Inside Voices

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People ask me why I’m not aggressive with self-promotion and why I walk my own path. This has been on my mind lately, and after posting this to places like my Tumblr account and Google+, thought I’d expand the topic here. I’d also like to say that I’m having problems with my RSS feed, so alerting you in advance.

  • If everybody’s shouting different things, then no one is heard.
  • If everybody’s demanding a unique reaction, then no one will give them the one they want.
  • If everybody’s screaming “Help me!” “Fix this!” “You owe me that!” — then no one gives.
  • If you get bombarded with “Buy me!” “Review me!” “Share me!” from multiple people at the same time, then those acts turn into a chore and an obligation.
  • If you’re fully vested in what people do for you, especially in a social media context, then you get upset by the actions other people take online, jumping to the worst sorts of conclusions.
  • If everybody’s shouting, then they’re all competing. And that, my friends, can be very bad for the craft of writing and reading in general.
  • To me, this is a cacophony of conflicting sounds that hurt the work and the intent therein.

    All the shouting and screaming and yelling in the world doesn’t get people to pay attention to what you’re doing or “validate” you. In many cases, it’s starting to have the opposite effect — right now popularity is influencing what people read, but it’s not always satisfying to them and attention spans wane. The space is changing rapidly and, if you’ve viewed similar trends in the history of publishing, you’ll see that this can’t last. Eventually, the market will get so saturated it’ll tip back in favor of gatekeepers or forever remain fractured in micro-communities. (I believe the former rather than the latter is true.) Remember, everybody thinks they have a book in them. This is not like dentistry. This is writing. If you can type on your keyboard, then you’re physically performing the act of a writer. While it’s not the same thing as the craft of writing, it’s still something anyone “can” do on a basic level.

    The same is true for so-called book publicity. Anyone can own a Twitter or Facebook account. Anyone can say: “BUY MY BOOK!” Combined, it’s making it that much harder for writers, indie or “pro”, to do any sort of publicity because you have to turn up the volume even more.

    Or do you?

    I don’t shout or yell or scream “PAY ATTENTION TO ME NOW!” because I have work to do. I inform, yes, but I’d rather ask than demand. When I have something to promote, I put together a plan. For bigger projects, it’s a larger plan. But it doesn’t happen before the work is done or as an afterthought. I’m careful with it, and there’s a very, very, very important reason why. This work, my friends, is for you. It’s the core of my growing business, but it’s built on relationships. The trust with the reader. The unspoken social contract with my followers. Relationships with editors and publishers and agents.

    This is what I have to give. Not a shout, but a whisper through the pages of every game and story I work on. I will keep whispering. Sometimes, those are soft and barely audible. Other times, they’re loud. But, they’re never silent. I am always whispering.

    Come and listen.

    Come and play.

    Come and wonder.

      Mood: Fifty degrees? It’s a heat wave!
      Caffeinated Beverages Consumed: Blargh-ness.
      Work-Out Minutes Logged Yesterday: Well, there’s this thing called “sore muscles.”
      In My Ears: Hoodoo by Muse.
      Game Last Played: Ascension
      Movie Last Viewed: Ted
      Latest Artistic Project: Need to take pictures…
      Latest Release: “The Button” We Are Dust anthology

    Monica Valentinelli is an author, artist, and narrative designer who writes about magic, mystery, and mayhem. Her portfolio includes stories, games, comics, essays, and pop culture books.

    In addition to her own worlds, she has worked on a number of different properties including Vampire: the Masquerade, Shadowrun, Hunter: the Vigil, Brandon Sanderson’s Mistborn, and Robert E. Howard’s Conan.

    Looking for Monica’s books and games that are still in print? Visit Monica Valentinelli on Amazon’s Author Central or a bookstore near you.

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