Prior to being published I was given a word of caution by a best-selling author. He said, “If you want to be an author, you better love to write.”
So, I say, “Of course, I love to write. Why else would I do this?”
He just smiled and said, “This business sucks.”
It wasn’t long before I realized what he was really trying to tell me. First of all, this is a business. If you want to write just for the love of writing, then don’t even try to get published. Because once you do, it all changes. This is true whether you self-publish or get picked up by a traditional publisher. You still have to market your books.
Ahh…marketing. So I figure there must be people in the real world (as opposed to the fiction world we writers live in) who know how to do that. There are. There are thousands, or maybe even millions, of books written on how to be a successful author. I think I’ve read about half of them. I picked up everything I could get my hands on that promised to show me how to be a “best seller” or “#1 on Amazon.” I stopped buying those when I realized that many of those “experts” were attempting to “become #1 on Amazon” by selling the rest of us a book on how to “become #1 on Amazon.” Now I won’t buy anyone’s book whose rank is lower than mine…duh!
There are many good books written and published that offer great tips for writing and for marketing. But the ones that offer a “too good to be true” solution, are probably just that. In fact, I just recently read a book called You Are the Logo, by Tom Adams. It’s not about authors per se, but about marketing your business. The man is brilliant and has been very successful (not necessarily as an author) but as a marketing consultant. Marketing is not easy. It requires constant attention and hard work. My advice to a new author would be, “If you want to be a published author, you better love to market.”
I hope I don’t sound bitter about the industry because I am not. Quite the opposite, actually. Being an author has been an incredible adventure for me. I have written four books that have been consistently in the top 100 “legal suspense” category for this entire year. Nor do I have a simple answer to the question in my title. If I did, I would be #1 every day. But I do know this: I love to write and just as importantly, I love to market.
Writers, do you market your book? Do you enjoy it? Do you still love to write?
Readers, if you read a book and love it, do you help the author market it? Do you write a review when you love a book? All you have to do, is tell your friends about the book, maybe write a review now and then. It will keep your favorite author writing.
Author of The Advocate Series