Now Comes the Hard Part
Everyone thinks the hard part of writing is the blank page when not one single word has been written. Not for me. It's the part that comes after the first draft, after all the edits, after the cover design, and after all the tussle with downloading the entire manuscript onto the digital platform for proper formatting. Now comes the hard part. Marketing. Selling. Getting people to pay money for it. What is my intellectual property and labor worth?
Writing isn't all that much fun. Some people look at it as a lazy lifestyle. It is not. Granted, it is great to be able to set my own hours and manage my own work load from one day to the next. As someone with chronic health problems, these flexibilities are necessary. Some days I can do a lot. Other days I can barely lift my toothbrush. Some days my brain works quite well. Other days don't bother asking me my name cause I won't remember it.
I do need to earn a living. I do need to survive. I do not qualify for aid from the state, so I need to be creative. Just so happens I enjoy writing. I enjoy stringing words together to form moving pictures in my mind and hopefully in the minds of others. Here I am trying to gouge out a little corner of the world for myself using my creative energies.
Besides attempting to eek out a living, what does writing do for me? It gives me an outlet for my creative nature that allows my voice to be heard in an otherwise silent environment. I get to express myself. I get to share my existence and make friends I may never meet. It helps me sort through my own problems and maybe provide a backdrop as readers sort out theirs. Writing does a lot.
But now, I have to do what I am not cut out to do. I have to actually make money from it. I have to market my work.
Have you ever had to take something you have made from your own two hands and put a price tag on it? It's a strange feeling.
"Hey! How would you like to read this? I wrote it."
"Okay. I'll read it. I read it. I liked it."
"Great! How much would you pay to have a copy of it?"
"Um. I don't know. A few dollars?"
"Wonderful!" Holds out hand. "Thanks for doing business with me!"
No, that's not how it works. It's not about asking for a handout. Although, I have run into people who think I should hand them my books for free. Now who is asking for a handout?
I have to learn the art of selling which does not come naturally to me. The story needs to be fascinating, the editing near perfect, the cover eye-catching, and the advertising unforgettable.
The advertising. I have to do that too. I am currently trying to write a script for a short video commercial for The Power of Ketchup that hopefully will be appealing enough for social media people to pass around. I don't have a talent for writing scripts or directing or video editing or anything like that. I have to convince book stores to want to sell my book.
Going back to the heart of the process, writing this book took me months. Some books take a long time, some a short time. For most writers, a novel can take anywhere from a few months to a couple of years. This one actually did pretty well at nine months so far. Sounds like a pregnancy, doesn't it? Kind of feels like it.
Here is another kicker. In researching, most writers find they don't begin to make a profit until they have a good five or six good books out there available for sale. The Power of Ketchup is my third book so far.
My brain doesn't want to switch over to the task of marketing. It wants to write. Successful writers hire a marketing team. I wish I could do that. I could get on to the next book already. This morning on my walk, I had to stop, pull out my phone, and take notes on another story idea. I'm not short of book ideas. I am short on good ideas adding up to a good book, and I am short on marketing talent. Writing and marketing are very different mindsets.
What can you do? You can support your local writer. How? Besides buy the book, you can subscribe to their social media, share excerpts of the book with others, create a book club and read it together, host a book reading and invite the author, talk about the author to others, take copies to your local bookstore and/or library and ask them to carry it, give books as gifts, and write book reviews to help spread the word.
Writing is a talent, a gift, a skill, and way of life. What a writer gives to their audience is a piece of their soul with every chapter, every paragraph, every character that encounters a life-changing event. Please handle with care.
Thanks for reading,
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