I'm going to post the TED talk with Amanda Palmer here because, wow, it is SO good! It is worth the 14 minutes of your time to watch it, I promise!
I love what she has to say about trust vs risk, and how it comes down to CONNECTION. The things her fans have done for her, all over the world, in the spirit of connection, is so very wonderful. It proves that there are a lot of good people in the world.
There should be no shame in asking for what we need sometimes. I try really hard to connect with my readers. I answer every e-mail, every letter, every facebook post, as many tweets as I can, because I honestly like being connected to my readers. It reminds me that what I do matters. And yet, when it's time for me to start promoting a new book, I dread it. I dread anything that remotely says - please, buy my book!
I think she's right - there is an art to asking. And I have not quite figured that art out yet. But I honestly want to learn, so if anyone has any tips, lay 'em on me!
I find it interesting that readers have no trouble asking me to continue to write my books, however. Perhaps it is because in the same sentence they often say something flattering, like: You are so awesome, please keep writing books. It's a compliment that way, yes? So maybe I should write back: And I think you are amazing, so please buy my books. :) I don't know - it doesn't have quite the same ring to it, does it?
The thing is, and maybe this will sound corny, but when I get a note from a reader who says I love you and your work, I DO love them back. And I love that they felt moved enough to write to me. And mostly I wish we could just do this whole book business on a model of love, because wouldn't that be so much more pleasant? Alas, if only I could buy tea and cookies and dog food and college tuition and Lucy yoga pants with love.
I'll always keep writing. Whether or not a publisher will continue to buy them is the question. In a way, Amanda and I are a lot alike. My novels-in-verse are different. Her music is different. And what's hard is that different doesn't always sell the way "mainstream" does.
But the people who do buy, they've got a lot of love in their heart! So what do I do? I write another story. It's my way of saying, I love you too. And I hope and pray it's good enough to make an editor take a chance on it.
I'm happy for Amanda Palmer and all of her success. She seems like a lovely person. Plus, hello, she's married to Neil Gaiman, who is another very lovely person! (I saw him give his Newbery speech live at ALA a couple of years ago and he is so charming yet very down-to-earth too.)
Peace and love,