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Friday, May 8, 2015

How to Kill Your Writing Career

An uncounted number of writers start out on fire for their craft. Their mind blazes with new ideas and fantasies. This is it, their time to shine. Then reality strikes. Hard work follows. Rejections and criticism stings. Roadblocks ensue and enthusiasm wanes to a spark. It goes out.

Why?
         
Negativity. Telling yourself, you’re not good enough, that no one likes what you do. Criticism takes its toll and beats you down. “I can’t do it.”

It is hard work, this writing gig, but every day you continue is another day of improving your skill. Let you creativity out and give it free rein to do its will. Write every day, something. Anything. Join a writing club or guild. Listen to crits and accept them as sign markers on the road to Published.

Make good thoughts your journey not your destination.

Take a hint from Taylor Swift and Shake it off, Shake it off.

Free Books. It has become an industry standard, pricing
books at $2.99 and below. Or free.

What is your time worth? Devaluing your work is a plague in this industry. Amazon seems to run on this marketing ploy. Does it work? Or does it cheapen writers.

My Kindle books are regularly priced at $4.99. I will initiate sales from time to time but I won’t go below that amount. In my opinion, to price a book below $3 slots it into the category of Desperate and Inferior. Your books deserve better.

In Cruise Mode. The manuscript is done and you’ve polished it to a high shine. You submit it and an agent wants to know your marketing plan.

You scratch your head. You don’t want to learn how to market. You barely know how to format in Microsoft Word. Social networks leave you disgusted. Besides, it’s time consuming, and you don’t want to take the time to network, blog, or maintain a website. All you want to do is write.

Well, it don’t work that way, minion.

To survive in this World Wide Web market, you must learn to make a name for yourself, to create a platform, and be more than a puff of air. Tech—how to use Google maps, create a website, use Word or other word processing programs, how to Facebook—is unavoidable. You need to continue to improve your writing skills and blog, blog, blog.

This is your resume. It shows the potential agent/publisher/reader that you are serious and worth their time.

Otherwise, you’re just another skiff of cloud scudding across the sky, wind-blown and quickly gone.

Not a hobby. The day you finally have the guts to tell an acquaintance that you are a writer, everything changes. When you make this a business and not a hobby or a feather
in the wind, you become a Writer. It is your job, your career. 
Not a sideline.

“Make it so.” – Captain Jean Luc Picard, Star Trek, the Next Generation.

Marketing. This is the pinnacle of the mountain we are climbing, the last step of the plank. And if you can show me someone who loves this aspect of published author, I would gladly scream, “Are you nuts?”

To promote myself is painful. At family reunions, I’m the quiet introvert in the corner, watching people. I am NOT the one standing in front of a classroom and giving lections on how to become a published author...

...oh wait. That was pre-Wilder Mage. Now, I do give speeches. *shiver*

You must swallow the Nerd and force the Diva into the limelight. Make a name via branding, website, blog. Have a social network. Join a local writers club. Call the schools. See if they need someone to give a lecture on how to write. Do press releases and book signings.

Learn how to YouTube, comment on other blogs, and create email signatures. All of this lends to making a name that stands out. It sells.


Summary. Be and act like a professional writer. Believe in yourself. Never stop learning your craft.

6 comments:

Sean McLachlan said...

The number one career killer is giving up. If you don't give up, you're still in the game.
Marketing is hard for me too. I have yet to find techniques that are really effective. For the most part I've just been working on my productivity and hoping for the best. I've also been writing more short stories, especially those related to my series. A short story is like paid advertising, in which you're the one getting paid!

Chrys Fey said...

The title for this blog captured my attention.

I'm glad that my publisher doesn't do the free days through Amazon anymore. They realized there was no advantage to doing it so stopped signing us up for KDP. It was a smart move. I've only published short stories and novella's so far and all of them are $2.99 or lower. But that won't be the case when I publish my first novel later. Other than doing a sale, it'll be at a descent price.

All excellent points!

Huntress said...

@Sean. You are one of my heroes. Love your work and industry.
For those who don't know this rather cool author, here is his author site:
http://www.amazon.com/Sean-McLachlan/e/B001H6MUQI


@Chrys. I'm still using KDP and publish exclusively on amazon. That might change in the future but for now it works for me as a self-published author. Or am I an Indie?
Can someone please tell me what I am?

Charity Bradford said...

NOW you tell me free days on Amazon are pointless? A couple of weeks ago I read that giving them away free helped you move up the ranks on Amazon so you could be noticed more and therefore sell more.

I set up a sale and by golly I gave away a ton of books. So many that I felt defeated in a way. 800 free books! The negative is that could have been a lot of money. The positive is maybe I'll get 2-3 reviews out of it? Maybe they'll like it and buy my other books?

Needless to say, I hate marketing too! What works short of having your novel turned into a major motion picture. Seems like nothing. *sigh*

Okay, back to revising!

Huntress said...

I'm pretty darn sure the practice of giving away your work as a marketing tool won't die out. There will always be someone following in the foot steps of Amanda Hocking who promoted this concept. Yes, it worked for her, but that was before the current deluge of poorly written books.

People want free stuff without attachments. Giving a review for a free book (2-3 reviews! Wow. That's a better percentage than what I received) isn't in their playbook I reckon.

Okay, now I'm ranting *stoppingNow*

Kristin Smith said...

Wonderful blog post and words to live by! I will keep that in mind about not selling my books for free!

I have so many ideas for marketing for when that day comes. I just hope I get a chance to use them!