From Writer to Author to Publisher to Marketer

by Joel Friedlander on May 11, 2012 · 57 comments

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One of the amazing things that happens when you start self-publishing is a certain kind of evolution.

Almost all self-publishers start off as writers, of course. But it’s what happens next that’s really interesting. Follow along here and see what you think.

The Writer

It’s amazing to read the biographies of writers and hear their stories of how they started writing at age 5 or wrote a novel at age 10. It’s not true for all writers but there’s some kind of impulse that makes otherwise rational people take valuable time out of their day to wrestle out the stories or ideas or teachings or whatever it is that they are compelled to write.

Because it really is compulsion for many writers. Others take to it more casually, but we all spend time learning how to communicate with this deceptive tool of written language.

Like lots of other stuff, you learn it by doing it. And that means, almost by necessity, that you spend a lot of time alone with your own thoughts, and with your own words.

A lot of the life of a writer is lived in … solitude.

Look, there’s really no replacement for the time it takes to learn to craft a decent sentence, or to create a persuasive argument. Writing is solitary by its nature, and a lot of the life of a writer is lived in that solitude.

A writer who works as a professional, whether full time or part time, is also engaged in the business of writing, with being accepted or rejected for publication, with agents and editors. All these activities take place in the wider world, and naturally develop a different side of the writer’s life.

The Author

It’s easy to see that a writer is simply someone who writes. But then who is an author?

I suppose in a general sense there’s not much difference between the two. But for me, an author is a person who has written a book.

Now, when you’ve written a book—become an author—usually you’re intending to publish that book.

Most books are written for publication of one kind or another, there’s not much incentive for authors to write a book they don’t intend to publish, is there?

It may be a very private or small-circulation publication, but even then the author will need to produce copies and distribute them to other people.

So I connect the idea of being an author with publishing the work you create. You might take any one of many paths to reach your goal of publication, but the goal remains the same.

The author has a public face in the world.

That means that authors also have a business capacity, the necessity to deal with agents and editors, with the finances and tax implications of earning income from your writing.

But the big difference, for me, is that the author almost always has a public face in the world, while a writer might remain completely private, if they choose.

The Publisher

And by that I mean the self-publisher. Writers turn to publication to reach their goals, becoming authors in my little evolutionary scale.

Taking control of your own book publishing boosts you to a new level. Becoming a self-publisher requires a leap much larger than going from being a writer to an author.

As a self-publisher you become concerned with lots of stuff that has little to do with writing or being a published author.

Book manufacturing, distribution, discoverability and design all become important in a new way. You create a company structure of some kind. Publishers make contracts with freelance publishing professionals, learn to write press releases, and start to study pricing and other publisher-specific kinds of tasks.

The skill set required to go from author to self-publisher will prevent many writers from making this leap.

Already you can see that the skill set required to go from author to self-publisher will prevent many writers from making this leap. Their path will be different than yours, and that’s perfectly okay.

For most authors, becoming self-publishers will also push them into social media, or increase the time and energy they spend on social media sites.

But there’s still one more step to take.

The Marketer

Many writers operate quite well as observers of the world around them who bring lessons back from their observations.

For an author, a place has been created in the world by their writing, and that has an influence on other people.

The publisher has the capacity to create real products from her own stories and ideas and industry, and to build a business from them.

But the marketer is in touch with people who will be the ultimate users of the publisher’s products. The marketer understands their hopes and fears, their dreams and nightmares.

The marketer closes the loop of the whole writing-publishing enterprise.

By connecting the skill of the author to the needs of readers, the marketer closes the loop of the whole writing-publishing enterprise.

In a way, writers need readers and become authors to find them. Now, authors can become publishers to create and deliver their books to readers through entirely new forms of distribution.

But publishing, by itself, simply isn’t enough to allow most books to reach their potential. Almost by force of circumstance, successful self-publishing will require us to become marketers, in one way or another.

The internal world of the writer has evolved into the market-focused world of commerce. It’s quite a challenge to keep them all going. How do you do it?

