So it’s Kate Flora here, late with my post, because I’m suffering from a case of blogging block. Yes, you heard it first here—this is the newest ailment to strike writers, and something else we have to worry about.
A bit of background: When I sold my first book, back in the early 1990’s, shortly after the Mayflower landed, my far more businesslike husband Ken smiled and said, “Congratulations, dear. Now you have a new job.” That new job, of course, was moving from the long, silent, thoughtful time spent writing my books (and my ten years in the unpublished writer’s corner) to the arena of publicity and promotion.
Had I but known! That was the pre-social media era. The pre-webpage era. It was a time when a writer wasn’t expected to be always on. On tour. On Facebook. On twitter. On message. Taking cute photos for her Pinterest page and generally studying with a bunch of experts about how to perfect the “Buy My Book” dance. Back then, talking about the book was much more about writing and storytelling and not the cult of personality.
Flash forward a couple of decades. I still can’t dance. I still hate having my picture taken. I still cling to the Flaubertian idea that the work should speak for itself and the author should disappear into the woodwork. But now I clash with everything that pundits, experts, friends, neighbors, strangers, and the checkout clerk at the grocery store would say: Authors must have a platform. They must be branded. They must find ways to use publicity, in particular social media, to connect with readers because this where readers, especially younger ones, are finding and buying their books.
It will no longer suffice to say: But I have a book due on July 1st and I’m way behind. Blogs must be written. Promotion must go on. But when I sat down to write my overdue post, I found myself staring at a blank page.
How to overcome blogging block? There are the obvious things to do. Take a walk. Take another walk. Take a shower. Great ideas always arrive in the shower, don’t they? Perhaps there is that never fail solution—take a drink. But it not yet eight in the morning and we are not Hemingway. Eat chocolate? Drift over to ebay and buy a pair of shoes? Ah, but some of you are guys, and perhaps this won’t work for you.Take a course, class, citizens’ police academy? Then there is surfing the net.
Yup. This is the solution. Lacking clever ideas of my own, and hating self-promotion more than having a root canal, I look to others to see what they’re saying about social media. Today’s fishing expedition yields up some great food for thought.
First, from my friends over at Jungle Red Writers, a fascinating guest post on Branding. I don’t want to do it.
Maybe you don’t want to do it, but check out Chris Tieri’s great advice here:
http://www.jungleredwriters.com/2015/03/are-you-branded.htmlThen, because controversy is good for all of us first thing in the morning (remember that 8:00 a.m. philosophy class in college?) yesterday my friend Barbara Ross posted a deliciously controversial piece at Maine Crime Writers, about publicists and fiction.
Four Lies that Publicists Will Tell You http://wp.me/p1GTyX-45A
So read these. Ponder on the points they make. Maybe you will be inspired to brand yourself, challenge commonly held beliefs, or just crawl under a chair and moan. And then, get back to writing. Because if you haven’t written anything, you won’t have stuff to brag about, promote, and agonize over. And you won’t have to wonder what is the best way to brand you.