Since I finished writing my first novel a couple of years ago, I’ve joined lots of websites connected with writing, marketing, reviewing, peer-reviewing and reading – always with the intention of taking part in an active manner. After all, this is what new writers are told they should do, isn’t it? Get out there. Become recognised. Be controversial. Get noticed. Sell yourself because that’s what will sell your books.
Over the years and months since then, I’ve been more than a little tardy in keeping up with what’s going on on these sites resulting in me feeling just a little bit guilty. Not that there is any particular reason why I should feel guilty. If I make a commitment to read and/or review any other writer’s work, I honour that commitment. I don’t make promises I can’t keep. I don’t write dishonest reviews. If I can’t say something good about a writer or a book, I try to keep my mouth firmly closed. If I do write a glowing review, that’s because I loved a book I read and in my view it deserves to do well.
I’ve recently realised that this is as far as I ever want to go because the truth is I Am Not A Natural Joiner. Not only that, I don’t want to be one. I’m happiest tootling along writing, reading and reviewing just the way I do right now. I write what I like, read what I like, and review what I have enjoyed reading. I love helping other writers out if they ask me, and I quite like reading and writing blogs. That Is It.
I can’t stand insincere back-slapping, head-patting and over-hyping of mediocre books by mediocre writers. I don’t like the trolls who start flame-wars, pulling in the unwary and causing them to make fools of themselves by getting involved. I dislike the monumental egos of some writers I see on the sites I am or have been a member of. l hate stuff that stops me from concentrating on what I love most and do best – my writing.
I don’t think I’m alone in this. Lots of writers confess on writing sites that they love writing but hate marketing. If they leave a link to their work, I usually check it out and I’ve found quite a lot of these writers have written great books, which I’ve been happy to buy, read and review.
Readers don’t always want to know every detail of a writer’s life – many are simply looking for good books to read. I’m probably never going to be a rich, famous writer, even though I think I write rather good novels. I can only trust and hope that some people will seek them out, read and enjoy them for what they are.