I sent a newsletter out last night, to my teeming list of six (count ’em all!) mailing list subscribers. It was a surprisingly nerve-wracking experience, which lines up with my general experience of self-promotion. In other news, I sometimes vomit before or after interviews.
The point of doing the newsletter, even though I don’t really have a lot of writing career to promote at the moment, is to get some practise at the marketing side of the business. It’s an interesting aspect of a professional writing career that I’ve never given any real consideration, for the very sensible reason that why would I? But on the off chance I ever stumble into some modicum of success as a writer, I’d rather have built up some of the basic non-writing skills that prop up the career.
Having a well-maintained mailing list is one of the things every discussion of book marketing mentions sooner or later, whether the author in question is traditional or self-published. Members of a mailing list are self-selecting volunteers who want to be there (if they didn’t, they’d unsubscribe), which makes them more likely to be receptive to your personal news than all your cousins on Facebook or all the random fashion bots that follow you on Twitter.
Besides which, I’ve missed writing wacky amateurish ‘zines, which I’ve hardly done at all since high school.
Another reason included the first episode of what I currently plan to be long-running serial adventure. I figure if I’m going to have a mailing list, I want to make it worth clicking on. It doesn’t hurt that having an outside obligation means I’m much more likely to finish a piece of work than if I leave it to my own devices.
The big reason to put out a newsletter, if I’m being much too blunt for my own comfort , is that I crave an audience. I want people to hear what I have to say. Or no, not even that, because the existence of blogs and social media more than adequately provides a soapbox sounding off about whatever. What I really hope for is confirmation, however transitory and slight, that I possess the minor super-power of being entertaining or at least amusing through the medium of storytelling.
I’m like that kid (i.e. me) who ties the towel around his neck, climbs up on the shed and jumps off in the hope that this time he’ll fly. And then does it again, and again, and again. 
That sounds self-deprecating and defeatist, but it’s not intended that way. It’s painfully apparent to me, from observation of my own habits as a consumer of art, that it’s very difficult for writers, musicians and artists of every other stripe  to capture the attention of an audience, or to hold it for more than a moment. The world is too busy, too loud, too crowded with distractions. It’s hard to stand out. And like all things that are hard, it takes time and work (and probably a lot of mistakes) before you can get better at it.
Don’t get me wrong. I absolutely subscribe to the notion that creating art is a worthwhile pursuit in its own right. But that doesn’t mean I want to or should have to create in a vacuum. Art is much more interesting and compelling to me as a conversation between unique voices than as the isolated mutterings of a lonely madman. Even if the conversation is barely about a murmur at the moment, I’d still prefer to be having it with other people.
Anyway, if you’re reading this and you missed out, you can still go over to my author website and subscribe. I’ll resend the April newsletter in a week or two to any late signups, so you won’t miss out on the first part of Orphans’ Moon.
 As I typed this I was very, very uncomfortable and maybe a little bit nauseated
 And each time, assuming this isn’t the time he breaks his damn fool leg or worse, he gets a little bit better at tucking and rolling on impact.
 Poets are especially fucked. I’m glad I’m not trying to be a poet.