…It has become a mantra that today’s author — whether self- or conventionally published — must learn to promote his or her books. Some, like Eisler and Hocking, happen to be good at it, but many aren’t. People often become writers because they’re introverted or awkward in personal encounters and have poured everything they want to say to the world into their work. What usually gets lost in the perpetual refrain about authors becoming their own marketers is that there’s no particular connection between writing talent and a gift for self-promotion. Consider Thomas Pynchon, Emily Dickinson, J.D. Salinger and Harper Lee — all writers labeled reclusive. Others — David Foster Wallace, Denis Johnson and Cormac McCarthy come to mind — have been press-shy or have found public appearances excruciating and have made them only grudgingly, as a concession to their publishers. I suspect that writers like Franz Kafka and Samuel Beckett would likely have felt the same. Many authors have resigned themselves to the task of relentless networking (“social” and the old-fashioned kind) but still hate it and therefore aren’t much good at it. With all due respect to Hocking and Eisler (and I’ve got plenty for both), I’d rather have “To Kill a Mockingbird” than any of their novels. Even though they are much better at interacting with their fans and orchestrating their careers than Harper Lee is, Lee (in my opinion, at least) is the better writer. Today’s conventional wisdom, in both traditional and indie publishing, decrees that someone like Lee might as well not bother; however good her book is, it won’t find an audience unless she’s willing and able to make hawking it at least a part-time job. What this means for readers is troubling. Even if the next generation’s “To Kill a Mockingbird” gets published, the author’s inability to promote it effectively may prevent it from reaching the millions of readers who would otherwise embrace it. And while Harper Lee never published a second book, I want the writers whose work I admire to have as much time as possible to write as many books as they wish. As Hocking so astutely points out, the hours spent in self-promotion are hours spent not writing.