So the outcome of my talk with Saga Fiction Publishers, is that they don’t have the marketing strength to take on my books. AKA I don’t have a large enough social media presence. We also realised that my fiction was for another demographic than they were focusing on.
I have been reflecting on that since October …
Do I write or be a social media influencer?
It seems, after talking to some fellow book and play writers that publishers have been asking that question increasingly. It’s not enough to have won a writing prize (Just Imagine Short Story Competition, for A Traveller’s Daughter). It’s not enough to have done creative writing courses (St Andrew’s MA, and Curtis Brown course).
I do not intend this post to be a rant about changing technologies and curcumstances. I have been writing for over twenty years. You used to have to post things away on paper and pay for postage, so the industry has improved in that sense. I am still waiting for them to do away with cover letters and just read the writing.
I really enjoyed the Curtis Brown writing course with David Nicholls. We watched videos, read and did tasks. The feedback from Anthony Trevelyn was invaluable. It gave me the confidence in my writing.
This high was swiftly followed by the realisation that I can’t get traditionally published unless I have a following on social media. I have always focused more on my writing, as that is the most important aspect (to actually write).
Social media dilemma
Now, I am told I should have also spent the last twenty years posting online. Hmmm. My current focus is my quality of life. I love gardening, writing (of course), reading, and seeing my friends and family. I detest social media and all the posing involved. I’m not a pouty, glam person. I’m a writer.
Returning to university as a mature student has improved the depth of my writing. But I’m going to save time here and type and post without editing, cause life is happening all around us. Not on this screen. Any time spent here takes away from the business of living (in my experience). Which may resonate with those of us who grew up without mobiles, computers and the Internet.
I had hoped that lockdown would lead people to spend more time with loved ones, and reading, and less on social media. Has it?
Social media a publisher’s perspective
I understand from a publisher’s perspective because they want to sell books. But I feel sceptical that if we spend time learning marketing, social media, etc., etc., when does the writing happen? I am downsizing my life, so no thanks. I will provide a link in my books so people can get a little freebie short story when they sign up to the mailing list. But I am drawing a firm No under this one. I am not a social media celebrity, neither do I want to be one. I want to write, write, read, and write. So … perhaps like H.C. Andersen I will die in obscurity. But popularalism isn’t for me, isnae, as we say in Scotland. I don’t need fame, and if some readers find my books in the millions of other works out there great.
I wish you pleasant reading. And a full life away from the screens that try to dominate our lives if we let it.