Unfortunately, in the wide world of writers, my plumage just doesn't glitter and hum. I'm more of the vintage of a Ptarmigan, I sort of adapt to the surroundings. I have been told that in today's world, a writer needs to display their feathers, give them a good shake so they are noticed. Some agents even claim they do not represent authors who do not have an established platform. In more direct terms, those who aren't out there on all the social networks getting noticed. Which is why I bothered to start this website. In case no one notices, I'm platforming, or something like that.
Yet its a struggle. I just cannot sit here giving advice and waving a banner about my books. I would like people to read them. More than that, I would love it if they enjoy them. Writing is something I love to do, so creating stories is just an everyday part of my life. Now that I have self published, and I am attempting, once again, to query some other works, I've snuck out of the closet a little to share my work. I haven't quite come out waving a pair of tightie-whities on the end of coat hanger in surrender, but I also did not leap out with a boa around my neck singing "I did it my way."
I don't know what to say to make my writing more enticing to others, except "Try it, you might like it." All around me however, there are authors who are rolling out books left and right, never once flinching from the chance to jump up and down, telling everyone, this is the book they need to read, next. So where does one find the confidence in their work to promote it everywhere they turn? Sit down for five minutes over coffee and they've pitched their book and gotten a blood oath from you to promise to read it, preferably tomorrow. Even if they have self-published all their works, they freely identify themselves as a writer. Never a landscaper who writes.
Somewhere, my sense of confidence got misplaced. It is not that I don't enjoy sharing my writing with others, but I just cannot find the courage to claim that everything I write, others will want to read. I think I can write fairly well, at least grammatically correct, with the chance to get to know the characters and their situation, in a flowing fashion that doesn't bore the reader to tears. But does that mean just because I wrote it, that everyone will want to read it? Does it mean anyone will want to read it? How does a writer answer that question? It is an important question to me.
Others may claim a writer must be true to themselves. To a degree, I agree with that assessment. By the same token, if I am only concerned about pleasing myself with what I write, I can go back to doing that in obscurity. It would eliminate all the sundry other writing that doesn't lend itself to a completed story, like writing blogs. This is just the musings of an unstable mind, and hardly qualifies as novel quality. I feel if I publish, I need to please my readers, not myself. I need to be certain they have something good and enjoyable if someone is going to part with a few bucks to read it. Heck, even if I gave away all my works, I still feel the reader deserves something from me.
So when the agents say they want to feel the confidence of the writer, I would love to ask them which site I can find that on. Is it very expensive to purchase? Does the cost work out like some of those life insurance policies where you pay a certain amount for a fixed unit? If so, I wonder how many units I might need to get up to a reasonable level of assurance.
It is hard, even with the new era of publishing options to get a book noticed. It may even be harder than before, since many readers are leery of those are not be from a big publisher with a large promo campaign behind it. They may have been burned by some less than quality work or figure if a person cannot attract the attention of the big boys, then they aren't worth their time and money. For all I know, they may be right. However, I have been blessed to discover some excellent Indy writers who I think are far above average quality. I still would like to discover the honest reactions of my readers, to determine if I might have a reason to boost my confidence a bit before I count myself among those who truly deserve the title of 'author, writer'.
Some time ago, I watched American Idol, marveling that people were convinced of their excellence when they sounded worse than my dog howling at sirens. To me, it is a little the same with writing. There are authors who preen and display their tail feathers, regardless of the quality of their work. At the same time I am amazed by their self-delusion, I am also in awe in their conviction of their skill. I don't know if I can yet achieve that level of certainty; at least until I am certain I am not really in the category of self-delusion.