Certainly, I'm a big believer in writers establishing a strong online presence, and without a doubt I believe that it is essential for the writer-- no matter the size of the publisher or PR firm (or lack of one) behind them-- to engage in thoughtful self-promotion and branding. I believe there is both greater burden placed upon and greater opportunity offered to writers now than ever before. All of that matters in establishing a writing career. But, none of the questions surrounding promotion of writers and writing matter at all without the writer sitting down and actually doing the writing. There is no secret formula, no secret handshake, no hack, no elaborate insight. In fact, the bigger the question facing the writer, the bolder and simpler the answer. Especially one of the biggest questions facing any writer: How do I write something great? You do the work.
I was reminded of this recently when I stumbled across a post in my daily RSS feeds from CopyBlogger: "Charles Bukowski and the Secret to Immortal Writing." The post reveals a quote from Bukowski I've always admired for its simplicity and boldness and truth: "The secret is in the line." Because the truth of the matter is, as I've said, that the greatest publicity budgets and social media campaigns that money can buy might put one on the map, but to write something great and moving and compelling the secret is in the line.
The post concludes:
Sure, Twitter wasn’t around in 1980. And he eventually had John Martin at Black Sparrow Press backing him. But Bukowski himself attributed so much weight to the single line that it eclipsed all else in his philosophy of writing. If the single line was magnificent, the rest would take care of itself.
In a 60,000 word novel, the working focus was on the single line... Not easy. Not fast. But this must certainly be the path to immortal (and powerfully influential) writing.
Amy Guth, email@example.com
Photo: Espressione Pen writing 007. Credit: loomily via Flickr.