Monday, August 5, 2013
I No Longer Fight It
The number always causes a jolt of alarm, but my system has been honed. I’ve learned to weed out the many pleas to “buy my book,” the other ads that have escaped my “junk” radar, and repeat messages. Still, a good portion of my mail comes in digest form from writers’ listservs. These I quickly scan, reading those I consider important. News that someone’s sold a book or won a contest is important. I send congratulations, because that’s important, too.
Then it happens. Though I can’t possibly read or respond to the many blog posts that come my way, I stop to read those that strike my interest. Then, more often than not, I’ll leave a comment. Sure, occasionally it’s to get the chance to win a free book, but more often it’s because the subject hits a nerve and discusses a topic dear to my heart. We writers forge close alliances and good friendships. Leaving comments on blogs and Facebook is an important way of staying in touch with the people who best understand what we do all day.
The writing world is in constant flux. Emails keep me informed of the new marketing outlets and tools we writers must master to get the word out about our books. I ignore the ones that cost money, but so many are free.
And who can resist the offers of free books for my Kindle? I ask for ARCs of books that appeal to me. I do my best to read them all, but I’ll have to live to at least two hundred before I can read all the books—paper and ebooks—awaiting my attention. Of well, this should be my worst addiction.
And there’s the genuine work-related emails that require immediate attention: Filling out a marketing questionnaire for a possible sale to a new publisher. Responding to bloggers looking for guest bloggers. Signing up for an occasional free webinar. Putting up my own blogs and emailing everyone about it.
I’m in constant touch with a group of fellow writers. So many of our exchanges are off topic. We joke, discuss outrageous things we’ve read in the news, complain about what’s bothering us, and share recipes. Of course we help one another with all writer-ly matters. One needs only to toss out a question and the suggestions and support come racing back. Where does one draw the line between what’s important for a writer’s well-being and what’s good for her craft?
Actually, I feel like a Twenty-First Jane Austen when I go through my email each morning. She wrote her letters by hand and sent them on their way. Emails are faster. I often get responses from my fellow writers who are also sitting at their computers. With all this support and bolstering, I feel better equipped to start my writing day.