In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “Singular Sensation.” If one experience or life change results from you writing your blog, what would you like it to be?
I didn’t start writing a blog on WordPress because I wanted a blog on WordPress. I started a blog on WordPress to promote my novel, Martin of Gfenn.
Obviously the life changing result I was hoping for from my blog on WordPress was that my self-published (yet well written and compelling) novel would be picked up by a publisher or, at least sell well enough to make a dent.
People I have met on WordPress have read the book, and some were kind enough to write reviews for me on Amazon. That’s ncredibly helpful to a self-published writer. How did they learn about the book? Through this blog, my personal blog, the one I had no interest in when I started out.
Now on the issue of self-publishing. Personally, after self-publishing two good books, I don’t consider that publishing, not for the kind of writing I do, anyway. Some people have done well for their self-published novels with their blog, their Facebook Fanpage, their Twitter stream etc., but my research into their success has shown me that they write books people actually WANT to read, mainstream novels, mysteries, books that are kind of like crack, cliffhangers, bodice rippers, page turners. That’s not a negative criticism. Those books would probably be picked up by an agent or publisher and by self-publishing, those writers make more money. But for a person who writes literary historical fiction set in obscure historical periods in far away countries self-publishing is not much more than printing. I’d even go further and posit that a person who writes that kind of book isn’t going to be God’s gift to self-promotion. The reality is that self-published or not, the market is the market, the zeitgeist the zeitgeist. Agents and publishers KNOW what will sell. It’s their business to know. I get it and understand how I fit into that. At the moment I have a manuscript, the work known here as “The Schneebeli Brothers Go to Church,” at a small publishing house being reviewed. That’s the best I’ve done so far. I don’t know what the outcome will be.
All this to say that the life-changing result of blogging I want is that my novels are picked up by a good publisher and sell well. That’s it. I know I could write other kinds of books — love stories and so on — but I don’t want to. If art has any special meaning to me, it is freedom, the one arena of life in which I can do what I want to do in my own way. I know I will — and do — pay a price for that, but the question every artist must answer is, “Why am I doing this?” I did not expect the answer to be what it turned out to be, which is, “I do this for the sake of the work itself.” From a distance that answer seems precious and snotty, but close up it doesn’t. Close up it’s me having lived a life teaching others holding to something that belongs uniquely to me.
It would just be nice if it paid off in dollars, but it doesn’t have to. Strangely, this song happens to be playing on my radio right now.