Monday Musings: Fish Or Cut Bait a.k.a. Deciding What I Want To Be

This past week, I had a bit of an emotional snap.  A crisis of faith, an overload of frustration, or the straw that broke the camel’s back, any and all of those might be apt descriptions for my state of being at the time.  They say, and I agree, that being an author is a battle of attrition and the greatest asset needed to fight that battle is an abundance of stubborn determination, and my own supply seemed close to spent.

My closest friends sought to console me, bolster my confidence, and provide their own advice as to the cause of my problems.  What they concluded on I then put forward in a more clinical fashion to some of my colleagues.  Perhaps I shouldn’t be surprised when they all fell into agreement.  It seemed that the ultimate cause of my issues was that I spread myself too thin.

You see, my foodies, it came down to a choice, one that I will paraphrase here: Do I wish to be the guy who supports authors and does work for them who does some writing on the side or the full-time author who also happens to be very supportive to other authors?  My fellow book bloggers out there who are consistently active in supporting and reviewing will understand, but for others, you may not realize how much time, energy, and resources goes into a consistent schedule of reviews, interviews, and advice.  A lot can go on behind the scenes, especially follow-up to reviews if the author is looking for deeper insights to your critiques.

Not only that, but my advocacy was crowding out my own writing not only in the matter of time, but in the matter of what some would call ‘branding’.  My book reviews and writing articles were drawing far more attention than my own works, the thing that actually is my primary career.  Instead of seguing from reading reviews or articles to then go on to the books themselves, the average visitor halts there.  J. B. Garner, Author, is lost behind the guise of the Starving Reviewer.

Does this mean the reviews and articles are stopping to be replaced by daily book promotions?  No, I’m not that kind of guy.  I have supported authors to try to pay it forward for those few that have done the same for me, and my conscience would be ill at ease if I abruptly cut off all those who are still waiting in my TBR list.  All the same, expect more content here to be directed or to reference my own works.  The fact is that I am an AUTHOR first and I must act like one, instead of the nice guy who pats other authors on the back.

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7 comments

  1. You should always look out for yourself first. It’s nice that you help out other writers, and you should, but yeah, you come first. At the same time, writing advice articles can lead others to your blog through search engines, and bloggers who just self promote quickly get unsubscribed to. This is a balancing act.

    1. Yeah, you’re absolutely correct. It’s what everyone I talked to last week told me. It just took some time for the rational logic to break through the depressive shell I had wrapped myself in at the time.

      1. I know how disheartening it can be to work hard on sometime, put it out there for the world to see, and get silence. Not praise or even bad reviews, just silence. It’s like having a crush on a girl. You’d rather know she doesn’t like you than know she doesn’t even know you exist. I’ve gone through it far too often with other projects (a webcomic, an old blog, animated youtube videos, etc.) yet I’m still going ahead and coming out with a book. What was it Einstein said about insanity? 😛

  2. Btw, probably a bad time, but let me know when you allow authors to request reviews again. I know it won’t be for months (and by no means should you feel obligated for even that), but I’m more than willing to wait.

    1. It might be, but you can always Try Your Luck and send in a request anyway. Depending on the book (if it tickles my interest), the pitch (especially if it is funny, heartfelt, or shows knowledge of this blog or me … we’re all a little vain, yeah?), and the alignments of the celestial bodies (not my call there!), I might take your request anyway, despite my CLOSED status.

    1. I’ve never really figured it before. I would only count unpaid work, though. At some points, I spent far more time reading, reviewing, and providing free advice on things for sure.

      These past weeks, I’ve gotten things pared down to something acceptable, I think. I certainly won’t be trying to read multiple books for review a week for sometime, that’s for sure!

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