Notes from An Alien

~ Explorations In Reading, Writing, and Publishing ~

Are Self-Published Creative Writers Prostituting Themselves?


Many creative writers who pursue self-publishing, which demands a massive effort to self-promote, have what seems like a plaguing moral dilemma

Let me give you links to a few other posts here that bring up “issues” for the creative writer:

In An Attention Deficit World, What Kind of Novel Do You Write?

“Success” Is Vastly Over-Rated

Do Creative Writers Have Social “Responsibilities”?

We’re Infected by Materiality . . . < This one has other authors who’ve left some fascinating Comments :-)

So, back to the “issue” of self-published creative writers—slaving away to create literature that has lasting value—needing to communicate effectively in arenas that definitely don’t resonate to literary writing—selling themselves for well, what is the definition of prostituting?

My Oxford dictionary says: “put (oneself or one’s talents) to an unworthy or corrupt use for personal or financial gain”.

And, for those who like to ponder, it gives this etymology: “mid 16th century (as a verb): from Latin prostitut- ‘exposed publicly, offered for sale’, from the verb prostituere, from pro- ‘before’ + statuere ‘set up, place'”.

So, originally, prostituting merely meant to place oneself before; and, even in its modern sense, a writer would only be a prostitute if they were promoting for personal or financial gain in an unworthy or corrupt way

Enter Dana Sitar, freelance journalist and indie author.

You can check out her blog, DIY Writing, and her most recent book, A Writer’s Bucket List: 99 things to do for inspiration, education, and experience before your writing kicks the bucket.

I discovered her through Joel Friedlander’s blog, The Book Designer, and her guest post, Why Even a Novelist Should Know How to Write Strong Copy.

Near the beginning of her post, she says:

“Fiction authors spend a lot of time developing strong skills for creating characters, incorporating tension, drawing a reader into their world, etc. But when it comes to finding a platform and connecting with readers, that style of storytelling won’t cut it. For these, any writer will benefit from understanding the basics of writing compelling copy. Even if you don’t want to work as a shill, studying the skills can boost your overall writing and style and career.”

Then, she details a few areas where an indie author can prostitute themselves apply what’s called “Copywriting” to help them in their promotion efforts; and, she also gives a few valuable links for learning about Copywriting:

If you’re a creative writer and you are or will be considering self-publishing, do go read the whole post :-)

If you’ve already explored or used copywriting to promote something, please share your thoughts in the Comments
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4 responses to “Are Self-Published Creative Writers Prostituting Themselves?

  1. wyrdpooka February 8, 2013 at 4:03 am

    You say prostitute like it’s a bad thing. At it’s heart prostitution is about serving the pleasure of another. Putting your own ego and desires not aside but into the service of others. (yes I know I make it sound like being a Nun. But what is a prostitute but a Nuns looking glass sister?) For a writer or artist this requires something of a shift in gears. The act or writing a book takes an enormous effort of self will, ego. Your desire upon completion is to have your story celebrated in some manner., (preferably a manner that involves fat pay checks and people taking you out to very nice dinners )
    The mental gear shift needed is this, you are not selling a book, story, what ever. You at heart, are adding pleasure to another persons life, your book, your creation is the means the vehicle you have to do it with. The publishers wants people to buy their books. People who buy the books want to be,, entertained, amused, scared, they want to step into a new world and you are their guide. You see most people don’t know exactly what they want, but I do, you do. They want to be seduced.

    Like

    • Alexander M Zoltai February 8, 2013 at 4:17 am

      Interesting perspective

      You said, “You say prostitute like it’s a bad thing.”, yet, in the post, I said, “So, originally, prostituting merely meant to place oneself before; and, even in its modern sense, a writer would only be a prostitute if they were promoting for personal or financial gain in an unworthy or corrupt way

      Thanks for your comment :-)

      Like

  2. John Paul Mahofski February 24, 2013 at 9:45 am

    Your post on success has changed me for the better. It should be required reading before beginning any project. I also think that by dedicating your remaining years to Gobal Peace you have achieved success.

    Like

    • Alexander M Zoltai February 24, 2013 at 12:21 pm

      John, my Friend, you Humble me with your comment

      Like

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