“Status update”, and a Q of the Week

This past weekend Juni and I went to Raven’s Knoll, for one more work-weekend: she and I and about half a dozen others worked on securing various things in the campground for the winter. I still have a bit of stiffness in my lower back from lifting entire tree trunks and other heavy things. But it’s still great fun to be there, and I find myself growing to love the site more and more each time I visit.

But at the same time, my money supply is quickly dwindling, and I’m still unemployed. The temp agencies I registered with back in August keep telling me that they can’t do anything with me because they are waiting on my security clearance – which is perhaps true, since in the previous five years I have lived in so many places. But it’s been four months now. How long does it take! I’m getting frustrated. While I wait on the temp agencies, I’m applying for jobs in services and retail, but finding myself terribly over-qualified for them. One rejection letter I recently received even said so! On top of that, the engine in our van completely died, so we have no transport now. We’ll probably have to sell it for scrap. It’s looking more and more likely that I will not be able to get home to Elora for christmas with my family.

Naturally, I have hope that lots of people will buy one of my books for their solstice / yule / christmas gift-giving, or that lots of people will hire me for one of my various professional services, or for public speaking at your next convention or festival. I can promise that when I do a workshop, no one will die. I also promise that my books are written with a coherent prose, and can be fact-checked, and will not do damage to the very movement I profess to support, unlike other more popular books I could name.

Right now, my book royalties are my only source of income. And since I am not Dan Brown, it’s not much. But having said that, an important question appears in my mind. At what point does the work of marketing of one’s own product or service transition from straightforward self-promotion to egotistical self-aggrandizing? How much promotion work is the right amount, and how much is annoyingly too much?

A friend of mine in Toronto recently published a novel. I joined the Facebook group in which she describes and promotes the book, in order to show friendship, and to see whether her book might be of interest to a few people I know. I got so many promotional messages from the FB group, sometimes several in the same day, that I became rather annoyed, and left. I’ll almost certainly not buy the book. But another friend of mine, who lives in England and who published some truly excellent books, hardly promotes himself at all: I discovered to my complete surprise that he had written two more books since the last time I saw him, five years ago.

In both cases, these people will perhaps not sell as many books as they otherwise could. Where is the happy medium between them? How can it be found?

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