writer. First of all . . . I hate promoting. Anything. For those who know me, I have an extremely difficult time asking for help, let alone advertising the ‘good’ parts of who I am or what I have to offer. I simply hate it. But that puts me into a very difficult position where much of our society relies on self-promotion just to get through a day. I have never asked for a raise or a promotion. I don’t like ‘padding’ my resume, etc.
Now I find myself in a position where I have to do the things I hate in order to live the way I want. Especially now, at this writing, being laid up with a back injury that keeps me from working. I am promoting my book. Not because I want to, but because I have to if I want to see some success. The comment implies that I already have the money necessary to donate to a worthy cause as well as insinuating that my purpose here is to foster an inferior product on an unsuspecting public just to get more of that.
Well, believe what you must, but, first, I do not believe that I have fostered an ‘inferior product’ on the public. I have spent the majority of my life honing my craft of writing and it took nearly twenty years to produce this piece of work and I believe that it is a good story and good writing. Secondly, even though it is published, it doesn’t mean that I suddenly ‘have money’. On the contrary. That is why it needs promotion. In order for me to make money, the public has to not only buy the book, but also enjoy it enough to recommend it to others. I think this is one of the biggest problems with the ‘consumer’ and offers up the great paradox that explains my doing something that I hate. The consumer wrongly believes that because I have a book published that it will automatically be bought by others. While there is some truth to that, it is not something that happens automatically, nor is it sustainable. First, the consumer must be made aware of my book, then, the consumer must decide that it is worth ‘sustainability’. In order to be made aware of it, it has to travel through a great morass of input the consumer already receives from every direction possible. And then, it has to stand out. Today’s technologies make it incredibly easy to add to that tidal wave of information. I think there are probably more ‘writers’ now than there was when I was a kid, because, now, everyone who wants to be a writer simply has to start a blog, and can even publish a book, without working at the skill of it.
So, here I am. I’ve published a book and now have to promote it if I want it to be successful. The book’s success is connected directly to my successful living. Not in order to be ‘rich’, but just in order to live in a society that demands a certain level of monetary gain to maintain a lifestyle that exceeds homelessness.
Donating to cancer research is one way to help me do something I already hate to do. I have had friends die of cancer and I have had friends that have survived cancer, much like many other people in this day and age. Donating, however, is not something that I can regularly do. Now, I have something that can work in tandem with a need to write and a need to contribute to something greater than myself. When I sell a book, I get to contribute. If someone buys my book because of that, I have 1) sold a book, 2) contributed to cancer research, 3) put what I consider a ‘good story’ into someone else’s hand, and 4) allowed them to contribute to cancer research. I think that is a pretty cool system.
So, person of scorn, your comment suggests several things to me that may or may not be true, but what I would propose is: Buy my book. Read my book. If you think it is ‘crap’, great. That is your choice. Whether you like it or not, know that you have contributed to not only my success as a writer, but to the saving of lives through cancer research. However, I do hope you like it.