The Blogger’s Return

March 19, 2012 at 4:42 pm (Uncategorized) (, , , )

It’s pretty disgraceful that I’ve neglected this blog for three solid months. It’s not because I’ve given up, or because I had nothing to write about; quite the opposite.

I’ve moved from the ‘getting the book published’ part of Scar’s little life into the ‘getting people to actually read it’ part. I thought the publishing was difficult and time consuming, but this marketing game is something else. I’m still pretty early into it, with no major successes of which to speak, so I’m not really in a position yet to tell you what works (though I could tell you a few things that don’t).

But for now, I thought I’d share an article I wrote on the realities of being an artist in the modern age. It was picked up by Thought Catalogue, and I’m told was pretty well-received, judging by comments on twitter. I’ve never really understood twitter myself, so I’ll have to take other people’s word for that.

Anyway, you can read it here:

And while we’re at it, let’s make that my first marketing tip. Write an article. You’re a writer, aren’t you? So write something you can give away for free, and find someone who’ll publish it. Like Thought Catalogue. The internet is a ravenous beast, scouring the earth for fresh content to disseminate, every minute of every day. There are lots of sites like this that will let people write for them. And if people like your article, they’ll repost or retweet or whatever it is people do with articles these days, and suddenly people who have never heard of you, have now heard of you.



  1. Neil said,

    Hey Ryan. Just responding to the comment you left on my blog. I think that’s a pretty great article you wrote on Thought Catalogue, very insightful. And I didn’t read it as pessimism, to be honest. I thought it was a pretty accurate assessment of things as they stand.

    We’re obsessed with labelling things now, and historically (and certainly still in the media, for the most part) it’s as if you’re only allowed to be one thing, and that one thing defines you in the eyes of the world. You’re a writer, or a failed writer, or a painter, or a pole-dancer. But the truth is nobody is any one thing anymore, especially not in the creative sectors. We’re all multi-taskers and self-promoters and writer/ artist/ editor/ script doctor/ admin assistant/ factory worker/ pole dancers. Unless you have a sympathetic and moneyed benefactor, you don’t have the luxury of being one thing anymore. And perhaps that’s for the best. With the Digital Age we are all constantly moving, constantly reinventing, constantly reworking and re-editing. Maybe that means we’ll see less and less Big Writing Legends as time goes on. But maybe it means we’ll see more and more Mini Legends, more Tiny Victories. Who knows. At least we have opportunities.

    Good luck with your novel. I’m following your blog.

    • ryanfrawley said,

      Hi Neil

      Thanks for the reply. I completely agree; people are really only interested in putting others into broad categories, and it goes much further than the arts. It’s why I’ve always found party politics absurd; there’s not a group of people on earth that I agree with on everything, and I don’t make up my mind on an issue based on who I want to be.

      I like your concept of Mini Legends; that’s a good way of putting it. Personally, I can’t decide. I’d love to be able to support myself through writing, not because I hate paid employment – though for the most part, I do – but because I don’t think anyone does their best work in their spare time. I’ll never write the best that I can unless I can devote all my time to it, and I’m sure that’s true of a lot of people. So in that respect, I’d love to be an old-school, publisher’s advance kind of writer.

      But on the other hand, I have a freedom none but the biggest names in traditional publishing had. I’m the only investor in my writing career, and so no one’s going to try and tell me what to write. I may not have as much time to write as I want, but I do have the freedom of the obscure, which is worth a lot.

      On balance, I’d rather be writing now than twenty years ago, for sure. It is a brave new world, and it’s full of possibilities for artists, I’m convinced of that. But I also think that a lot of people don’t realise how much effort it takes now to be heard.

  2. Bryn Hammond said,

    I left a comment on your blog as fed into Goodreads, but I don’t know whether you visit. I’ll cross-post on your real blog.

    I liked your article, even though I’m not altogether sure about where we wind up. The thoughts leap in, yes, but what about the crazy artists you cite? and, was G.K. Chesterton in fact right or talking with the scorn of the untemperamental?

    Now I have imaginings of Dostoyevsky doing his own marketing, and it’s scary – I bet he’d have terrible habits such as we try to stamp out in indies. He was often in frantic need of money for a start, and I fear his vanities might overcome him. No, it’s an ugly picture.

    But back to your book. You have a rare book, although I’ve only read the ebook that I see is half the story, or two-thirds – it still has clout as a ebook, I want to tell you. I’m sorry to hear you’re struggling with getting it out there to people. I do have faith that quality will out… though faith is the right word.

    I’ll tweet you merrily, but I have very few followers and I don’t know what tweets ever did for me. Other than the function of letting off steam in 140 characters, which I enjoy: you get an obsessive little thought out/’onto paper’ and move on.

  3. ryanfrawley said,

    Hi Bryn

    Thanks for commenting, and thanks also for the review you gave Scar on Smashwords. That’s about the nicest things anyone’s ever said about me. You’re liable to make me blush….

    As for the article, I’m not sure where we end up either. I have no answers. I like where things are; I like that anyone can publish, and publish what they want without having to write to a focus group. I like that it’s now possible for an unknown with a good book to get noticed.

    At the same time, you now have seven billion potential competitors. Also, for the most part, the quality still isn’t there. For every self-published writer who can actually write, there a ten self-indulgent hacks who can’t. And that cheapens the whole thing for the rest of us. Is it better than it used to be? I honestly don’t know. I like the pluralism, but I resent the demands it places on a writer to be more than just a writer.

    Thanks for the offer of tweets, but I’m not on twitter. Or I am, but my account’s not active. I just can’t get into it. I have a fantastic publicist, and she’s adamant that I should get on it, so I suppose I will eventaully; but I just don’t get it. And I’m of the generation that’s supposed to get it, so it’s not that. I just can’t seem to see the value in it. It’s interesting that you say you haven’t gained much from Twitter, because I can’t help but feel the same would happen to me. I highly doubt that anybody in the world thinks, “I want to find something new to read. I know, I’ll go on Twitter and buy a book from the person with the most interesting tweet.”

    • Bryn Hammond said,

      It can’t hurt to tweet, I figure – you never know who’s out there – and I do tweets on indies I’ve liked. There is way too much self-advertisement on Twitter – and what use is that, I wonder? But I do get my indie news through Twitter, with links to articles.

      The freedom is a great thing, I think too. No strictures, no ‘career’ laid out for you by contract, no loss of artistic control. Quality is an issue, but… I think quality is an issue on the shop shelves. It’s disheartening when poorly written or unoriginal books are easily published, because they fit a market. I hate to think what has gone unpublished in the past – before indie. Indie can’t be worse than that old situation, in spite of its own messes.

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