Photo by bryanwright5

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    { 49 comments… read them below or add one }

    Ellie Stevenson May 11, 2012 at 3:16 am

    This is so true. I’ve just published my first novel on Amazon and I imagined that when I’d done this, I could start writing the next one straight away. Instead of which there are a whole host of marketing and promotional activities to undertake (not to mention scary decisions to be made). No longer can authors sit in their garret and write! More to the point, learning these additional skills with a limited budget and even less time is quite a challenge.

    Reply

    Joel Friedlander May 11, 2012 at 2:17 pm

    So true, Ellie, and that’s one of the reasons you’ll find more and more education online for authors.

    Reply

    Turndog Millionaire May 11, 2012 at 4:48 am

    Nice summary Joel

    It really does showcase the modern day author quite well. You get into something for the love, but to truly make it work you need to make sacrifices and allow other things to come into your life, and ultimately, for you to love them too.

    It’s like someone who really loves to play Football, and is indeed good at it. If they want to become a pro though they need to train, and hit the gym, and watch videos, and listen to coaches, and go the extra mile. They may not want to, but to succeed it’s a must, and hopefully, somewhere along the way, they love to learn the process as a whole

    Matt (Turndog Millionaire)

    Reply

    Joel Friedlander May 11, 2012 at 2:18 pm

    Yup, writing itself is a pretty enjoyable activity. But when you want to make it more than that, you really need to educate yourself and take action.

    Reply

    Yeshavant May 17, 2012 at 11:57 pm

    Hi, I had printed Book named “Ideal Guide for the Healthy Life”. I need publisher, Financer, Marketing Partners. Can u help please? thank u.
    I had developed rare Pranayam Techniques that help to – Prevent, Control & Cures – over 150 possible Human Ailments & Diseases. It is very very useful for each human being, world over. The techniques are based on the text of over 5000 years old Indian Ayurvedical Systems and Pranayam Yoga. They are unique, useful and can be practically experienced with little guidance. I can demonstrate same to any group of experts to see as to how they work and help every individual to maintain his/her Health and Wellness, in natural way. My Book is printed in India and being sold to groups in lectures. Yeshavant Nevrekar.

    Reply

    Christopher Wills May 11, 2012 at 5:09 am

    Interesting post Joel. In theory I have progressed through all 4 of your ages but I feel like the neanderthal in your image at the top of the post.
    I’ve written, self published and marketed but my earnings haven’t enabled me to move out of my cave yet – I stoop because it has a low roof. I still live on a diet of nuts, berries and raw mammoth when I can kill one. Also I talk in grunts with fellow authors.
    Hopefully my second novel, due out soon will enable me to move out of my cave and stand upright. I might even earn enough money to buy some clothes and proper food. And I might learn to talk like a real author.
    But will I be happy spending all day looking at sales lists and negotiating tax on my earnings? Not sure because I’m quite happy being a neanderthal, although my cave gets cold when the big fire in the sky goes away – must go and sacrifice something to make sure it comes back. :)

    Reply

    Joel Friedlander May 11, 2012 at 2:19 pm

    You know, Christopher, I always suspected there was some “throwback” aspect to being a writer, and you seem to agree.

    And certainly no writer I know wants to spend all day on business stuff, but you can’t just ignore it either. Thanks for the lift.

    Reply

    Rodolfo March 28, 2014 at 5:21 am

    Thanks for writing such an eaosnty-understa-d article on this topic.

    Reply

    Louise Behiel May 11, 2012 at 6:02 am

    Good summary Joel. I have my first book on amazon. and marketing takes a lot of time. I’m surprised that I have to limit what I do. I’ve had to pick and choose because there’s only so many hours in the day – especially if I want to release another book or 20. I wasn’t doing all of them well, so I started picking and choosing, to ensure the image I want to project went out.

