Contentment and the Book Promoter; CSFF Run-off Poll


You may have assumed I was off earlier this week on unrelated tangents when I wrote about contentment and our bent to believe we deserve all that the world tells us we deserve. I actually saw these ideas related to writing in two ways.

First, I was reminded about the power of the media, and whether we realize it or not, fiction is “media.” So are blogs. Here’s what I’m thinking. The movie and TV industries, and the commercials that go with them, often say they don’t influence society; they reflect it. And there is truth in this line. Pop culture is popular. So the media flock around octo-mom for weeks and weeks, way past the point that most of us care to see another picture of her, because their ratings are up.

Same with Michael Jackson. More and more pop-star-weariness articles surface all the time, but the books that publishers churned out about the deceased star hit the best-seller lists right off. So the media does seem to give the public something a good portion of the public wants.

At the same time, the media is shaping those interests. Would any of us cared about Nadia Sulemon if the media hadn’t first told us about a woman who gave birth to eight babies who lived? Then teased and tantalized with the unreleased-identity tidbit? Followed by this rumor and that suggestion and finally a picture.

Media, after all, is about piquing curiosity. Even fiction. We have opening hooks and book trailers and back cover copy designed to intrigue. We want to pull readers in.

Which in turn allows us to say what we want to say.

So in part we give readers what they want so we can influence what they want. It’s a curious cycle.

But the next thought I had in connection to this realization was this: How ethical is it for us to create an artificial thirst? I mean, if the Bible is right, and Godliness with contentment is great gain, shouldn’t we be helping others realize contentment rather than stirring up disquiet?

I have a hard time telling people with limited resources they need to buy such and such a book (maybe someday mine) or telling overly busy people they need to spend time reading my blog.

Do I want people to read my blog? Well, frankly, yes. And someday, should God open doors for my fiction to be published, I will want people to buy my books.

But how am I to promote in light of contentment? I think it would be wrong to say the two have nothing to do with each other. I also think it is off base to say promotion is wrong.

However, I don’t see trying to convince people who are unaware of an interest or a need, that they really should have an interest or need. I suppose there are exceptions. Someone about to step out in front of a bus needs to be told not to keep going.

But is that what most promotion is doing? What do you think?

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Here is the run-off poll for this month’s award. Check out these posts, and give us your opinion who deserves to be honored this month for their creative, thought-provoking posts:

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Published in: on July 30, 2009 at 11:35 am  Comments (6)  
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