I often see discussions on blogs or around the social media sphere about writing. Usually it’s on the basis that everybody writes fiction, and ‘writing’ is the part that produces the first draft. Everything after that is ‘editing’.
I think writing needs a wider definition than that. It includes all forms of writing, including non-fiction. What’s more, to me, everything a writer does before sending the manuscript to the publisher is ‘writing’.
What’s more, writers need to be very broad-skilled. These days – especially for those who publish independently – the skill set encompasses not just subject expertise and an ability to write about it (be that fiction, non-fiction, or whatever) but also an ability to understand editing, publishing, typesetting, design and production.
After that – well, then comes the most important thing a writer can do. Marketing.
In the old days – you know, five or six years ago – marketing was a publisher thing. The author got the book done and then the publishers took the lead with media coverage, interviews and promotions. By contract, authors are required to participate (and it’s fun anyway) – but they don’t often initiate.
All that’s changed of late. These days – and especially for authors who publish independently – the onus is on to push a book, actively and constantly. Every avenue has to be taken up, especially avenues that get promotions away from being online.
Why? Because in the new paradigm, there is an absolute flood of books and all the new channels for discovering them – social media and online shopping – are clogged with everybody screaming for attention.
That is the real challenge. There’s no point in writing, other than for self-entertainment, if it isn’t going to be published; and there’s no point in publishing if it isn’t going to sell.
After all, authors like to be paid for their time, just like everybody else. And that’s where the marketing comes in.
Copyright © Matthew Wright 2016