    Reply

    Elizabeth Barone May 13, 2012 at 6:41 am

    I’m having the same problem: time. I’m finally learning how to pick and choose, but I always feel guilty because there’s always something that gets neglected.

    Reply

    Yeshavant Nevrekar May 17, 2012 at 11:59 pm

    Yeshavant May 17, 2012 at 11:57 pm
    Hi, I had printed Book named “Ideal Guide for the Healthy Life”. I need publisher, Financer, Marketing Partners. Can u help please? thank u.
    I had developed rare Pranayam Techniques that help to – Prevent, Control & Cures – over 150 possible Human Ailments & Diseases. It is very very useful for each human being, world over. The techniques are based on the text of over 5000 years old Indian Ayurvedical Systems and Pranayam Yoga. They are unique, useful and can be practically experienced with little guidance. I can demonstrate same to any group of experts to see as to how they work and help every individual to maintain his/her Health and Wellness, in natural way. My Book is printed in India and being sold to groups in lectures. Yeshavant Nevrekar.

    Reply

    chris May 11, 2012 at 6:17 am

    I’m moving from Author to Publisher. More specifically from 330 page eBook to Self-published hardcopy. That being said, I already understand the role of Marketer.

    So how does one separate these roles? Use a weekly calendar. Mark specific days to only work on marketing. Other days only on publishing or writing. The key is don’t try to do all roles in one day. Make a weekly plan and stick to it.

    Reply

    Joel Friedlander May 11, 2012 at 2:21 pm

    Good plan, chris. I split it up during the day for myself, so I use the mornings for writing and try as much as possible avoid business, then spend the rest of the day as a publisher, marketer, and blogger.

    Reply

    Dave Cornford May 11, 2012 at 4:28 pm

    I use the split day approach as well. It’s hard to churn out the words for a full day anyway, but I guess that’s all about personal writing style. In the morning I take a laptop to another place in the house where I’ve set up a desk, stay offline, and work for a few hours. Sometimes there’s a lot written, sometimes only a little but a big problem solved. Afternoon is “business”, back in the study, although some days (rarely but cherished) I have to go back to the story and keep going for the rest of the day.

    Reply

    Mary Tod May 11, 2012 at 6:31 am

    Hi Joel – I might argue that your last two – publisher and marketer – occur more in parallel than in sequence. Authors are “out there” in a myriad of ways before necessarily publishing. Just a thought, as always.

    Reply

    Joel Friedlander May 11, 2012 at 2:21 pm

    Oh, sure, Mary, these kinds of divisions are pretty artificial. They only help in that they provide a perspective on what we might already be doing that we haven’t thought of before.

    Reply

    Lou Belcher May 11, 2012 at 8:52 am

    I hear so often that folks are surprised how much time has to go into marketing. As writers, we would sure love to just write.

    Excellent post. It does pull the roles together for us and makes the transition from on to the next make sense.

    Thanks, Lou

    Reply

    Linton Robinson (@LintonRobinson) May 11, 2012 at 8:53 am

    That is such a depressing trajectory.

    Reply

    Matt May 11, 2012 at 10:29 am

    Perhaps, but I think over time they change:

    Writing: Always there, hopefully increasing over time.

    Author: Probably just happens as you write more, have more depth.

    Publishing: After this is done once, or you have an ready audience, I would think would also become a relatively trivial activity, ie needs to be done but you’ve already done it or have an audience ready, making the process not too bad, maybe like bottling a new brew, needs to be done, but when you think of the result, not so bad.

    Marketing: Only needed, or needed the most anyway, when you’re new, don’t have an audience, have to get out there make yourself visible. Afterwards, I would think this also decreases, ie look at Tom Waits, after years of touring, no need, can still crank out album after album, with seemingly zero “marketing” activity.

    So, result being it seems not much different than any other new endeavor?

    Reply

    Joel Friedlander May 11, 2012 at 2:22 pm

    Depends what lights your fire, I suppose.

    Reply

    Thomas Burchfield May 11, 2012 at 3:54 pm

    I’ve been at this over a year, with three books out under my Ambler House imprint, and all I can say is I’m dancing as fast as I dare.

