Thursday, June 14, 2012

My Biggest Piece of Advice

Today I had a final writers' workshop with a wonderful up and coming author. What I love about Kimberly is her passion for what she's writing about. We had a great last session, and she was expecting to speak with my boss about pursuing publication. Unfortunately, my boss had an appointment that she wasn't able to break. Fortunately, I was able to spend some time with Kimberly not as her writing mentor, but as a fellow author. I was so eager to share with her my experiences that I'm sure her head was spinning by the time she left - because I was talking so much.

One thing, though, kept coming up. Did she have the courage to take on publishing a book? What a strange thought, isn't it for a writer to ask or even consider, right? But it really isn't. Whether you publish with a traditional NY publisher, a press, or even just through Amazon, there is one thing that is certain - YOU, the writer, will have to take control of your marketing. Sure, a NY publisher will market you to an extent, but they will only go so far for an unknown, first-time author. When you go with a small press, it is highly unlikely that there will be any marketing. And, for those who have self-published, well, you know it is all up to you.

I had several thoughts for her:

Create a brand, market everywhere and with everyone, network every place you go, and always be writing the next book.

She has a part-time job, a husband, three young kids. Will she have time to do all of this?

This is a question all writers should be asking of themselves. If a person wants to be successful, then they must make the time.

That led to another question; what is your idea of success?

If it's making a ton of cash, well, writing is not the business for you. Not unless you're lucky enough to be the next Stephen King, Nora Roberts, Stefanie Meyer, of that chick who wrote 50 Shades of Grey.  Aside from the "worldly" viewpoint of success, how do you measure it?

Becoming a serious writer isn't just about putting the words on the paper (or screen); it's about building a brand, an audience, readership, getting yourself out there in uncomfortable positions and situations.

I believe that Kimberly will succeed once she answers all of these questions, just like YOU - do you have the time to devote to marketing, what is your idea of success, and how do you measure success?