Regardless of how you publish your books, articles, or blog posts, the secret to being a successful writer is not anything pie in the sky or full of inspirational goo-gah. (Besides, I’m not the kind of person to spray glittery sunshine up your you know what, so here’s the real deal.)
Here's the big secret. Ready? Grab your pens.
Don't Be Lazy.
That's it. Let me deconstruct this a bit. Pull up a chair.
You. Yes, you. Stop looking around.
I’ve worked with writers in all kinds of ways since hmmm, gosh, 2009-ish. Ten years of observing that unique species of human we refer to as, writer. I’m a writer myself (six books released so far , been in a few anthologies, two new books on deck for this year), so I fully comprehend the challenges of balancing writing, marketing, the day job, real life, chronic pain, mental health, and single parenting.
Completely and totally get it.
There isn’t room in any of those roles to be lazy if we’re being #TruthBomb honest here. Yet, in my ten years of working directly with writers, I can count on one hand the writers who are get-out-of-my-way go-getters.
Not the kind who will eat you for lunch with some fava beans and a nice chianti. I mean those who actively set aside time for writing AND marketing AND promoting strategically — not creepy, spammy, ‘must take a shower after seeing this’ ways. Nope, I mean those who treat their publishing career as a business, not a hobby where they lollygag around on social media arguing politics or talking about writing their book, then hope and pray someone eventually buys it.
In fact, I so related to that panicky, ‘Where do I even start?” feeling I experienced with my first book back in 2012, that I created an entire month last year (year two is happening right now! and every May going forward if I decide to continue this exhaustive effort) where I’ve wrangled publishing experts this entire month of May to generously donate books, guides, and consultations, and yet shockingly (she says not shocked), few writers are taking advantage of it.*
When I speak with them as to why not, several have told me they know about it but don’t want to participate because then they’ll HAVE to work on their writing and marketing.
This baffles me. And yet, nah, it doesn’t.
It’s a thing, right? We all get it. I get it, too.
It’s not that I’m not writing. I’m here, aren’t I? I also write for my own author blog (RachelintheOC.com as well as on Medium, which are important parts of my author marketing and business marketing. I have those two manuscripts mentioned above on my desktop: one is in edits, and the other is in draft. I also keep a journal, a planner, and a book just for creative notes and ideas.
So, yea, I’m writing. Yet sometimes it feels like I’m not writing writing.
Am I accomplishing stuff? Am I climbing the mountain? Well, yea. Kinda.
It feels like this: it’s a big mountain, full of mud. It’s raining. Hard. I’m carrying this heavy weight. But I’ve got this! It’s just that some days it’s just…so exhausting. Or I have a migraine. Or I’m running my kids around (single mom). Or I’ve got client deadlines (solopreneur).
So, I set the weight down and make camp. For a little while. To rest and recuperate. And then get back out there when I’ve got my wind back.
That’s okay. I’m getting there. We’re all getting there (wherever the hell there is).
(Maybe lazy doesn’t describe me. I am a Capricorn, after all.)
These are the hard questions you have to ask yourself:
Creating an author platform is not a choice in today’s market. It’s not an option. At least, not if you want to sell books and be taken seriously by not only readers but also other writers, book bloggers, and book reviewers (as well as agents and publishers, if you go that route, or plan to). Many writers refuse to treat their writing like a business — they think if they can just sign with a traditional publisher, and then that publisher will swoop in and do all that work for them.
As a survivor of childhood sexual abuse, I deal with many stumbling blocks: anxiety, depression, chronic pain. There are days where all I can do is the bare minimum for my business, kiss my kids, and that’s it. And that’s okay. Big fan of The Four Agreements: always do your best, and if your best is just getting out of bed that day, okay. I Scarlett O’Hara that bitch: tomorrow is another day.
Please understand, I work with many different types of people and recognize there are completely legit reasons many writers are physically unable to attend to ‘doing it all,’ and that’s okay. You don’t have to. Know your limits. If you can only do a little, do that. The point here is, do something to move your writing career along if it’s important enough to you to do so.
In my business, many of my clients are traditionally published. Big 5 even. They hire me to do their social media and book marketing because no publisher does that for them. It’s on you, writer friends. Start early, share often. Learn author branding (we brand the author, not the book).
You don’t need to hire someone to do this marketing stuff for you. You learned how to write. You can learn how to market.
The other big secret I’ll share with you is this: book marketing isn’t about spamming your book links with everybody (that’s desperation). It’s about building relationships with readers early on.
I do a free weekly chat on my @BadRedheadMedia business Twitter, #BookMarketingChat, every Wednesday, 6 pm pst, 9 pm est. Every week for the last 4 years, I share my time and/or recruit an expert in publishing and marketing to share their expertise with you, the writing community.
Invariably, someone says, “Yea, I should do that,” or “I’ll give that a try.”
"Do or do not. There is no try." ~ Yoda
Writing is great. Publishing is a business. Treat it like one.
I’m giving away 10 eBook copies of my award-winning, bestselling BadRedhead Media 30-Day Book Marketing Challenge. Are you confused about how to set up your author platform? This the book for you!
Want to win this giveaway? Simply leave a comment WHY below!
All comments must be left prior to midnight on Friday, May 31st, 2019 in order to be eligible to win. Winners for the week announced on Saturday, June 1st.
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Rachel Thompson is the author of newly released BadRedhead Media 30-Day Book Marketing Challenge: How to energize your book sales in a month - created to help authors market their book. She is also the author of Broken Places (one of IndieReader's "Best of 2015" top books and 2015 Honorable Mention Winner in the San Francisco Book Festival), and the multi award-winning Broken Pieces, as well as two additional humor books, A Walk In The Snark and Mancode: Exposed. She owns BadRedhead Media, creating effective social media and book marketing campaigns for authors. Her articles appear regularly in The Huffington Post, IndieReader.com, The San Francisco Book Review (BadRedhead Says…), 12Most.com, BookPromotion.com, and Self-Publishers Monthly. Not just an advocate for sexual abuse survivors, Rachel is the creator and founder of the hashtag phenomenon #MondayBlogs and two live Twitter chats: #BookMarketingChat (co-hosted with TheRuralVA, Emilie Rabitoy) and #SexAbuseChat, co-hosted with C. Streetlights and Judith Staff. She hates walks in the rain, running out of coffee, and coconut. She lives in California with her family.
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