Today I wanted to write about the business of writing. More so the modern-day author in today’s landscape of writing and publishing. Much has changed over the years. Anyone entering into the business of writing with old ideas will face the harsh realities sooner rather than later. No longer can you expect to write a book and have a publisher market it while you go on to write then next one. You don’t get to hide out in a dark cave while the marketing machine turns your work into the next bestseller. No matter which form of publishing you decide on, you will be managing most, if not all, of your marketing.
When I first decided to write a book it felt more like a compulsion. A compulsion to tell stories locked in my brain. I had never experienced a feeling like this as far as writing goes and it energized me. I could write first drafts for the rest of my life. I loved the first draft due to the fact that I could just tell the story.
So I thought, why not do this for the rest of my life? How hard could it be? Oh, how naïve to think that way. Day after day, week after week, I sat in my chair and produced words, hatched plots, and invented a different worlds. It should be easy to create something out of nothing but it really isn’t. I found the task to be both simple and difficult at the same time. Days of revisions and re-writes sucked the fun out of the first draft but through it all a book took shape. Writing a book is a lot of work but it doesn’t even compare to the amount of work that has nothing to do with writing a book.
Okay, it has something to do with writing a book but it’s not actually writing the book. The writer of today who wants to publish their work needs to have a social media presence, preferably on multiple sites. Social, the scariest word to introverted people. They need to find and engage their readers, maybe start a blog. They begin a never-ending quest for likes, shares, follows, reviews, and email addresses. On a daily basis they have to come up with creative ideas to post to their various sites. And many are active in author’s groups as well as reader’s groups. Gotta find those beta readers. Phew!
But that still doesn’t cover everything that needs to get done. If you choose self publishing, you still need to find someone to make your cover, edit your manuscript, and help you promote your new baby. I’m not quite there yet, but I have heard that most of the “real” work doesn’t even start until the marketing begins. Ahhhh!
Sounds daunting and it is. So much time is spent on doing everything but write your story. You are a one man/woman show. A real authorpreneur. You have to write, edit, design, market, and become an IT specialist. All this while not getting paid if you’re self published. If you’ve failed at your self marketing attempts your book will be buried in a sea of other obscure books trying to earn some income. Self published authors shell out all their own money for editing, cover design, and publishing. All that hard work and it may not ever pay off, not that money is my motivating factor. Motivating themselves through all this might be the toughest job of all.
Would you work for a year or multiple years and risk not getting paid for your efforts?