I’d like to just write. Ideally, I’d type up masterpiece after masterpiece, and once each was done, I’d send them off to a magical publisher who’d pay me a slightly-better-than living wage. This fantastical publisher would never bother me for blog tours or interviews. I wouldn’t need to worry about marketing of any kind. I’d simply create worlds with words and leave the details to others.
Alas, I do not live in this ideal world.
The simple truth is that unless your name is immediately recognizable by the public, unless you’re someone like a Stephen King or a John Grisham, you need to market yourself and your books if you want to make any kind of money from your writing.
A lot of writers will balk at marketing. “I will simply create and send my darling out into the world!” There’s nothing wrong with that attitude. However, if you want to get paid, you probably won’t reach your goal with that method. Really, when you’re writing and planning to put your work out there for others to see, you need to set your goal. Are you looking to make a living off this? Do you just want to see a book with your name on it? Be clear on your goal so you know if you’re reaching it!
So, yeah. If your goal is to put your work out there, you don’t need to worry about marketing.
There is a special thrill when it comes to seeing your name on a book. I still get a little giddy anytime I look at my ego shelf. Yes, I have a special shelf where I put every book or magazine I have a story in. My novels are there. It’s all good.
That said, I don’t want to “just” have a book out there. I’d like to be able to feed my family. One of the kids is a teenager, and soon the next-oldest will become a teenager. They eat.
So, money for food is greatly appreciated.
So if I want to write for a living, I can’t just write. I need to make a number of business decisions. Even if you’re published by one of the big publishing houses, you’re going to be involved in marketing. You’ll jump into blog tours and signing events. And if you go small press or independent publishing, you’re really going to have to work your butt off if you want to make any sales.
After all, no one will buy your book if they’ve never heard of it. So they need to hear about it.
And once they’ve heard of it, they won’t buy it unless it looks good. So you need to make the cover pretty.
And once they’re looking at the cover, they won’t buy it unless it sounds interesting. So you need to write up a great blurb.
And once they’ve read the blurb, they won’t buy it unless the price is attractive. So you need to figure out what the price should be to be competitive and still give you a couple pennies per sale.
And each of those steps have a lot of other steps. Where will you advertise? Facebook? Amazon? Barnes and Noble? Blog tour? How will you make your cover look good? How do you make it professional? Have you figured out what the blurb actually communicates?
And all of that… it’s marketing.
A successful author is not just a good writer. A successful author is a good marketer.
And that’s where my ugh comes in. This isn’t ideal. However, it’s part of this broken world. Every job, every profession has parts that simply aren’t fun.
But I gotta say, if it takes doing that work to be a professional writer?
Well, I’m in. Worth it.