What Does It Mean To Be a Writer: A Conversation

Author Ken La Salle
Author Ken La Salle

Guest post
by Ken La Salle

I was having breakfast with a friend the other day and, as it often does, our conversation moved towards my writing career and what recent developments I had to report. As usual, I was full of news about this or that – new articles I was writing, new opportunities I was exploring, and the like.

My friend’s name is Sean. He and I have known each other for quite some time. I could sense a bit of irritation in him, even as I spoke, so I asked him what was on his mind. To my surprise, he didn’t quite know how to put it. “You always talk about all that other stuff. What happened to just writing?” he asked.

I explained to him something I’ve only recently come to terms with myself. “All that other stuff” is what being a writer is all about. Pick any publisher at random and they’ll tell you what they want: A writer with a platform, with a following, with an audience. Being a writer in the 21st century means putting just as much work into cultivating those things as I put into the actual writing. Continue reading “What Does It Mean To Be a Writer: A Conversation”

Branded by J.L. Murray

Author J. L. Murray

In my travels in the last year as an indie writer, I’ve learned a thing or two about selling my books. I’ve also learned what not to do. What to do and what not to do are what you always hear bloggers and writers screaming from the rooftops. It’s mostly people getting their panties in a bunch about spamming and establishing your brand. After a while, it makes your ears bleed, you hear it so many times. Spamming I get. It’s annoying. People don’t like to have their nose rubbed in your book. But branding? It just sounds painful and unnecessary to me. Like professional wrestling. Or dating Donald Trump.

No matter how many times I hear it, building a brand sounds more and more like a race car driver, plastering Pepsi and Conoco stickers all over his car and his person. This is what I think of when people talk about brands. Like writers are walking around with stickers all over their nobbly sweaters reading Paranormal Romance and Rock and Roll Horror Fiction and Zombie Erotica. Which makes me think that maybe the so-called gurus that tell us what do do may not have it right. What if these people telling you what to do are (gasp!) wrong? That would mean, of course, that I’m probably wrong, but if you’re familiar with my brand, that might not surprise you.

Maybe, just maybe, we should worry less about the brand and more about the writing. Continue reading “Branded by J.L. Murray