“Asking is, at its core, a collaboration.”
Amanda Palmer, The Art of Asking
It only took nine unsubscribes to undo me.
I use some software to manage the subscribers to my blog, and if there’s activity—people signing up (yay!) people un-signing up (sigh!), I get an email.
Lately, I have been sighing more than normal. Even so, the day I had nine unsubscribes caught me off-guard. I was so proud of the posts I’d been running, and they weren’t particularly offensive (like that time I posted about abortion).
I wanted to shake the people who left. Then I felt lame for judging them. I unsubscribe from email lists all the time. There’s a lot of content out there; I get overwhelmed too.
But much as I tried to argue myself out of discontent, I was in a funk.
When I get into these writing funks, I know I need to think about the vision I have for my work, how I’m serving and encouraging my readers, and how I can clarify and hone all those things to make them easy to communicate.
But this clarification feels more fraught lately because I am working on a book proposal. A proposal is basically a business document about why your book is needful, and how you’ll sell it to your thousands and bazillions of subscribers.
On a day where some subscribers exit unceremoniously, the whole dream of publishing feels ridiculous.
What I’ve realized about seriously putting my work out there is that it involves a whole lot of asking.
Asking for readers’ attention.
Asking for their support for my projects.
Asking other writers to read my rough drafts, contribute to my blog, blurb my book.
Asking an agent, and then an editor, to believe in my book.
Asking to guest post to spread the word about my blog.
Asking readers to shell out real money for my books, self- or conventionally published.
Asking for ideas for marketing for friends and (gulp) listening to their critique.
Asking, asking asking.
Asking makes me want to hurl. Asking makes me feel like a beggar peddling pitiful wares. Asking makes me shiver and curl up into a little ball.
I used to hate calling to order pizza. It made me feel too vulnerable.
How in the hell did I think it was a good idea to market my story?
Also, my subscribers are laughing, because I posted about this very topic last week in the newsletter. Which reminds me: I am practicing asking, and as part of that, I made a survey. Wanna help? Want me to know all the things you think about my site, our little community, and you? Take a gander at it here. I really (really) appreciate it.