Tuesday, April 23, 2013

So much for the ivory tower

(Originally posted October 13, 2011)

It’s October 2011, six and a half years since I filled that first yellow note pad page with what would become SECOND CHANCES. It was a few weeks before my 50th high school reunion and I was letting my thoughts drift off in that direction. Now, in some ways it feels like I’m returning to an even earlier incarnation, back to the rough and tumble world of business, where we spent our days selling whatever it was we had to sell. Long ago the Stanford University Business School had tried to convince me those efforts were somehow noble. I’m not sure that lesson stuck. In any case, I’ve been there and done that -- sometimes very well, sometimes not so well at all.
Then finally, with retirement, those constraints were removed. After stumbling around for a while I learned that I could move beyond that “business” foolishness. I had graduated from the “down and dirty” world of commerce to the pure and untainted ivory tower universe of creative writing. It had taken most of a lifetime, but I had moved beyond the profane pursuit of sales.

Except ------ having spent years creating these stories I realized I was facing a familiar dilemma. A couple years ago, in "Me and My Stories" (see sidebar), I explained how I, and any writer who conceives and gives birth to the characters that inhabit his or her stories, who nurtures their “becoming”, inevitably wants the best for the “friends” they have created. We want our creations to be seen, read, even judged. Anything but ignored. Here in the “minor leagues” of e-book writing who else will do that if not the author?
So here I am. For me step one in that process has been the new and improved website you are visiting right now. I owe daughter Amy for that. With the unanticipated promise of an e-book future for these Tanner stories, what began as a forum for serializing each book has been transformed into a sales tool, complete with overviews and excerpts, ways to help a potential buyer know what he or she might be buying. I expect this change, along with an expanded email update about the site, and a very modest venture into Facebook advertising, to be the extent of my expanded marketing efforts.
On one hand, a part of me shivers at the prospect of going so commercial. I thought I was escaping that. Still, another part is anxious to see where this grand experiment takes me. Will people read them? More importantly, after reading one, will they read a second? 

Thanks for checking in. And no matter how this turns out, I hope your retirement is as interesting as mine has become.

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