Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Writer Wednesday: Were Writers Ever Just Writers?


Lately I've been wondering if writers were ever just writers. Sure, I guess we could just write books, send them to our agent, who submits to publishers, and let the chips fall where they may while we write the next book. But would we really find success if we ignored all the other jobs writers have?

Today more than ever, writers have to be great at marketing. I'm talking getting your books out there by identifying who your fans are and making sure your book is seen by those fans. Everything from interacting on social media, joining Goodreads and FB groups, setting up book signings, creating teaser images, maintaining a website, blogging, offering free content... The list goes on and on. 

Sometimes I'm left wondering when I'm supposed to write. I'm getting one book ready for production and another ready for my editor, and what I noticed is that some parts of these books are foreign to me. I'm so far removed from when I drafted them that I don't remember writing certain parts. That's not necessarily a bad thing. Distance gives you perspective and can really help during the revision process. But I actually have to schedule writing time. Part of me finds that crazy. I used to just write. Nothing else. Now I'm writing, editing, marketing, and self-publishing. I feel like I wear a thousand hats each day.

So I'm wondering, was it always this way? Or has it gotten worse with time? What do you think?

*If you have a question you'd like me to answer from the other side of the editor's desk, feel free to leave it in the comments and I'll schedule it for a future post.

12 comments:

  1. Oh it gets worse with time. We writers torture ourselves by doing more work to make our manuscript babies shine. It is the doomed wonderful life of true writers who want to put our best foot forward. We can't bear putting out sub par work.

    Question: How to avoid ending up with duplicate covers to other authors? Especially with use of stock photo images? Is digital manipulation enough and is going custom always viable with meager pockets?

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    1. Great question, Sheena. I'll tackle that next week.

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  2. I think writing is part of every worker's job regimen. Everyone has to write during the course of their work, but where we differ as writers of fiction or when our writing is put out for consumption, we have to communicate in a manner where promotion of those materials is priority. Writing may be our passion, but marketing and promoting the work is what puts food on the table.

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    1. You are very right. I guess every job has parts to it that we don't enjoy as much. ;)

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  3. It is the great quandary, isn't it?

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  4. I started writing in the 90s and, according to my friends from back then, yes it's gotten harder. Publishers used to have full publicity departments who did a lot of work for authors. However, back then it was harder to get the word out. They'd take out ads and that sort of thing and even schedule bookstore signings. But social media has given us the ability to reach people on a more one-on-one basis without spending a fortune.

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    1. Yes, it's definitely gotten worse with the change in technology. Worse for writers, that is, since more responsibility now falls on us.

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  5. I suppose some writers get to just write, and an editor is waiting for their next manuscript with tapping fingers. But not many.
    So many of us are shy that marketing is the harder part.
    For all you achieve in one day, Kelly, I think you're a great example of what a contemporary working writer should be.

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    1. I see James Patterson doing his own promo all the time, and I have to think if even he has to work so hard at it, we all have to. LOL

      Aw, thank you, Mirka. You're such a sweetheart!

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  6. When I started writing in the 1990s I didn't know you were supposed to promote your work. At first, I wrote for children's magazines, so it wasn't a problem. Writing books was different. It wasn't so much on the Internet as personal. I still just want to write. The other stuff is necessary though.

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