Thursday, 1 April 2010

I wish to stay in the closet... with a flashlight... and some cookies.

I was reading Karen's site (Coming Down the Mountain) about reclusive writers this morning and it got me thinking. (Not that the other blogs don't make me think or that I don't think in general...) Anyway, I think of myself as quite a reclusive writer. I tell no one I write. I don't use my real name. One photo of me and I had to skew it in order to put it on the site.

Then I thought about my books.

What am I willing to do to promote my book? I know I could never stand in front of people and read my book ...but, I could record my book and post it online. I don't know if I could go to a library - not that there will be many left in the future - but I could enter a forum to discuss my books online. I don't think I could do a book signing but I will be willing to sign copies and send them out.

I have never met any famous authors in person. Jane Austen, Brontes, Agatha Christie are all dead. Val McDermid, Elizabeth George and many other British authors live too far away to visit. I still love their books.

Val Mcdermid has a website and she regularly comments there.
Elizabeth George has a website too.
In fact, I visit many sites and blogs belonging to published authors.

I have a website. You're reading it. So perhaps, I'm not reclusive after all.  Are any of you reclusive writers?

Picture source: here


Anonymous said...

Ann - I loved this post! I am most definitely a reclusive writer. In fact, that's one thing I love about the internet. I can do a lot of the promoting and marketing I should be doing online. It's not so much that I don't like people; I think people are fascinating. But I have to admit that I'm not exactly an extrovert. I've learned to be one in the course of my work (you can't be a real recluse and be a professor - not a good one). But my preference? Definitely for solitude.

Ann Elle Altman said...

Margot, yes. I like people, too, as long as they don't speak or come near me...

Just joking.

However, I do prefer to spend more of my time online than in person.


Unknown said...

What a fantastic post! I don't hide the fact that I'm a writer but I also don't showcase it to the world. I do love the internet because I can post snippets but I don't share my story with anyone but my husband...

Okay so maybe I am a reclusive writer, who knows!

Karen Jones Gowen said...

So that isn't you standing there in front of that crowd of people talking about your book? I'm sure that's why there are so many of us writers blogging-- we're more comfortable in this forum than the talking-in-front-of-people forum. I'm glad you were inspired by my post :)

Aubrie said...

I wouldn't want to read my book in front of people either! Maybe I'm not reclusive, but I'm a horrible public speaker and a little shy.

Tamika: said...

I love people, online and in person. It comes natural to me to mingle.

Thank God for the internet though it opens up a world of possibilities.

Elizabeth Spann Craig said...

Oh Ann...join the club!

Unfortunately, some of us get pulled out of the closet kicking and screaming. I'm still trying to get back into it from time to time. :)


Katie said...

I definitely don't like to tell people that I write. It spurs this weird conversation about why and what I write. If I ever get published, it will definitely be under a pen name!

Jim Murdoch said...

The problem with being a writer more and more is that we need to be active promoters of our own work. This is something that bothers me because I’m really quite a private person. I’m not shy and I have no problems talking in public (yes, I get nervous but so does everyone); I just have no real interest in promoting me – the writing, yes but me, no. I recognise that I have to present something publicly which is why the website is so good because I can exercise a fairly high degree of control over what goes up. I find as long as you open up a bit then people leave you be. It’s those who don’t have a real name, won’t provide a photo and tell us nothing about themselves that make us wonder, What are they hiding? The answer is probably: nothing. Let’s face it, most of us lead boring lives, nothing’s ever happened to us that’s not happened to hundreds of other people and the only thing we have going for us is a facility with words. And aren’t there hundreds of people who have that gift too?

The thing is we can’t have our cake and eat it. Recluses don’t get famous for anything bar being reclusive. What’s good about the Internet is that you can attempt to find a balance between the private-you and the public-you, one that everyone can live with. You’re still never going to be famous but I’m not sure I would like being famous. I want to be read. I am being read. By hundreds of people. And that’s all it’s about. When I think about all the poems I published back in the seventies and eighties I wonder how many people ever read them. I bet dozens at best. This is better. It’s not fame but it is better.

Sugar said...

I want cookies too. I have not told anyone I'm writing, save one person who is helping me along. But I think it may be my content.. It may prove to be a little awkward for some I know. Good luck on coming out of the closet. lol

Sugar said...

I want cookies too. I have not told anyone I'm writing, save one person who is helping me along. But I think it may be my content.. It may prove to be a little awkward for some I know. Good luck on coming out of the closet. lol

Jaydee Morgan said...

I definitely could live the life of a reclusive writer - and just use the Net to stay in contact/promote/etc.

My day job forces me to be public and social. Given the choice though, I'd rather spend most of my time alone (except for family).

Laura S. said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Laura S. said...

I'm shy and do not like being the center of attention at all (my birthday is the only exception!). Sometimes it's nice that writing is such a solitary job! I hope to be published some day, but I'm definitely not looking forward to the public promotion that goes along with it...

Great post, Ann! You're definitely not the only reclusive writer.

Ann Elle Altman said...

Jen, I think many here are with you and understand how you feel.

Karen, nope, not me. I doubt I could do that. And your post was great!

Aubrie, I'm actually a wonderful speaker and not afraid of standing up in public but for me, my writing is the most personal thing I do and I feel like I'm exposing the person I really am.

Tamika, you are really fortunate. I envy that.

Elizabeth, yes, and I'm afraid of when it will get to that point.

KM, that's why I use a pen name. Don't think I could handle the publicity otherwise.

Jim, great comment, want to discuss that further.

Sugar, ha ha ha. Yes, I may come out someday. THanks for the comment.

Jaydee, that is a great point. I want to use some of these in my post tomorrow.

Laura, glad to know that.

Thanks everyone.


Faith Pray said...

It's great that even while feeling reclusive you can open so much of yourself to the world through your blog!
We get to learn so much more about writers through this newfangled communication than we ever would if we hung around book signings with our fan gear on, hoping for an autograph and a pep speech. And the fun thing is that many of us are probably enjoying your words while hiding in our closets, munching on cookies and wearing fluffy bathrobes.
Isn't it fun to be a writing hermit?!!

Sheila (Bookjourney) said...

On this post I would just say that I WISH I was a reclusive writer. I am sooo reclusive - I do not write at all. :)

Actually I am a writer want to be. I envision myself alone cranking out all the stories in my head.... but the hardest part for me is to get alone.... everyone always needs something.