Mark sent me three guest posts to choose from, and I couldn't decide which I liked, so you're going to see him two more times on my blog.
My friend, author DM Yates, says you should believe in yourself. Don’t deny it, DM! I have it in writing.
Confidence, that’s what it’s all about. Some people have too much of it; some too little. Very few people have just enough.
With writers it’s usually too little, but in a weird, multiple personality kind of way. Most of us tend to have low confidence levels; most of us also tend to be introverts, and I suspect they’re connected.
And yet we write, and we hope someone else will take time out of their busy lives to read that writing. We sit at our laptops/typewriters/notebooks with two voices screaming in our ears like the little angel and devil from all the movies. One screams, “You have something to say! Something interesting!” The other screams even louder, “What makes you think people will waste their time reading you! You’re boring, and it’s all been done before. You’re writing is worthless, and your feet stink. I know, I was just down there polishing my pitchfork.”
Then, if we manage to fight our way past the little devil voice and actually get something published, we discover it’s time to promote. Promote what? Ourselves.
So there we are, the low confidence introverts, forced to stand on a tree stump and yell, “Look at me! Look at me! My book is worth reading, even though there are 5,223,191 books selling better than mine on Amazon!”
Then we start drinking heavily, and no one understands why.
And yet so many of us persevere. Why? There are now ten published books with my name on them. (Eight of my own, two anthologies.) If the publishing business is so hard, and I have to struggle so much to convince myself that people will want to read me—let alone convincing the actual people—how do I do it?
Well, that’s simple: I don’t think about it.
You know the old saying that not thinking about a problem doesn’t make it go away? Absolutely true. But I don’t think about publishing while I’m writing. I worry about it later, and by that time I have a book written, so I might as well get it out into the world.
I just encapsulated my entire publishing career, right there.
The only thing to add is that as I’ve gotten published, sold copies, and seen my work praised, I’ve gained confidence. I’m more likely to take risks in what I write about, and I’m better able to justify putting time into my writing career. That’s resulted in those ten books, over the space of just five years.
My newest is a humor book about Indiana history, and if I’d thought about that in publishing terms I’d never have started the thing. Publishers don’t want humor books unless they’re by people who are already famous. Readers don’t seem to be reading humor. Nobody seems to learn from history.
Thank you, Mark. Great post, wasn't it? And he's so right. It's a tough industry but we write because our muses refuse to quit nagging us to publish. The promoting part is the hardest so let's help each other out and support one another.
Grab one of his books. They all make great reads. I'm reading 'Hoosier Hysterical' right now and loving it, so I recommend that. Just click on the book above and it'll take you to Amazon where you can read more of the book or purchase it.
Follow Mark and his lovely wife Emily. He's well worth your time:
Love, honor, and respect to all