    With that in mind, just the other day, I received the stunning news that my novel DRAGON’S ARK (with interior design by Joel!) won a bronze medal (third place) in the 2012 Independent Book Publishers Association (“IPPY”) contest; one entry of out 5,000.

    One lesson to take from this: Enter contests.

    This award of course, gives me an excellent marketing edge. Even so, marketing is tough and I don’t do all there is to do and I doubt if I can. I can cover my webpages, Facebook and Twitter and few other places, visit local bookstores, etc., but once its gets past a certain point, the environment becomes overwhelming and I feel the need to get some help (and put down money for it). The way I see it, a new species of literary agent may evolve, one who helps authors with the marketing end (in the same way that Joel designs book interiors, etc.). In fact, there are already organizations out there that do this, one them being the IPPY sponsors, the Jenkins Group.

    I”ll be posting a piece related to this issue on my own webpage tomorrow.

    Thanks!

    Thomas

    Reply

    Joel Friedlander May 11, 2012 at 4:42 pm

    Thomas,

    Very exciting about your award. And I agree that the roles of the usual players in the publishing industry are undergoing flux. Every agent I’ve talked to has expressed an interest in learning how to publish and/or market their client’s works, and that in itself is pretty amazing.

    Reply

    Ernie Zelinski May 12, 2012 at 1:25 am

    Actually your marketing should start when you start writing, before you are even an author or are even published.

    Part of your marketing starts with choosing the right title and subtitle for your book. I know the title for my “How to Retire Happy, Wild, and Free” and its subtitle “Retirement Wisdom That You Won’t Get from Your Financial Advisor” have contributed to its success. (Over 155,000 copies sold and published in 9 languges).

    Your initial marketing efforts, when you decide to write your book, should also address this comment by John Kremer, author of “1001 Ways to Market Your Books”.

    “The question you have to ask yourself is who is going to read your book. And you better have a damn good answer.”

    Related to this, Jane Friedman in an article in the most recent Writer’s Digest magazine poses this as one of the most important questions for
    people considering self-publishing their book:

    “Do your readers prefer print or digital?”

    Jane Friedman’s question is so basic. Yet it is important and overlooked
    by most people. It is a marketing question. I read blogs and articles by people claiming to be book experts saying that ebooks are definitely the way to go without giving consideration to print books. None of these experts have ever posed this important question. This just shows that they are not even close to being as astute as Jane Friedman.

    More tips about marketing:

    “The best time to start promoting your book is three years before
    it comes out. Three years to build a reputation, build a permission
    asset, build a blog, build a following, build credibility and build
    the connections you’ll need later.”
    — Seth Godin

    “Every book deserves a 3-year committment. Don’t write or publish a book unless you are willing to commit at least three years to keeping that book alive. You don’t have to commit to each book fulltime, but do something every day for each book you love.
    — John Kremer, writing in “1001 Ways to Market Your Books”

    In short, using Godin’s and Kremer’s advice, you should market your book at least three years before you release it and at least another three years after you release it.

    One last item that I came across today:

    “Many first-time authors are not concerned about the money, they
    want the notoriety. They soon get smarter and look for the money.”
    —Dan Poynter, “The Self-Publishing Manual”

    Reply

    Joel Friedlander May 13, 2012 at 9:03 am

    Thanks, Ernie. Of course you are right and professional nonfiction writers particularly know the market for their books before they are written. Here I’m following the progression of a writer who is newer to the field.

    Reply

    Scott James May 12, 2012 at 8:40 am

    This is the best succinct statement of what I’m going through and doing I’ve found. Thank you for putting it out there. I’m living it with this process: http://bit.ly/socialpublishing For me, it’s changing my whole life, in good ways and hard ways. Cheers to authors making it happen!

    Reply

    Joel Friedlander May 13, 2012 at 9:04 am

    Good luck with the campaign, Scott, it looks like you are well on your way.

