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SELF PROMOTION
THE WRITER'S WAY

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the writers way jen frankel SELF PROMOTION
THE WRITER'S WAY

by Jen Frankel

There are a lot of reasons that the "Writers Way" is not an easy one. It's a road without a lot of signposts, for one thing, and there aren't a whole lot of people to ask for directions, if you're even the kind of person who doesn't mind doing so.

There's also the problem of the common impression that an artist owns what he or she makes, exclusively of everyone else in the world. That's all very well, but only if your satisfaction comes from being the only consumer of your own work.

The concept of the "auteur" has gotten way out of control in our society, probably as an extreme reaction to the utter commercialism of so much of what otherwise might be interesting art from interesting people. Overexposure is bad for photos, and just as damaging to people.

Still, some exposure is necessary, because while making art might have something in common with growing mushrooms, you don't want to leave the fruits (or fungus) of your labor in the dark sitting in a box of manure, which is really the best we're capable of in the vacuum of our own egos.

Art, in my opinion, is not really finished until it goes out into the world. It's always a great and admirable thing to express yourself creatively, but the last step, the one that solidifies a piece of your personal output, is to release it into the cold light of day.

For many people, that's also the hardest thing. Truth is though, it's both the best and worst part of doing art:

. . .Art is fifty percent what the artist puts in it, and fifty percent what the observer brings when viewing it. . .this is wonderful, when you decide you want to be an artist or a writer or something, and then find that showing anybody anything is like cutting off an arm, giving it to someone, then every time you go over to that person's house, you find they're using it for something completely wrong, like they've got it stuck in an umbrella stand or holding up a bunch of peas in the garden or something.I mean, when I do something, I want it to say what I want it to say. I don't want to be mistaken, misused, mishandled. I want you to understand, from my point of view, what I meant when I meant it. Even if I don't mean it now.

--- from Talking Drum (stage play, Jen Frankel)

Self-promotion is also a bitch. Seriously a bitch. We spent all that time writing our book; why should we be responsible for telling people about it too?

Unfortunately, two hard truths apply here. First, is that no one is as capable as you of believing in your own creation. Second, no one understands it like you.

If you're like me, you'll probably need that input from your audience for more than just proof of end-use. You'll need to share your work just to get how to sell it to the world. You need that outside perspective to solidify your own impressions of what you've created.

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The greatest blocks to success for an artist are, strangely and apparently contradictorily, lack of self-confidence and overblown ego. The first stops us from showing our work to others, and the second discounts their impressions when we do. You have to find the middle place with ego, to listen effectively to feedback, no matter how critical, then evaluate it based on what you truly know about your own work.

All right, enough of the philosophy. What I'm really here for today is to bring you into my favorite world, or at least to get you to bring it temporarily into yours.

I started writing "The Last Rite" after a particularly vivid dream when I was 13, the same age as the novel's heroine, Maggie Stuart. Maggie is Everygirl, only maybe a little more so. She's having a hell of a time at elementary school: crushing on an unapproachable classmate, dealing badly with her single mom and homelife, and trying hard to deny she'd ever want to fit in.

Enter Mr. Hunt, Maggie's science teacher, who uses the cover of a lesson on blood typing to run some tests of his own. What he discovers about Maggie launches her into a world she could never have dreamed of, an underground of magic, blood, death, deceit, and self-discovery where it may be her own deep insecurity that provide her only way home.

"I have been waiting for this book to come out for like 4 or 5 years.. i need more!!!"

"The characters kept me up all night until I was done!"

"When will there be MORE??!?!?!Still one of the best books i have EVER read!"

"Awesome story, so complex and intricate. I love it!"

--Some of the feedback from Maggie Fans

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