Mark Terry

Friday, August 22, 2008

Narcissistic, Gratuitous and Self-Promotional


August 22, 2008
Over on the BookEnds blog, Jessica Faust put out some random thoughts, and one of them was a comment that someone had accused the blog of being "narcissistic, gratuitous and self-promotional" and after giving it some thought, Jessica decided that pretty much described all blogs.

I can' tell you how much her comment amused me. When asked why he blogged, Keith Snyder once commented, "I just like to write about myself."

To Jessica's post I commented that "narcissistic, gratuitous and self-promotional" probably described most novels.

I'm sure it's a comment a lot of aspiring--and even published novelists--will be offended by. This work of mine, this labor of love, this baby is not just a vanity project, it's awesome, it's something the world needs, people's lives will be made better by it, they will be uplifted, enlightened...

WTF? 

And undoubtedly readers will benefit from your work with stronger bones and a glossy coat.

Do you believe that? Do you think the world needs another novel?

Honestly. Do you?

Because if some weird selective strain of Ebola wiped out every novelist and publisher in the world today, I could still go to the local library or Borders store and read a novel a day that I've never read before and do so for the rest of my life without repeating myself.

That isn't to say the world might not benefit from your novel. Or want your novel. Or hell, the world is filled up with narcissistic, gratuitous and self-promotional things. Did we really need a film remake of "The Beverly Hillbillies"? Was the 4th Indiana Jones film necessary? What about this lovely little low-keyed film coming out today called "Death Race"? Does the world need that?

Uh, no. Need doesn't have a lot to do with it.

Try to keep the reader in mind. Entertain yourself. Try not to delude yourself.

Cheers,
Mark Terry

p.s. And what is the deal with that chick's hair?

6 Comments:

Blogger Stephen Parrish said...

I thought Jessica's answer was perfect. Frankly, the reason I write is because I like to hear myself talk. So to speak.

7:58 AM  
Blogger spyscribbler said...

I'm undoubtedly narcissistic and gratuitous on my blog, although I have nothing to promote, self or otherwise. Although I have, according to Amazon, sold a few of my commenter's books, which always makes me happy. (See? I'm even selfishly happy when I do something arguably not selfish.)

When I teach, I have to be what they need, say what they need to hear, do what they need. When I blog, I get to talk about my self-obsessions. It's total therapy. I do feel bad for those who pop by and read, though!

8:24 AM  
Blogger Zoe Winters said...

hahaha, I totally agree with this. Blogs ARE narcissistic, gratuitous, and self-promotional. Why else do we have them. We talk about ourselves, there are billions of blogs, not like the world needs one more, and most people use their blogs as a self promotional tool.

That's kind of what blogs are FOR.

I agree on the novel thing too. I think the world can stand some more AMAZING novels, but how often does that heppen? Most novels aren't amazing. Most novels, probably including mine, the world could do without. But writing, like all art is about self expression and sharing it. And if you can get people to read it, then whether or not the world needs more becomes irrelevant.

4:55 PM  
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6:24 PM  

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