So it came to me this morning as I was doing dishes: writing is a business. I don’t know why I didn’t think of this before, or why it is just now sinking in, no matter how many times I have heard it referred to as such. But it was more than that realization. In that single thought there were many others (as often happens with thoughts).
Writing is a business, and in order to make your business successful you have to market and promote your work. This goes far beyond the publisher. Publishers are tools writers can use in order to get their work out there, but just like all tools, they aren’t going to build a house by being bought.
I self publish now. I might always self publish, who knows. The point is, I don’t care how I get published because the most important thing is getting my work in print by a company that produces a quality product at a competitive rate. Of course, after that I (like most fledgling authors I imagine) expected instant fame and fortune. It hasn’t happened yet. But there is a reason. I never promoted.
Well, that isn’t really true. I did promote, but only on facebook. I got one page of mine to be liked 80 times, but no sales. I was approaching it all wrong though, I was spamming my book expecting people to flock to it and buy it just because they had liked my page. Pitching your book on social sites is much more volitile than that.
At present I have a pretty good idea what I had done wrong and I am working to correct that.
Of course while I was washing dishes another thought came to me. “What happens after everyone has bought my book? There are only so many people that will buy it.” DUH! “Keep writing, keep putting books out there, that is how you will get noticed and keep your sales coming in.”
Promoting all has to do with who you are promoting to. You can’t make jock-straps for a living and expect all of your female friends to buy them! You have to promote to the right people, the people who are interested in the metaphorical jock-strap or have a use for it. I wasn’t.
So, now that I sorted that out, I am moving forward with a better vision. I have ran several unsucessful businesses, but now I know why. Promotion! This is a business like any other. I am appraoching it now critically. I write but I am not affraid to cut stuff that is not needed and change things that need changing. Ultimately the story will be the same, and the brand will be better for it.
Think of J.K Rowling and Suzanne Collins like the Target and Wal-Mart of the writing world. They are writing giants. I may never be a giant, but I could be a convenience store. At least I would be happy making a living on that.