Trying to feel like a professional in a trade congested with aspiring amateurs is difficult, often impossible, especially when you aren’t producing published work. That’s why I finally went ahead, took the plunge, and bought the dot-com of my penname.
I’ve already had an (inactive) Writer’s Page on Facebook, and though I had the wordpress.com of this site, I knew I wouldn’t feel like I was actually trying unless I spent money trying to do what it is I love in life.
Which is kinda fucked up, no? That I feel a need to spend money – offer a part of me – in order to feel like I’m actually trying at this? I think that has to say something about the world of Trying to Be Published – in some ways you need to buy a ticket to Actually Being Published. I don’t know, it’s possible that I’m just overthinking this. I remember reading somewhere, I think it was Writer’s Marketplace, that having the appearance of having spent money on your book in some way influences readers and potential agents. Business Cards, Websites, Cover Art; whatever it is. I think the article that I read applied mostly to self-published work, but I think it can apply all across the board.
Saying I have a dot-com is more legit than saying I have a WordPress.
Saying I have an editor is more impressive than saying my friend looked it over.
Saying my cover artist is working on a rough draft is better than saying I slapped something together in Photoshop.
Handing someone a business card is just plain cooler than scribbling down my info on a piece of paper.
And I believe it, too, you know. Especially looking at a lot of self-published or indie-published works of peers. Seeing a generic or “bad” cover instantly makes me assume the writer is bad or rushed. But seeing something that clearly has had time and effort put into it (and potentially money spent on it) immediately peaks my interest. That may be shallow, but there’s logic behind it. After all, they can tell us not to judge a book by its cover a thousand times, and many of us will still judge. And harshly. In my experience, any book that I’ve thought “I don’t like this cover” and read anyways, I didn’t like. Books that I picked up based on the pull of the cover, I fell in love with. (i.e. The Sight by David Clemente-Davies. Those eyes pulled me right in.)
Anyways, I’m not saying that if someone is serious about being a writer that they should spend money trying to look more legit. That comes across as deceptive and weird. But, I am saying that I am in a place in my life where I can blow a bit of money on a domain and business cards, and I’m saving up towards hiring a professional editor. I know writers with self-published work that even traded (beta-reading for a cover, editing for a website design) instead of spent, and I think that’s equally legit. It’s knowing, or at least feeling like, the author put a lot of effort into their work, and isn’t just stroking their own ego. Although, is buying your own domain an ego-stroker? I’m having an existential crisis now.
So yes, I bought the dot-com. I think there’s also just some sort of motivation knowing I’m spending money on the site, so I’m hoping that it’ll make me update more frequently, and work harder to actually produce things worth mentioning to the strangers of the interwebs.
Anyways, hopefully I have more things to talk about in life. I’ve got a three week staycation due to a job transition, so hopefully I use it wisely and work harder at being a writer.