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One of today's ironies is that despite all the money and time publishers expend making a book, they spend so little promoting it*. That is left mostly to the writer — which might be fine except that promotion and writing are two different skill sets.

Now some writers are born promoters. They are savvy, personable, and really know how to woo people. They network, schmooze, and create buzz. They understand how to make a sale. I’ve met some of these folks, and I am in awe of them.

And then there are folks like me.

I am not a great schmoozer. I am a worse networker. And wooing isn’t my strongest personality trait. That’s because you put me in a conversation, and I seem to lose my improvisation skills. At some point I will say or do something stupid and realize it only a beat or two after I could fix it.

I really can be clever and witty, and come up with light banter and brilliant responses. After the fact. I rehash that conversation and think, “What I should have said was. . .”

That’s why I became a writer.

I can create those conversations on the page and make them funny or sad or poignant or silly, and make them look easy — as if this was the way people behave. But to get there, I had to write the scene, add a sentence here, remove several there, change the words around, until finally I had something that flowed. Then I let the scene sit, for days or weeks or months, and revisited it to decide whether I shouldn’t just cut it out entirely.

Unfortunately, in real life I can’t go back and fix or throw out the scene I screwed up the first time. Which is why I tend to stick to writing. (Though I do my best to promote my books, too.**)

* For the vast majority of books. There are obvious exceptions.

** Fodder for another blog piece.

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