Now that my book tour is almost over, I am doing most of my publicity for my new novel through online marketing. And I feel downright awkward about asking fb comrades to buy my book. For instance, is fb the right place to sell books? Like most of my friends, I ignore fb ads–in fact, all online ads– and yet I find myself still doing this kind of self-promotion and feeling ashamed.
My queasy feelings led me to a blog by Paulo Coelho, perhaps the most famous online author in the world, with millions of followers. (http:/paulocoelhoblog/com) He says we are living through another technological revolution that’s comparable to Gutenburg and the printing press.
Coelho also says that writers are afraid of social networks and they don’t have to be because the networks offer contact with readers, and that for the writer, is food for the soul. “We are living a new Renaissance, if only we could see it …We do not like being romantic, but romanticism is here again …where people start both thinking and sharing differently…”
I had a humble feeling writing The Western Light. I felt like I was a solo voice in the swarm of humanity and my voice just happened to be telling a story and that maybe my story could speak for a lot of other voices. When I wrote my other novels, I felt like I was writing for a literary audience. My old literary feeling seems to have gone. Why? Maybe Paul Coelho is right. We are thinking and sharing differently so my notion of myself as a novelist is morphing into something less familiar but nonetheless satisfying. Get over yourself, I hear myself saying. You always were a voice among millions–you just didn’t encounter dramatic proof of this fact before the Internet. It doesn’t mean what you have to say is any less vital.
So I like Coelho’s idea of a new romantic age. But is flogging my novel on Facebook OK? What do you think? I’m still puzzling that out.