As I've been learning how to up my book selling game, one thing has come to the forefront that I cannot deny: I must network.
For me, that's just the final joke at the end of a hard road. All my life, I have been a poor networker. I have struggled and I have failed.
In school, I had trouble as I brought negative social cred to any group that I was part of. By that, I mean that the group could immediately up its social cred by pushing me out. I wasn't just a wash on the whole social network, I was a drag, and generally perceived as an irredeemable one at that. In fact, I think it fair to say that in almost every group that I've interacted with, I've had a horrible time integrating.
Now I write books. Now I want to sell them. How to do that? How do I reach an audience? How do I reach reviewers? How do I get anybody to read anything that I've written? How got get anyone to lay down $$$?
According to expert wisdom, I should build a mail list so that I can announce my novels. That sounds terrific, but only in theory. Who would want to be on the mail list? If nobody is buying or taking what I have to give away, who would sign up for the list? All that I've really done is move my networking problem to a new node. There won't be folks signing up for a mailing list because another part of the circle isn't working. Walk a bit more around the circle again, and I find a new snag.
I suppose that I will eventually work through this circle enough times so that everything works, but it's damned frustrating getting there. You could call me a bitter loser jealous of everyone else's success if you want to, and I don't blame you, but in the end such flat sentiments do a disservice to both of us. You've created a binary instead of acknowledging the emotional difficulty in striving towards something difficult.
Meanwhile, in sports, you would accept "no pain, no gain." In sports, difficulties are just expected along the way and that in no way diminishes the athlete. Every athlete gets frustrated, wants to throw in the towel, hates the system, and screams in rage even as they stay in love with the game.
The same goes for a writing business. Like any athlete, you must constantly perform up to a high potential. If you drop, there's someone to take your place. If your new, you have to rise above the crowd to get in. All the while, you must learn all sorts of skills to get there.
This skill of social networking, for me, its' a daunting one. I feel like I'm starting below the floor.