Not so long ago, if someone wanted to be a famous writer—or forget fame—publish even an unsuccessful novel—it was not the most attainable goal. Not impossible, obviously, but by no means easy. I used to dream about it when I was a kid, but for me I believed the idea of publishing was somewhere in line with winning the lottery. But it’s different now. The internet has changed the world. Anyone with the dream of publishing can now pursue it.
But hold your hooray and applause just for a moment.
The hard part is no longer publishing. The hard part is making a living off your writing. Because although you can publish, you have to be so much more than a great writer. You really need to be an entrepreneur. This is nothing new. I am pretty sure every self-published author has figured this out by now. I never really thought about it much when I made the conscious decision to become an author—not until I finished the first draft of my book a few months ago.
The scary part is just now beginning for me. I am almost afraid to finish the rounds of revisions with my editor, because that means I have to begin the REALLY HARD part. Marketing. I absolutely hate selling. Okay, pause—I’m pretty good at it, actually. I worked at a jewelry company during college, and I was great (not to toot my own horn) . . . but that is different. People came to me because they WANTED to buy jewelry, I just had to close the deal. If I had to go out and actively seek people to buy jewelry, that would be a whole other ballgame. So, will this prove a challenge for me when it comes to marketing my book? I don’t know, and I am kind of nervous to find out. I don’t see myself blitzing people with ads or auto Twitter emails (nothing against people who do), but that is SO not me.
So, what do I do? How do I make a name for myself? I’ve read a lot of books about the topic and many blogs, but I am still sort of scratching my head and wondering if I’ll be able to play the marketing game. I wonder how people really make a name for themselves in this world nowadays. I have to believe it is more than just who you know (or how you run your Twitter account). BTW- I didn’t even understand the concept of a #hashtag until a year ago!! But social media has changed the world. A LOT.
There is so much talent out there in the world. Musicians. Actors. Screenplay writers. I am sure there are singers out there who could knock us off our feet before lifting us up into the sky to soar to the sounds of their silky voices, but we may never hear from them, because they may not get “discovered.” Of course, social media has helped fuel the discovery of new musicians, which I am thankful for, but I know there is still a lot of untapped potential all around the globe that we may never encounter, which is a bit depressing. Although they have talent, they may not know how to market themselves—or might be shy to the idea of it (like me).
If I really want to reach my goals in life, I know I will have to fight for the chance to have my books emerge amongst the crowd of millions. I will have to bite the bullet (okay, don’t really get that expression—who would bite a bullet?!) . . . Basically, I need to learn to sell myself. To sell my work. I believe in it. I am investing in it. So, I need to have faith that if I give it my all, despite my nerves, anything can happen.
So, to all of the singers, actors, writers, athletes, guitarists, and the list goes on—to all of you, I hope your talent is discovered. I hope I get the chance to laugh or cry at your movie. To wave my hands back and forth in the sky at your concert. I hope I get the chance to stay up all night reading your book because I have to know what happens at the end . . . .
To every person with a dream, please don’t give up, even if it is hard or the thought of failing petrifies you. You have a world of people waiting for your talent. Somewhere there is a girl or boy with a dream, and you just might be the one who inspires them to pursue it.