I Write Novels, But – Shush – They’re Meant To Be A Secret

The other day, Bookshelf Battle raised an issue I think is worth addressing here:

Sometimes with all of the blogging, twittering, and social media-ing, I just wonder if all writers are doing are talking to other writers. It’s like we’re all door-to-door salesmen, knocking on a door, “Wanna buy my book?” And the person answers, “No, but do YOU wanna buy MY book?”

I gave that comment (and the post where it appeared) some thought, and figured I’d drop in my two cents/ pence.

Writing is a largely solitary endeavor. (Even those closest to you cannot fully understand.) Most of my days are taken up researching, organizing, proofing, and tapping, tapping, tapping out the draft for my latest book. (They don’t get written unless you write them.) So I like now and then to lean across the “office partition” and have a “glance” at what other authors at nearby desks are doing, or to take a break near the “water cooler” and have a “gab.” This site and other social media, like Twitter and About.me, are the ways I do that.

I’m on Twitter intermittently during the day – usually yammering (as you may know) about international happenings, travel, and expat stuff, and only very occasionally about my novels. I post here most days as well (as you also may know), and I do that early in the mornings – before I start the day’s novel writing.

Yes, this site is a “shop front” of sorts. Anyone is free to come by and browse. And to walk out empty handed too. As I do elsewhere. As we all do. Everywhere. I don’t buy something every time I click on Amazon.

Or should I not mention my books? Are visitors supposed to read my mind down their broadband lines? No one will ever know what you do unless you, uh, happen to bring it up.

Free Stock Photo: Home sale signs along a street.
Free Stock Photo: Home sale signs along a street.

The old-fashioned Yellow Pages are FULL of businesses, large and small, trying to let you know what THEY can DO for YOU if you PAY them. No one says they shouldn’t share what they do? How will any of us hope to find that (real) estate agent, that plumber, or a store that sells live Christmas tree stands, if they don’t advertise their existences?

I don’t target this at other writers. Others might like to produce something so narrowly focused. But my site is for anyone who clicks in from the big, wide internet.

That said, I’m not one – and never have been one – to stride into a room, wave around one of my books, and proclaim, “Look what I do! Tah! Dah!”:

Mingling, my wife mentioned my novel to one man. Trust her always to know how to work a room. (She’s much better at it than I am.) Moments later, he sought me out.

And he was keenly interested in the smallest of details. How do you write? What time do you start? Do you do it every day?

Others jumped in as we stood around the kitchen island, drinking and eating. Later, general conversation in the dining room drifted briefly to my novel, including the plot and my inspiration. “Why do you think I come to get togethers like this?” I joked. “I need new material!”

Grinning, our Danish girlfriend observed, “I was reading it on the Kindle, wondering, ‘Hmm, am I in here? Am I one of those French girls?’”

“Don’t worry. You’re not in this one,” I smiled. “Would you like to be in the next one?”

And let’s recall also, there should be fun in this as well!

If you blog – as an author, or because you travel, or because you live in a country different from the one where you were born, or for whatever reason you do – I enjoy reading what YOU have to say. We live in an insane world. Every individual’s experiences matter and illuminate it better. I have learned quite a lot courtesy of many of you.

If you like what you see here, great. If you are interested in my novels, I’m flattered, and I hope you enjoy them. In the end, it’s entirely up to you.

It’s very simple, really.

Have a good day, wherever you are in the world. It’s almost the weekend! 🙂


  1. Wow! Now two people have written about me! I’m going viral! First Ben Y. Faroe and now you!

    Thanks for the mention. The gist of my comment was basically this – I’m about a year into blogging now and when I first started, I was just amazed at the sheer number of people who are blogging an d tweeting and doing everything we do. There are just so many people out there who want to be writers and are taking advantage of this wonderful technology.

    In many ways, it’s great. People who previously had no voice now have one. On the other hand, sometimes it feels like being a needle in a haystack, and we’re all just a bunch of needles talking to each other. Because my theory is everyone on a blog, everyone who tweets regularly – they’re all aspiring writers! Maybe they don’t even realize it but they are.

    So, I don’t know, I welcome whoever wants to read what I have to say. I’m still finding my voice but ultimately I hope to build a community of followers who will enjoy my stuff and the more interest I see the more encouraged I’ll be to keep writing. Writers and non-writers welcome!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Reblogged this on Bookshelf Battle and commented:
    Wow. First Ben Y. Faroe and now R.J. Nello. Two whole bloggers have blogged about me. Honestly though, the rest of you are really slacking. If I could just get one hundred of you to write about every post I make, I’d really be in business. Get cracking, people.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. HI, Robert. Thank goodness we writers get to ‘write’ to other writers 🙂 though sometimes I think blogging and tweeting becomes a substitute for the next great novel we REALLY want to write.

    Way I resolve it is well, sigh/ we’re like sharks, gotta keep moving or we die/ Gotta keep writing or the literary muscles atrophy/ but is this the place you want to be?

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I like the door to door salesman analogy. I read and review other works by indie authors, and many will surely think I’m trying to get them to do the same for me, but honestly I don’t care if they don’t touch my stuff. I read the books because I like stories, and if I didn’t then I wouldn’t bother. This business of writers deliberately trying to get reviews on a kind of quid-pro-quo basis is really quite ridiculous. Sometimes two people meet and like each other’s stuff but so many writers expect that to happen every time. It just WON’T.


    • It is a great analogy – definitely. The pitching for (positive, presumably) reviews and posts is not something I had thought of at all when writing this post. I’m like you, I suppose: I don’t seek them. In fact, when I’ve seen indie authors with too many “5 stars” on Amazon, I get a bit suspicious.

      One of my dilemmas in taking up writing is also that, ironically, I’m finding I have much less time actually to read. I can barely keep up with all the WordPress bloggers I follow. There aren’t enough hours in the day.

      A case in point was a personal friend who has written quite a thriller. (I never knew he had it in him!) It took me ages to get through it – and that wasn’t because it wasn’t gripping. I simply couldn’t devote the TIME to it that it deserved.

      Thanks for stopping by. 🙂


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