    Reply

    bowerbird May 12, 2012 at 1:28 pm

    sorry, joel, but i don’t buy it. at all.

    most especially not the part where
    the “most evolved” position on the
    totem-pole is the _marketeer_,
    which i see as the scummiest of all.

    the “buy my book” obsession which
    infests so many self-publishers today
    is a big turn-off to the general public.
    it is currently the _biggest_ black-eye
    being borne by the artistic community.

    fortunately, this stage won’t last too long,
    because it doesn’t scale. once too many
    are doing it, it simply won’t work any more.

    then we will be back in the state where
    writers sit down and write because they
    are compelled to write, not because they
    hope there’s a paycheck when they get up.

    if y’all want to be businessmen, that’s fine;
    go start a business, with our best blessings,
    because we hope you make a lot of money.

    but leave writers alone, thank you very much.
    because what _we_ want to make is our art.

    that’s my opinion… and i’m sticking to it…

    -bowerbird

    Reply

    Jean Ann Geist May 12, 2012 at 7:21 pm

    Just curious. If you aren’t interested in self-publishing and marketing, why are you reading the Book Designer blog? Those who have run the gauntlet from writer to author to self-publisher to marketer know that very few of us will turn a profit. We are driven by the desire to share our books with others. The sense of pride in taking one’s writing from a raw manuscript to a professionally designed book is well-earned, but seldom well-compensated monetarily. However, I wouldn’t trade the journey I’ve taken over these past several years for a bestseller with the publishers inside the “gate”!

    Reply

    bowerbird May 12, 2012 at 7:47 pm

    jean ann said:
    > If you aren’t interested in
    > self-publishing and marketing,
    > why are you reading
    > the Book Designer blog?

    i’m greatly interested in self-publishing!
    individual expression! yes! count me in!

    i just don’t make the awful mistake of
    conflating self-publishing and marketing.

    take my posts right here, on this topic.
    i speak my mind, so you can hear it…

    i’m not interested in having you “buy it”.
    i would much rather have you formulate
    your own opinion, and then articulate it.

    i certainly won’t punish you if we disagree.
    as they say, that’s what makes a horse-race.

    > We are driven by the desire
    > to share our books with others.

    interesting word you used there — “share”…

    -bowerbird

    p.s. i was promoting self-publishing long before
    there was “the book designer” blog. or blogs at all.
    that interest continues. and i think joel is spiffy…

    Reply

    Larry Jacobson May 12, 2012 at 2:28 pm

    Joel,
    You have hit the nail on the head. I’m sure it’s quite a shock to many authors when they discover that the world doesn’t just flock to buy your book after putting your heart and soul into its creation.
    I enjoyed the writing, I enjoy being an author, and I’m enjoying the marketing as well.
    Self-publishing allows each and every one of us to put our work out “there” and gives us all a chance for the world to see our creations. I’m loving it!
    Best of luck to us all!
    Larry Jacobson

    Reply

    Ernie Zelinski May 12, 2012 at 4:14 pm

    For those writers such as bowerhead who think that marketing is beneath them:

    “Nothing sells by itself.”
    — Ellen Chodosh

    “Being good in business is the most fascinating kind of art
    . . . Making money is art and working is art and good
    business is the best art.”
    — Andy Warhol

    “Everyone lives by selling something, whatever be his right to it.”
    — Robert Louis Stevenson

    In short, the majority of writers and artists who are against marketing are broke, have money problems, and are in denial that they have money problems.

    In the end, however, it is much better for the rest of us truly creative people because we have less competition when it comes to our using our creativity to market our creative works.

    Reply

    bowerbird May 12, 2012 at 7:36 pm

    ernie said:
    > For those writers such as bowerhead

    it’s “bowerbird”. but, you know, whatever…

    > who think that marketing is beneath them:

    marketeers (and bankers) who lie _are_ beneath me.
    they are beneath _anyone_ with a shred of integrity…
    (which just happens to be a very handy asset for the
    writers who desire to write from a position of truth.)

    but that’s really beside the point.

