Writers write because they’re writers. That is what they do. Nothing would get published if writers didn’t knuckle down and do the work. As a writer, you spend so much time behind the keyboard that you can easily neglect what happens when your book is ready to sent out into the world. If you spend too much time on marketing and not enough time on writing you won’t finish that masterpiece.
You certainly want readers. It is not just nice but it’s essential that you make a profit on the words that you write. Unless you are retired, independently wealthy, or have won the lottery you trade talent for trinkets. Some things you do for the greater good of the planet but for the most part if you want to put food in your mouth and a roof over your head you need to make a profit from you performance.
Marketing and promoting a piece of work is almost or often even equally as important as the work itself. Many times writers neglect the marketing challenge because they’re too busy putting words on paper, following their muse, or battling their own brand of resistance (resistance is the reason many books don’t get written, paintings don’t get painted, and businesses don’t get off the ground - Steven Pressfield)
It’s your work and as an extension of that work it's you that is the commodity being traded for trinkets in the wild and wonderful world. That’s why being a successful independent writer is so hard. It’s also why most writers are not really good marketers of their own work. They are too closely attached. Some do a brilliant job but most don’t. I suppose the 80 - 20 rule could be applied here. With writers, only 20 percent will be successful at marketing their book and the other 80 percent will not take the marketing of their book seriously enough and therefore fail to make a decent living at their craft. Think “Starving Artist”.
Traditionally, publishers would normally take on the challenge of marketing your book. You would send your book to publisher after publisher and hope, plead, and pray that one of those benevolent beings would take up the challenge of editing, printing, and marketing your work. There are some advantages to that approach and some disadvantages.
One of the advantages is that the writer doesn’t need to think about marketing their work. The extent of the writer’s marketing abilities only needs to be the ability to send the manuscript in the right format to the critical eye of the publisher and will their work to be published. If your work is deemed satisfactory by the elite publisher your book may be taken to press. Then the full force of the publishing machine would be pointed in your direction to make sure your writing met that particular publishers standards and the book gets into print.
The disadvantage is the editing and re-writing process could take a very long time and the work you submitted in the beginning may not be the work that's published in the end. There are many fingers that poke in that pot when it gets absorbed into the machine.
You may get your book into print with a traditional publisher but that big marketing machine doesn’t really get engaged for the unknown author. Maybe it would be for J K Rowling, Salman Rushdie, or Phillip Roth, but for a relatively unknown writer you support may be less than stellar.
All of the things that a publisher would have done to get your book distributed, marketed, advertised, and promoted to the public now falls on the author. As I said here in the beginning the writer usually spends most of their time writing and not marketing. That’s why, at times, it's good for a writer to get partnered with a book marketer.
Book marketing expertise can delivered as a consultative service, hired out to the consultant, or can be a combination of the two.
If, as a writer, you want to be the driving force in your book marketing program you may still want to consider hiring a marketing consultant to help you out. A consultative book marketer will help guide a writer through the tasks but not actually do them for the writer. They can even provide the writer with a project plan to get their production and promotion underway. The marketer will know how to get the product out the door and tell the public about it and they can teach you the ropes.
You can hire book marketer to take care of organizing and engaging the right people to get your book properly edited, produced, marketed, and promoted. Of course some level of effort will be required by the writer but far less than going it alone.
Then, of course, the writer can decide to take some tasks on for themselves and hire out some of the tasks to the book marketing consultant. Remember that your consultant needs to eat too and they can provide you with a very valuable service.
A partnership is often a great way to get the goods out the door. You can consider it a cross between traditional publishing and self / indie publishing. Jim and I have partnered in this effort. Jim is the writer and I am the marketer. We are partnered to help each other succeed. I hope you can find the right partner for your project as well.
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