Tuesday, January 19, 2010

On Daphne DuMaurier

@BNBookClubs on Twitter had this interesting tweet this afternoon:

Daphne Du Maurier said, “Writers should be read, but neither seen nor heard.” Do you agree? http://bit.ly/5LpXrD

Without even reading the link, I stopped to ponder for a moment. I think that times are a-changing, and that could have been true once upon a time. But there were also fewer writers being published, and they were revered more than now. These days, especially with all of the smaller independent publishers, and self-publishing, the list of books available to read is endless. Authors who wish to make some money doing what they love must get their name out there. So, without promotion, they could very well only sell a book to their closest friends and family.

Blogs and articles are ablaze with tips on how to get yourself noticed. A common way to do so is through venues like Twitter and Facebook (where I will shamelessly plug this blog post when I have completed it). They also recommend book blog tours. A good publicist can get you onto local talk shows, and the really good ones get you on national TV, if you have a buzz about your work. As for my own writing, I am getting more readers, slowly but surely, as I send out my links and network. So, I think it does help.

But perhaps what DuMaurier meant was to not blatantly throw yourself into the public eye. Today, it would be along the lines of staying off of the reality TV shows, and don't do something stupid like Tiger Woods and get caught. Keep some element of mystery about yourself, and don't share too much about why you chose to write about anything. Sometimes that mystique adds to the appeal of your written word. Reveal yourself through your stories.

DuMaurier was a fantastic storyteller. I have read Rebecca numerous times, as well as some of her smaller, lesser known works. And one of my favorite facts is that she was the true brainchild of the story that Hitchcock made famous in The Birds. But she wasn't outspoken about everything, so perhaps you didn't know that? Perhaps all writers should reflect on that thought before they send out their next tweet or Facebook link.....

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