Writing can be a lonely job. We spend a lot of times in our heads, listening to people who don’t really exist, and hurdling obstacles in single-minded pursuit of that happily ever after. Then, when the writing is done, we not only have to send our baby out into the world, but shout from the rooftops how much prettier, smarter, more intriguing than every other baby out there. It’s a very competitive field, which can be even more isolating for some.
I don’t know a single author who enjoys doing endless rounds of promo. We’d all rather be spending our days and nights meeting new people who don’t really exist, eavesdropping on their conversations, and living out their love affair right along with them. But aside from the “I’d rather be typing” aspect, there’s the fact that most of us have been taught from our cradle days on NOT to boast, not to draw attention to ourselves, and to be self-effacing about our accomplishments. We aren’t supposed to request words of praise (or condemnation). It’s uncouth to blatantly ask people for their money.
So yeah, promoting my work doesn’t come naturally to me. Are you shocked to hear that? I didn’t think so.
This winter, one of my books (Long Distance Love) was included in a boxed set of eight novels called Unforgettable Heroes, and I have to tell you, it was quite a valuable learning experience.
It’s no secret that the purpose of boxed sets is to garner exposure for the authors involved. Most of us are struggling to get our work into the hands of potential readers. Boxed sets are a great way to do that—a fabulous deal for the reader, a chance for the author to expand their audience. Win-win!
What I didn’t expect, and the reason why I will happily participate in future boxed set opportunities, was the bonding experience I shared with my fellow box authors. We all contributed time, effort and money to advertising the set. In doing so, we shared the burden that endless rounds of promotion, making it far more palatable for most of us. It also helped me understand that we really are all in the same boat.
There’s a lot of truth to the adages about safety in numbers. With the others right there beside me, I was willing to put myself out there more and be more adventurous than I would have been on my own. In a way, I think it all ties back to the social strictures I mentioned before. It’s okay for us to cheer for a team and point out collective successes. Pride in your team not only makes it easier to extoll their virtues to one and all, but to solicit the support of other fans.
Whether I’m being boxed in or not, I’m making a conscientious effort to stop fretting over the “I” and focus on the winning team around me. The fact that you clicked the link to read this blog post means you might be looking for a little reassurance that you are not alone. You’re not. For what it’s worth, I’m here too.