    > “Nothing sells by itself.”

    i disagree. even now, there are lots of authors who
    are selling far more than they can explain, given the
    meager efforts they have made to generate any sales.

    we might agree that’s because amazon has done a lot,
    so none of those books sold “by itself”, but the point is
    that in the world of tomorrow, with millions and millions
    and millions of self-published books, it’s going to become
    nearly impossible for you to do _anything_ to “get noticed”,
    except — of course — to write a great book that people love,
    so they do the word-of-mouth which has always sold books,
    without much regard for the size of the advertising budget.

    if it makes you feel better to believe you “make a difference”
    with your marketeering efforts, then by all means go ahead.
    i’m just putting forth the opinion that you’re fooling yourself,
    and that other people shouldn’t waste their own energy by
    believing in the same superstitious-based inference as you.

    this is a fleeting moment in the evolution of self-publishing,
    where it’s still possible to believe that our own feeble efforts
    at self-promotion are actually _effective_ in making sales…

    (and that moment might _already_ have passed us by, with
    amanda hocking and john locke as its primary beneficiaries.
    even the supersalesman joe konrath has seen slowed sales.)

    > In short, the majority of writers and artists who are
    > against marketing are broke, have money problems,
    > and are in denial that they have money problems.

    that’s quite a picture you have painted there, ernie… :+)

    is anyone buying it?

    most artists are broke because they are deluding themselves,
    and because the world doesn’t value art. it’s always been so.

    on the other hand…

    the majority of people who believe in the value of marketing
    don’t have any use for the “silliness” of art in the first place…
    you can make a lot more money selling shoes. or snake-oil.

    > In the end, however, it is much better for the rest of us
    > truly creative people because we have less competition when it
    > comes to our using our creativity to market our creative works.

    you know, if you really believed that, you wouldn’t have to
    push your “you _must_ do marketing” message so heavily.

    you know who’s trying to selling marketing? the marketeers!

    -bowerbird

    p.s. i’ll let you have the last word, ernie, but everyone can be
    assured that whatever you say won’t change _my_ mind! :+)

    p.p.s. i love all of you! except the liars. and the bankers.

    Reply

    Joel Friedlander May 13, 2012 at 9:11 am

    It could be that a lot of the difference in approaches rests in the fact that writing and selling nonfiction is quite different from writing and selling fiction.

    This is especially true for niche nonfiction titles, which can be positioned and marketed even before they are written.

    Reply

    Elizabeth Barone May 13, 2012 at 6:34 am

    Sometimes I find it really difficult to switch back and forth between all of those roles. I’m learning that it takes a lot of discipline to shut off, for example, the marketing part of my brain and get back to writing. I’m not really sure how I do it, but I do know why: I love it! Apparently love is enough to go crazy. ;)

    Reply

    Joel Friedlander May 13, 2012 at 9:06 am

    I know that feeling, Elizabeth, and I’ve found it pointless for me to try to do both at the same time. As I mentioned above, using one part of the day for writing and nothing else makes it work for me, but everyone has to find their own rhythm.

    Reply

    Mike Evan May 15, 2012 at 10:49 am

    Maybe this is an appropriate place to interject the old “better mousetrap” analogy. Just because you build one, the world won’t beat a path to your door to buy it. In the same way, just because you write the greatest book, the world won’t burn up Amazon to buy it. There must be that step somewhere wherein the public receives the information that the product exists and it’s worth purchasing. That’s marketing (in whatever form it may take…if we’re lucky, word-of-mouth will carry the message).

