I sort-of watch my teenagers play video games together. They talk trash while making little square-headed men jump up and down. The ceiling fan goes ninety miles an hour over my head, drying my eyes out as it always does, because our T.V. puts off heat.
As I listen to the kids argue about which avatar is the lamest, I think about the uncomfortable position writers are in now. Gone are the days when an author wrote a book and let a publishing house handle the marketing. Now they’re expected to “promote themselves.”
Promote: to cheerlead for a team made up of oneself.
It turns out, I really don’t want to do it, along with lots of other creative types.
A book launch guy, a big name who knows what he’s talking about, tried to convince me I should think of marketing as being “relentlessly helpful” instead of salesperson-y.
Thing is, I don’t know how to be relentlessly helpful–to anyone, not even myself.
No matter how you slice it, marketing is saying, “You should pay attention to this thing over here that I made that you should buy.” To a crowded room.
And when everyone is saying the same thing about different things, the room gets loud.
And I don’t want to say any of it.
If it were enough, what I’d say is, I write books I care deeply about and labor over. I want to share them with you.
But I’m not sure that’ll cut it.
These are the things I think through as I watch my kids grow up in our living room.