Monday, August 23, 2010

The More You Want To Write, The More TIme You Have To Spend Away From Your Writing

Making the move to professional writing has a unique new twist that many unpublished authors seem to forget about. It's the marketing. Without you doing the legwork and getting out there to push your book, it will simply sit there on the shelf until the next batch of books show up. At that point, your "unsold" books get shipped back to the publisher. You simply don't want that.

I hear a lot of authors seem to think that the publisher will do the marketing for you. Part of this is true. The publisher does do a lot of the work by getting your titles out to the right people, by getting a few of the arcs out to key critique sites and so forth. I have also seen several editors say they would do that and then not get the books to the book stores and then drop the writer for not selling so well. That of course is an other story. Most of that work of getting your name out there really does fall on your shoulders as a writer

I had spoken to one writer and her comment really nailed it. "I can't believe how little time I have to write now with all of the marketing." Yes, you will find that your writing time is reduced. Again, another reason for not being a pantster but to be a plotter. If you carefully sit down and create a schedule for your writing and your marketing, you can do this.

So, what are some of these things you can do to get your name out there?

Let's start with an internet presence. Find those key loops to get on and make sure your name is always out there. Remember, the more people here your name, the more likely they will see your title at a book store and pick it up. "Oh, hey, I know that person." Cha Ching!

The key with an internet presence though is that it has to be worthwhile. This is not a mindless chatter about you and your cat. You have to draw them in with things that are of interest to your readers. The key is to keep it coming! When I first started this blog, I realized it was harder work than I thought. I had to come up with something to talk about every day? Wow! But, once I stumbled upon the central focus I wanted for the blog, things fell into place. Every day, as I am working on business for the agency, or reading another novel, I come up with ideas for the blog. Then in the morning, I work through one of the issues for you. I do the same thing I tell all of you to do. Everyday, take some time for your writing and yes, this happens on the weekends.

The next place to get your name out there is with the writing organizations you are part of. Attend those conferences, volunteer to help out, serve on a board. Think of it, if you are the key note speaker to a conference, they announce you and tell everyone in the room about your book. After you wow them, they want to buy your book. Now the key thing about this involvement is that you can't just simply be a name on a roster. You have to find a way to be active and up-front. This is not a place for wall-flowers.

Are you still sending your books out for reviews. While I have my own reservations about reviews, I do know that this is just one more way to get your name out there. People might see your name on a list. For me, I receive several daily posts from review sites. I'm not seeing who the next person is I want to buy, but just watching names. In essence, it is just like browsing your book store. If something looks interesting, you get it.

Now we talk about the money things. What type of promotional material are you doing? Do you get ads out there? Sure they cost money, but hey, it is another way to get a name out there. If money is an issue, you can do like several of the writers do. They form a group that "blogs together", presents workshops together, and then put an ad in a magazine together. In these cases, they have created a group that sounds like it is a formal group when all they have done is market their books well.

I can really go on and on with this list but I think you get the idea. If you have 3 hours to write each day, you need to know that some of that time will not be spent on your hero, but on your marketing. It will be well worth it though.



  1. I totally understand what the writer meant when she said:

    "I can't believe how little time I have to write now with all of the marketing."

    That's how I feel and it's only online. I've not even ventured offline yet. It's very much to do with time management and keeping to a schedule.

    I do appreciate your posts - and I hope you keep them coming.

    Thanks, Scott.

  2. As an unpublished writer, I find, as I'm establishing my platform of followers, that if I were to wait until I became published to do any of these things, I may never have time to write. I try to balance the time. For every hour I write I dedicate 15 minutes to marketing. Right now I'm not marketing a product, I am the product.

  3. from a reader's perspective: My reading habits have changed since delving into the twitter world. Before, I'd hit the bookstores and browse until something caught my interest. Or I'd run in, grab a book written by an author I knew, and run out.

    Nowadays, reviews play a big part in my selections. I don't necessary read the reviews (cause I'm afraid of spoilers), but I do check out the ratings bloggers give the books. If I see the book enough times on blogs, I often look into the book out of curiosity. I think at least half of books I've read this year are by author's I'd never heard of until twitter.

  4. This is a fantastic summary, and the fact that it's coming from an agent rather than a publisher ("they're just too lazy to do it so they're making me do the marketing") gives it even more impact. I'm saving this post.

  5. Well... my mama always taught me if you want something done right, do it yourself. :) That goes for marketing yourself and your books. Who better to do it than the author who loves her books and characters with all her heart? Really, there's never been so much opportunity. I know we all just need more time.

    Unfortunately, I'm much better at promoting other people than I am myself. I think authors need some kind of Round Robin Marketing System:

    Ex. I'll push Jessie Mac's book, she can push Rachel's who in turn promotes Reena's who get's KarenG publicity and KarenG promotes ME!
    Mmmm, maybe this is called a blog tour. :) But honestly, promoting each other really works. I think the Internet has alleviated a lot of author competition and jealousy. We're helping each other more. I hope.

    Very good post. I'm saving it too.