Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Writing Is Not A Private Activity

Writers are always complaining about how they hate to do pitches because they are so shy. We hear writers
go on and on about how most writers are introverts. O.K. maybe there are a lot of writers out there that act that way, but all writers ARE NOT introverts and, if you want to make it in this business, you have to get your butt out of your chair and get out there to meet people.

Writing is a public business. Your success as a writer demands that you put yourself out there in front of the public. Readers want to know who you are, they want to know about you as a writer and they want to know about your books. This is a business that requires you getting out there to talk up your book every chance you get.

Think about it. If you are someone who follows publishers or writers on social media, how do you find out about the latest books? These people are all over the place chatting about their books. You see pictures of covers, you see blog posts, you see constant reminders about up-coming books. Why? Remember that so many of you decided to buy your books through those online bookstores? The result is that we don't have those brick and mortar stores to stumble across new authors. It wasn't the e-book push since that is still making up roughly 20% of the market. People cannot find you.

But this extends far beyond the advertising on social media. We're talking about getting out there in front of real people. As a published author, you now have an added responsibility of being more visible. This involves two things.

First, you have to attend conferences and workshops. You need to be sitting on panel discussions. You need to be helping out on all of those contests that you loved as an unpublished author, and yes, you need to be talking to other writers.

The second element is to be out there and ACCESSIBLE. I find it really frustrating when I see authors out there who have made it and yet, they walk around conferences acting as if they need body guards to keep "those writers" away from them. Somehow they seem to think they are better than everyone else. I am sure that new authors at one time would have thought, "Oh, I wish I could be that cool," but I do believe many of them turn into thinking, "Wow, these people are snobs." Yes, they are out in public, but the lack of accessibility is not there.

Here are some great role models of being GREAT role models who are always out there with the public... (Susan Elizabeth Phillips, Helen Lacey, Ann Lethbridge, Steve Berry, Jade Lee, and Cherry Adair).

I think the thing to remember about all of this is that you have to be a public person. This is a business today that requires you to be that public figure. You cannot be that recluse like Emily Dickinson and make it big any more.


  1. This is why we started our Author Marketing 101 website and workshops, to help authors create and promote their published selves - well. :D

  2. One thing I want to mention is being female. Sometimes it can be quite alarming to have people descend on you, and it's worse when you're female. I used to go to cons with an actor from a TV series. Sometimes I had to do impromptu bodyguard for him because those fans could become terribly aggressive in trying to get close to him. A writer friend had a same gender fan start following her around once she realized my friend had published a book. Sometimes people go functionally stupid when they realize the person is a "celebrity." If a writer were making an appearance, I'd recommend they take a person of the opposite gender with them. A fan is less likely to get aggressive if that person merely makes their presence known, and opposite gender means they can deal better with fans of the opposite gender who do become aggressive without crossing any lines.