Thursday, June 25, 2015

What are you reading just for fun?

I decided I want an escape reading book for the weekend--yes, yes, I have plenty of work on my desk, but it's time for a break. I keep a list of books to read but few struck me as right, so I turned to Amazon and searched for cozy mysteries by date of publication. First of all there were at least ten pages, maybe more, of books which I could pre-order. Some as far out as January 2016. I wish I could learn to post mine for pre-order, something I'll have to explore. The one mystery I self-published went live almost the minute I sent it in--which really wasn't what I had in mind.
Finally I got to the new books. I scrolled through perhaps another 15 pages recognizing only one or two authors. Since I really want escape reading for this weekend, I wasn't willing to order a sample chapter of an unknown--though I like to do that to support authors I don't know.
But I was surprised I knew so few--I'm an active member of Sisters in Crime and consider myself fairly knowledgeable about who's writing mysteries. What this tells me is that the field is so crowded that it's a wonder any of us sell one book--except to friends and relatives. No wonder marketing and social media are so important today.
But therein lies the rub. In such a crowded field, how do you make yourself stand out? Darned if  I know. I like social media, like blogging, spend way too much time on Facebook. But I'm a storyteller, not a marketer. I want to get to the business of writing and not spend my day on social media.
I  read several posts today from writers who were thinking of chucking it all. They run into a brick wall selling their work, they beat themselves up trying to keep up with social media--all for little or no rewards either monetary or audience reaction.
What's the answer? What if anything do you say to these discouraged authors? For readers, there are a couple of answers--write book reviews on Amazon and Goodreads, spread the word. And email the author--you can find "Contact" pages on most authors Web site. Let them know you read and enjoyed their books.
As for quitting writing, I can't imagine it. I write because that's how I live. I don't think I could not write. I'd wake up in the morning and think, "Omigosh, what am I going to do with the day?" As it is I wake up thinking, "Okay, what's keeping me from writing today?" Too many distractions. I can see giving up social media--or some of it--but not writing. It's who I am.
So watch for a chili book and a new novel this fall. I'm trudging on--and trying to encourage my fellow authors.

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