ah, yeah, that question.
the question that’s at the heart of every writer that puts pen to paper, finger to key. sure, the bigger question is, naturally, what if they don’t care, but cripes, that’s the fear everyone with a passion has.
i mean, you write for yourself, yes, up to a point, but then there’s the time when you have to get it out there or make the decision that you’re a hobbyist, and no more.
and that’s fine, that’s rad.
but it’s not what many of us want to do.
it’s not what i want to do.
i have stories to tell, so i want to tell my stories.
so, back to the question?
if you are lucky enough to produce something you can market or sell (and dammit, ANYONE can make something to sell, and to me, you sorta have to, to get a feel for who the work is for, and how you need to market the book works and yourself) then you immediately face the fear of what happens if no one wants to buy it.
whati f no one cares?
and ain’t that the bitch of it?
what IF no one cares?
well, fuck it, right?
you keep doing what you’re doing and you push on. in this big old world, tastes are varied and hell, someone out there will get what you’re doing.
someone will want to see the world the way you see it.
but, you know what, you’ll never sell unless you get the work out there.
and in this, i mean beyond just sending off a story or a manuscript to a faceless person.
i mean SELLING it.
now, this won’t work for everyone, and i know that, but i come from a weird background. i approach writing and more the sale and promotion of it from a comic book nerd’s perspective. i cut my teeth doing ‘zines and learned promotion from comic con’s and comic nerds. in that world you HAVE to get yourself out there, you HAVE to get your work out there. and the only way to do that, is to do the conventions, and to that, i added art shows.
so for me, i try to find indie art events or comic cons i can become a part of so i can get my work into people’s hands. the only way i know whether or not i am connecting with readers, and hell, if i have saleable stuff.
a lot of people spend their lives writing and then put the stories or manuscripts in a drawer and it seems like such a waste. if you want to write for yourself, then fine, by all means, do it, but dammit, if you have something to say, then fucking SAY IT!
so what if people don’t buy it?
don’t rely on writing as a career.
so what if people don’t like it?
ever hear of, oh, well, EVERY ARTIST EVER?
no one is universally loved, and so what?
what you want, what i want, is to connect with someone. i mean, you know what, if i don’t write stuff that the masses will love, then so what? i guess i better get a good day job, eh?
but the point is to get the work out there.
find the voice.
find the venue.
find the market.
me, i am not satisfied with waiting to see if i can find magazines or books or places to get published. those are the end results i want to have some day, but for me, it’s getting to people that matters, by any means necessary. i took a page from the comic world (and indie book world) and have made up chapbooks and push those every chance i get. (think of a chapbook as a small story sampler folded in the middle so it looks like a small book. it’s a smaller format, with less pages, but it’s a good way to give a feel for what you do.)
i don’t LIKE to sell, and i don’t push it, but i have to remember, and always remember, that this is my art, this is my passion, and it’s worth something.
it has value.
i took a long way to get to it but here’s the point –
it’s not about sales, it’s about connection. if a publisher doesn’t get what you are saying…so be it.
if a reader doesn’t…so be it.
if you trust what you are doing
we all need to work on our ‘craft’, if you wanna call it that, but that happens with every day we write, and every day we live.
the trick is having the courage to put your work out there to see what happens, and the insight to know that it doesn’t mean nearly as much as it seems like it does.
success, failure, it’s all relative, and if you love what you’re doing, vocation or avocation, then success is only truly measured by the size of your smile.