    Reply

    bowerbird May 15, 2012 at 11:52 am

    individual human beings don’t want to
    be informed that your product “exists”,
    because millions and millions of books,
    quite literally, are published every year.

    their time-and-attention is limited, and
    thus they do not want you to waste it
    with announcements of your “product”.

    marketeers traditionally _do_not_care_
    when they alienate any non-customers,
    and are willing to piss off _thousands_
    in order to make one sale to a customer.

    but in today’s world of social networking,
    you can’t afford to generate bad karma…

    if your book is really “worth purchasing”,
    the ratings and reviews at amazon, plus
    your description and the sample chapters,
    will be enough to seal the deal when the
    “people who bought this book also bought”
    collaborative filtering algorithm kicks in…
    that’s your 21st-century “word-of-mouth”.

    i know it’s hard for some people to hear this.
    you want to take charge, to “do something”,
    and be active in creating a positive outcome.
    and those are good motivations, in general…

    but sometimes you have to let your children
    go out and make their own way in the world.

    -bowerbird

    Reply

    Linton Robinson May 15, 2012 at 2:37 pm

    Hard to know where to start on that.

    Maybe at a practical level. Reviews and “also boughts” don’t just appear. In fact, if nobody buys your book, it won’t have any “also boughts”, will it?
    Nobody is going to just stumble across it among those millions you mention. There is no way the “child” can “make it’s way”. It can only sit there.

    It’s hard to relate enough to the overall attitude here to even discuss it, but let’s try this. You build a really nice desk in your garage. It’s fine wood, fine work, just wonderful. Now you want to sell it.
    It would be a really good idea not to leave it sitting in the garage waiting for somebody to ask about it.
    It would be better to put it out on the porch with a for sale sign, but the chances of a buyer for quality furniture happening by is slim.
    So what do you do to cash in?
    Anything you do, buying an ad in the paper, putting the word out with friends, putting a sign up at work or in the supermarket, having topless cheerleaders dance on it in the Hooters parking lot…all are marketing. If you can’t figure out how to do it, you get nothing. But a desk. If you are alienating people, you don’t know how to do it.

    I have a feeling that went in one ear and out the other.

    Reply

    Joel Friedlander May 15, 2012 at 4:55 pm

    Or, as a philosopher once said, you can certainly find money in the street, the question is, can you live on it?

    I don’t think of marketing as anything other than communicating your ideas with people who share your passion. If the way you’re doing it is alienating people, maybe you should find a different way to do it.

    Reply

    Linton Robinson May 15, 2012 at 5:21 pm

    Well put.

    “Can you live on that much money in New York?
    Like a king. You can’t eat, but you can live like a king.”
    The Marx Brothers

    Reply

    bowerbird May 16, 2012 at 11:13 am

    linton said:
    > I have a feeling that went in one ear and out the other.

    actually, i’m still listening, and quite attentively.

    even though you haven’t said anything i haven’t already
    heard, over and over, time and time again, repeatedly…

    (if you think the world ignores your self-published books,
    try being a _poet_ and trying to get anybody’s attention.
    that’s the world i live in, where i have had self-promoters
    in my face day after day for the last two decades, so i am
    acquainted with the phenomenon, thank you very much.
    and know pretty much exactly how well it works. or not.)

    it’s ironic, though, that you think i am the one who is
    not open to argumentation… because, from my view,
    the marketeers are the ones who’re taking it on faith,
    immune to any “attacks” mounted against the religion.

    -bowerbird

    Reply

    Matt May 15, 2012 at 2:48 pm

    Yeah, you wish it weren’t so but one doesn’t have to look too far to find some truly great writers that forever suffered from, like it or not, lack of marketing, at least in their time. ie Poe, Melville, Blake to name a few, Van Gogh might not have minded perhaps selling one or two in his time. Call it a tragedy or curse, I like to look at it as telling myself, “ok, if you’re so smart at this or that, why can’t you figure out this other thing, especially when you think so little of it, etc”, sort of another one of those tricks of the trade, helpful when needed, good to learn sooner or later, but of course by no means more than necessary, :).

    Reply

    bowerbird May 16, 2012 at 11:24 am

    matt said:
    > Poe, Melville, Blake to name a few, Van Gogh

    the world discovered the genius of these artists despite
    the fact that they did no self-promotion after they died.

