Writing is a private activity. Selling is a public activity.

Writing is a private activity that requires concentrated, focused effort with attention to story line, characterisation and situation. One glancing mistake and the story line could take a wrong turn.

Then, when the novel is finished and has been thoroughly edited by an independent editor, and a publisher decides to take it on, the writer discovers that they have to undergo a major change in thinking and direction.

Suddenly, they are no longer thinking about the detail in a story or a how to craft words for a fiction or non-fiction piece, they must now think about the ‘real’ world around them in a different way.

The writer still has to think about detail but now it is making sure that promotional information is correct and that it is written in ways that will appeal to the readers of the information.

Then comes social media. A writer has to master social media, set up Facebook, Twitter and Instagram accounts among others. Then the writer has to keep coming up with new ideas for promotions and new images to attract people’s attention. It has to stand out. Feeding social media is like feeding a ravenous beast. No sooner has one piece gone out than its hungry for more.  But most of all, the attention to detail has to focus on making sure the tone is right for the media it is going out on. Not only is the writer now dealing with an unfamiliar array of tools but he or she is also challenged with competing with all the other people promoting their books, services and consultancies. If the writer puts one lexical foot wrong, his or her followers vanish like the fog before a rising sun.

But marketers understand marketing. Writers understand writing. Two quite separate skills.

Marketing is a public activity. Not only is marketing a particular skill that people train over many years to master, it also requires a particular personality. That personality is confident and extroverted, not worried about what people might think and might even enjoy being publicly criticized. It calls for a salesperson’s mastery of the art of accepting rejection.

The challenges writers face are complex. They spend solitary hours producing their novels, then they have to promote their work and themselves. One minute they have to be sensitive to their character’s situations and challenges; the next they have to become insensitive to theirs and other people’s feelings. It’s the kind of mental acrobatic act Robert Louis Stevenson assigns to his lead character in Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde.

 

writing
selling

Comments

Great blog. Writer beware that you are only 50% done when you finish writing the book. Although it's tough trying to sell but don't give up. I only sold 19 copies of my first book 17 years ago but since then I have sold another 100 + and had the book downloaded as a free book to over 8,000 readers. May not have sold many but I got a lot of fans and I am still plugging the book. Suraya is right. Practice being a mental acrobat. If you love your book that's all that matters
That's a great observation Ray and on the money.