Between packing, house purchase paperwork, and writing the next novella in the Cardonne series, I’m reading both ‘Launch’ and ‘Write, Publish, Repeat’. The marketing part of writing is an area of the writing life where I need a crash course. Most of what I am reading talks about ‘value added content’. And when I try to define my value added corner of the world there is a part of me that wonders if my writing will add value to anyone’s life? Will sharing my stories really matter? Will selling my writing make a difference to anyone?
My stories are more than a little out there. I combine fantasy/science fiction/thriller with ironic situational humour, and grit. I don’t write easy. My female characters are not dumbed down. They are women who face tremendously difficult situations, women who deal with being smart women in a man’s world where women don’t always get respect, women who are different. They are police officers, artists, psychics, mechatronic engineers, and scientists. They make difficult choices, and have to balance life with politics where politics mean people will die. The Duodeca Project is about realizing that sometimes your issues with work have nothing to do with you and everything to do with politics, and you can choose to make a difference. Even when it means walking a tight rope. Even when it means pissing people off. Your choices matter, to you and to others. Your skills matter, and what you bring to the table makes a difference.
Writing about making a difference is easy in fiction, but when it comes to believing my stories will make the world better, I have serious panic attacks. I also have that voice in the back of my head saying: ‘What makes you think you have anything of value to add to the world? How does your writing do anything but navel gaze?’ It is a pretty hard voice to deal with some days.
Then, I remember that I have readers. Those readers have come back to me and celebrated the stories and shared how they gave them a moment of time out of their own lives to be someone else, someone strong. Someone whose choices meant something, who could take a bad situation and change things to make life better. I have readers–both real life and online–who have listened to my half finished stories and demanded that I finish them, and ask when they are going to get to read them.
Sharing both yourself and a finished product are part of the professional writer’s life. Learning how to do these things well is necessary (kind of like house paperwork is necessary). On the days when I get totally negative, I focus on the fact that the marketing part of the writer’s life isn’t about me. It is about you, dear reader. It is about building a tribe, and letting you be part of it. You should get the chance to choose to be part of the group that Mr. P and my HPKCHC dorm mates are part of, the group that can share a laugh about the little old ladies down the street convinced that the medical helicopter landing on your front lawn means you must be running drugs, and the turtle crossing signs. The group that can laugh about (and consider marketing) Kevlar bustiers, and who will stamp a metaphorical foot because I should be editing right now, not navel gazing.
And, I will learn to handle this part of the writing life because of you.