Mind if I rant a moment? Shortly, I have to go into smiling author blog tour mode and delicately walk the crooked line between bragging and telling people about myself. Since I’d rather slit wrists than do either, I thought I’d vent my suppressed frustration here, in hopes my smiles will be more genuine next week. And the week after. And the week…
On the whole (Joe Konrath and company excepted), writers tend to be introverts. We write because we can hide in our offices all day and not have to deal with the human race except on paper or monitor. We’re observers. We’re not participants. If we belong to any community, it’s the community of our families and writing friends—people who are close to us and share the same interests, where we feel safe. Generally, we do not seek out complete strangers and attempt to make friends of them.
But this is exactly what publishers expect us to do in these bookstore-less days of on-line selling. Publishers not only expect us to join communities, they think we should develop them. We should be the life of the party on Facebook and Twitter, encourage readers to race around the countryside promoting our books, enact fabulous scavenger hunts for prizes, and otherwise mingle with people we’ve never met. Next thing we know, they’ll expect us to remember names and avatars.
Don’t get me wrong. I love to discuss books with readers. I prefer to do it anonymously. I do not like being the feted lion expected to perform. If I liked attention, I’d be a politician and do something about the dire state of the world. But I’m a writer. I spend seventy hours a week painfully building word upon word, searching research files, dictionaries, and thesauruses (thesaurii?) for just the right phrase to say what I mean. I am not glib or witty or the life of the party. If anything, I’m a cynical curmudgeon. My characters can be glib and witty, but only after hours of my hard work.
I am perfectly aware that some writers are very good at spinning tall tales and increasing their audience by dragging readers into their firelight. I wish I could be one of those authors. But charismatic, I am not. I’ll happily lecture readers on the flaws of the world. I can write brilliant diatribes on why voters are idiots and politicians are thieves. I can talk about anyone else but myself. But would you want to buy a book from someone like that? I thought not.
Tomorrow, I’ll smile and say, “I wrote the book THE LURE OF SONG AND MAGIC because…” And then I’ll lie, because that’s what I do for a living.
How many of you read authors on a blog tour? And do you do so just for the free books?