I've been browsing through a few blogs, reading about marketing your books, writing newsletters to readers, blogging as a marketing tool, and other sorts of things. I read these things to get a feel for what may or may not be expected of me when my Big Publishing Day comes. Lots of good ideas out there, both of what you should and shouldn't do. Mainly I just read and get a sense of "I can do that" or "can't do that" or "don't want to do that".
When I think of me as a published writer, I think about doing stuff locally for signings and interviews, working with schools to get kids reading and interested in science. I think about using my blog and maybe a message board to promote my books, something user-friendly and regularly updated/used that's intended to be fun and a way to get the word about my fabulous writing. ;) I think of someone who attends one big con a year, a local one, and a writing conference at the most. I think about being on a couple panels, trying a reading here and there (I'm a very extroverted person, and I used to do the readings at Mass, but reading my own work out loud with inflection and character and stuff just makes me start blushing furiously), using whatever popularity I have to get more butts in the seats at the art auctions, chatting with other writers and fans. Nothing too crazy.
Then I read this: Neil Gaiman's tips for a signing. Wow. I'm not sure I ever want to be as popular as some of those tips would indicate he is. That kind of success would put a lot of pressure on me, just like making the New York Times Bestseller. I'm not sure I want all those expectations. I'd rather have a decent-sized reader/fan base to keep the publishing contracts coming at a modest enough size to give me the time to write my books and the money to help out the family as much as is needed. Anything more than that might start taking the fun out of it for me, unless I figure out how to live only for myself and not get caught up so much in what the world expects of me. I suppose that would be possible, now that I think about it more. Afterall, I did kiss off the idea of a career using my degrees because I want to write. And I did it all for myself. So maybe there is hope for me to be very successful as a writer and still be true to myself and my stories. But I think I'd rather hang out in the "mid-list" popularity for a bit to make sure.