    -bowerbird

    Reply

    Linton Robinson May 16, 2012 at 11:26 am

    Well, there you go, then.

    You’ve got yourself a business plan.

    Reply

    bowerbird May 16, 2012 at 5:19 pm

    actually, i don’t need “a business plan”,
    because i’m not trying to sell anything.

    but something tells me that, in this age of
    instant communication and social networks,
    none of those cats would need one either…
    their stuff would go viral before they knew it.
    (we might even call it “van goghing viral”.)

    blake, especially, had multi-media down pat.

    -bowerbird

    p.s. and poe would gravitate to the goths…
    melville might have a hard time, because we
    don’t have the attention spans we once had.

    Reply

    Laura Pep Wu May 15, 2012 at 6:16 pm

    I know a lot of writers despise the fact that they have to suddenly learn publishing and marketing when they self pub, but for me it was something I reluctantly fell into and turned out to love and adore. I truly feel happy that I get the opportunity to run a business for myself and learn all of these different skills. I can’t think of a better way to live.
    I hope that other authors who must publish and market by default can grow to realize how lucky we really are. I’m not entirely sure I could write all day even if I had the time, and this gives me something else to truly focus on when I’m not scribing.

    Reply

    Joel Friedlander May 15, 2012 at 6:53 pm

    Beautifully said, Laura, thanks for that.

    Reply

    Ernie Zelinski May 15, 2012 at 7:24 pm

    It’s great to hear from an author like Laura who loves marketing as much as writing.

    I self-published my first book over 22 years ago and I have been marketing my books ever since. That’s why my books have sold over 725,000 copies worldwide and why my books are now published in 21 languages in 28 countries (soon to be 22 languages in 29 countries since I just got a book deal with a publisher in Vietnam.)

    Too many artists think that creativity is only in the realm of the artist. That is delusional snobbery.

    Fact is, it takes true creativity to be a great promoter and a marketer.

    Creativity means doing something no one else has ever done. Read John
    Kremer’s “1001 Ways to Market Your Books” and then come up with 10 new ways not covered in the book. That is true creativity. I could share some of my truly unique ways that I have used but I won’t.

    Creativity also involves coming up with ways to promote a book without
    offending people. There are many. Pay particular attention to what Seth Godin says about “Permission Marketing” and then come up with 10 of your own unique ways that no one else has ever come up with.

    Anyone who thinks that his or her books will sell just because the books are on Amazon’s website is delusional. Amazon likely has 5 million to 10 million books listed on its website. I know of many cases of books that have great reviews on Amazon and have only sold a total of 2 to 5 copies in two or more years. (I have ways of checking book sales in normal channels. This is part of the marketing experience.)

    Another aspect to marketing your books is getting foreign publishers interested in them. I have negotiated over 110 books deals with publishers in 29 different countries for my self-published books and have earned over $150,000 from foreign rights sales. This wouldn’t have been possible without marketing. By the way, I don’t use a North American foreign rights agent to get these book deals and I have never
    been to the Frankfurt Book Fair where most of the foreign rights sales are said to be done.

    Check out some of my foreign rights deals at:

    http://www.erniezelinski.com/Foreign-Rights.html

    Note that my inspirational novel “Look Ma, Life’s Easy” has been published by five foreign publishers (Korean, Chinese, Spanish, French, and Russian) and has not yet been published in English.

    How have I managed to pull this off when even the so-called experts in the book industry will tell you this is impossible or extremely unlikely?

    Simple. This was achieved by creative marketing.

    Reply

    Cal Orey July 23, 2012 at 7:40 pm

    Veteran author here. Never gets easier. The writing part–fun. Then, the marketing happens. You’ve got to make it happen. Or not. Sometimes, when I’m doing the deed: B&N signings, radio shows, mag articles, social networking–BAM! I get an e-mail from my editor that we just sold foreign rights (read: advance/royalties) and/or made the big sale to the book clubs. So it goes.

    Reply

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