If it looks like a duck, and floats like a duck, but doesn’t smell like a duck, is it a duck? Or is it a decoy? A fake duck? Perhaps a wannabe duck.
You’re a writer – you know how it goes. You pour your heart and soul into your work, you polish every single word, and then you launch it out into the world. But… how?
Once I was in a restaurant and the waitress asked me what I wanted. I told her I’d been thinking about the turkey sandwich, to which she replied “and what did you decide?”
I used to think that the difference between writers and folks who thought they’d like to take a stab at writing is that writers write. I still believe that to be true, but perhaps not as thoroughly true as I once thought.
Suppose you wrote your brains out, but shoved all your work into the furnace and sent it up in flames? If no one reads it, did it have meaning?
Obviously it did to you, but only to you. You’re a writer – you have a story to tell. If you don’t tell it, or if you tell it only to yourself, well, are you a writer?
It’s a long way to get to the point that we must publish. My books are at Smashwords – yes, that was a shameless plug, but it illustrates a point.
Once upon a time we would hawk our words to agents who would hawk our words to publishers who would bring our words to the world at large. In Shakespeare’s time, Will had to hawk his words to his publisher – there was no agent – and together they hawked his words to the world.
I’m thinking that Mr. Shakespeare’s paradigm has returned, now that the writer’s world has turned into a Wild West of Self Publishing.
I found this great website, run by Joanna Penn, called the Creative Penn. Her site is full of good ideas and great tools and is generally a lot of fun to wander about. While I don’t know Ms. Penn, and only recently discovered her site, I believe there is a lesson there for us all.
You, my writer friend, and I, unless we are to be mistaken for decoys, or wannabe ducks, must actively, and intensely, pursue the task of hawking our words to the world. It’s up to you and me.
Unless we do that, I believe that we are deceiving ourselves into thinking that we are somehow successful authors for having published ourselves. While that is truth, it an incomplete and rather shallow truth.
You, my friend, and I, must embrace the fact that if we do not actively market our work, we do not, in fact, smell like a duck.
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