In the interest of full disclosure, I got this idea from a priest. He was discussing belief and how God wants to help you fulfill your spiritual yearning. So he says, “You know, you hear how a drug dealer will give out little packs, little tastes of a drug. To entice, to hook, to get you to come back for more. And isn’t that what God does? Gives you a taste of his Word. Hoping you’ll come back for more.”
I nearly fell off my narrow, straight-backed chair. Nobody else seemed even mildly appalled, just nodding that gentle assenting bob of the head. Maybe they weren’t really listening; it was 8 o’clock in the morning. My first thought was that God DOES NOT PEDAL in dangerously illicit substances. He (capital H!) DOES NOT need to finagle to keep you coming back for more. He does not want to completely alter your life with addiction. He is not the purveyor of a substance - a sensation - you may not be sure of, about which you have doubt. Oh, wait. Yeah, maybe. Okay the metaphor could work. Nevertheless, I still thought the comparison might be better suited to the author as drug dealer.
You’re an author. You’ve written a poem, or a short story, or a novel. But there are many words floating around out there. Entire collections of words, being pedaled by armies of writers. How do you draw readers to your work? There are channels. Publishing distribution routes, reviews, advertising, and marketing help disseminate your words. But what you really need are readers who will read more than the review, who will read past the first five pages, who will read your second book. And your third.
And how do you do that? Well, according to the good Father, you give it away. In little packets. A few chapters here. A few chapters there. Why not? If you have faith in your work, how much of a risk is it. A writer who practices her craft already knows she needs to “entice, to hook, to get you to come back for more.” Be a drug dealer: hook ‘em first, make ‘em pay later. Websites, blogs, and social networking sites are your street corner.
Many authors already have given away books on this very premise. And places like Amazon want to know how much of the text to make available. I’ve begun dealing by uploading six chapters of Zubis Rises to Authonomy. This is the “online slush pile” generated by HarperCollins UK, where thousands of authors post entire manuscripts. There’s some nice interaction among writers, but it’s not so much about readership. Mostly everybody’s hoping for transfiguration from unpublished writer to published author. I’m going to explore this new trade on MySpace, then maybe my blog. Consider it spreading the word. Amen and all that.
Causes Kellyann Zuzulo Supports
PLAN International Leukemia and Lymphoma Foundation