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Monday, August 23, 2010

Stick Your Toe in the Water!

I’m a writer, he’s a writer, she’s a writer, we’s a writer, wouldn’t you like to be a writer too? Knowing the kind of clay writers are crafted from helps me understand the creative mind and temperament. Yet, even though I’m one of them, writers never cease to amaze me and not always in a good way. We’re also loners and notoriously undisciplined—even lazy. Especially when it comes to doing any other thing associated with this business than writing. I wish I had a dollar for every time I’ve heard, “I’m a writer and I can’t let anything get in the way of my creativity.”

Especially not that money thing.

There is a business side to writing and it behooves us to learn all we can about how to market our books. Ask the next writer you meet how much they know about their marketing plan and you’ll probably hear something like, “I’m the creative part of this venture. The publishing house takes care of all that stuff.” When you do hear this, send me the dollar. It’s rightfully mine.

Enter the lazy or fearful writer.

Many do not want to learn about the yucky business part because they fear it will stifle their creativity. Yet, if you don’t know how to market what you’ve written, it will sit in a storeroom somewhere not reaching anyone. One writer came away from her first writer’s conference disillusioned. She said, “I am writing for God and all they talked about was making money.” Add to the beast (being a writer) a relationship with Christ and that changes everything.

Let’s look at this money thing.

God has given you a message that you just know will change the world. You’ve prayed over it, written it and find yourself smack up against the Machine: no publisher will touch your book because they don’t feel it will make money. “Evil! Money-grubbing, fiends!” you say. Yet, if you were to self-publish your book, wouldn’t you need to make your money back? Why then do we expect publishing houses to operate any differently?

The truth is that most publishers do not make money on book sales, they make money selling rights. (I just threw that little tidbit in to whet your appetites.)

This brings me to the point of my current filibuster: Lazy or fearful writers. If you never get out there and try to learn marketing, you’re sure to fail. That’s a 100% guarantee. What have you got to lose for trying? You’ll at least gain experience and be better prepared next time.

Let me blow another excuse out of the water.

“I’m a poor starving writer. I’ve no budget for frivolities like learning to market my books.”

I’ve been part of an online teaching seminar for the month of August. It has been excellent. The panel includes over a dozen top of the industry persons. I’ve learned more about marketing, sales, the creative process, the publishing industry, the mechanics of writing, and how to combat various obstacles, in this month than I have perhaps in my writing career. AND IT WAS FREE. Do you think I could get anyone interested in participating in this with me?

You guessed it. Nada, zip, zero, none. No one was interested. That’s on you.

I am so glad I took the plunge for many reasons, not the least of which is that I no longer fear the business side of this machine. I have tools with which I can take these books farther and with more impact. My vision and mission is clear.

Here’s my tip: Terry Whalin is extremely helpful in sending out information with free seminars, webinars, and so on. Google his sight and join in. Learn all you can and many of them are free so you’ve got no excuse. Take the plunge; I’m here to testify that all of my creativity is still intact and untainted by learning about the business. I survived, you will too.

1 comment:

Barbara said...

Debbie, I went to Terry's site and signed up for his e-newsletter. I wish I had known about the August seminar. Sounds interesting. Are you in a writers' group?

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