Sobering Facts In Writing
19 Jan 2007, 5:59:15 pm, posted by Gracie Passette
After reading on several writer forums, editor lists & publisher groups it's become apparent ~ transparently obvious ~ that too many writers do not know what the business of being an author is about.
. . . . . . . . .
Like any business you have a product, an article or a book, and it needs to be sold. Sold to publishers, sold to the reading public. Some works have a mission they sell as well, to enlighten or otherwise sway opinion. But in order for that to occur, for the message to be heard, you need to sell that product to an editor, publisher, or if self-publishing directly to the reader.
How are you going to do that if you aren't aware of the business side of things?
Like any business you must begin with a good product.
Belief in yourself is a good thing. Mandatory. But there's no reason to be so high on yourself on your own work that you drive over the curb of reason. Being intoxicated by your own creativity, words or point, means you are not sober enough to see if you have a good product. You need another point of view, or a designated driver for the time being.
By all means, ask mom, your spouse, your best friend to read it ~ but don't stop there. Your relationship creates a blindspot, or beer-goggles ~ whatever you'd prefer in this metaphor. They just don't see clearly when it comes to you. So you need the advice of another. Someone with professional experience or at least the guts & heart to be honest. Does the work make sense or motivate the reader as you intended? Hey, even erotica has a message or call to action, right? Does yours?
If you pass those rigorous reviews, you still aren't done perfecting your product.
Jerry D. Simmons says, "If you are an Independent Author or considering becoming one, please invest in a good editor, both for content and copy. If you are debating whether to spend money on marketing or editing, please make the editing decision."
I'm sure every editor is jumping up and down ~ as are readers. But authors should do more than consider this, they should act on it. As Simmons continues, "All the marketing money in the world may not overcome a bad product, and the marketplace will consider any book that has little or no editing, bad product. Independent Authors can only begin to make strides in sales and legitimacy when their product is editorially sound."
So let's say you have a sound product. Are you prepared for what lies ahead?
In this piece Simmons points out a rule many are unaware of: "Regardless of who publishes your book, big or small company, the fact remains that the marketplace for selling books, the booksellers themselves, have sales history that determines how many copies to purchase for their stores. They will not buy a book by an author who has a poor sales history simply because some small publisher decided to focus their marketing on the new book."
If this shocks you, then you need to do more research. Ignorance is like being drunk ~ it's not permanent and you can do something about it.
It's not that I, or even Simmons, is saying that it's impossible for an independent/self-published author or small press to get their books in bookstores ~ it's just going to be harder because of that fact. Once again, in my drunken analogy (err, comparing ignorance to drunkenness ~ I am not drunk), if you get behind the wheel to drive sales you can't be oblivious to the obstacles on the road before you.
If you write erotica, non-fiction works regarding sexuality, or some other adult topic expect more obstacles. Lots of things will be limited ~ right down to the advertising opportunities. (Yes, erotica and sex books may not even be able to buy ad space.)
While I may have more faith in marketing than Simmons when it comes to getting the attention and sales of booksellers (and they are by no means the only retail outlet for you either), it never ceases to amaze me what authors believe about marketing.
Far too many authors have visions of book tours they saw in old movies, where a publisher pays to jet them all around the world, put them up at The hotels, and comp meals at fashionable hot-spots. It's far more likely you'll drive your beat up '98 (the trunk filled with books you purchased) to a local signing you arranged and you'll be lucky if a free cup of coffee awaits you. If you're smart you'll be happy with this because you know other authors would be drunk for weeks at such prospects.
Then you'll return home to stomp for the next gig.
It's hard work being an author. Writing is only the first part of the job.
We often hear authors referring to their books as their 'babies'; as with giving birth, creation and delivery are nothing compared to nurturing them along for years.
And neither job should be performed while drunk.
With much affection,
(Want help in marketing? Try my marketing blog.)