Conflicted

Lisbon from Above

I have been diving so deep into this whole book marketing thing. Everyone has a different take on it. One person has a seven-step method of writing a great novel, another person has a twelve step process to becoming a successful author, etc. Everyone has all of these ideas, all of these steps.

I know that a lot of the work involved isn’t in the writing, it’s in the marketing, the outlining, the plotting, the research. Hell, the writing is fun. I enjoy it a great deal and I miss it when I don’t do it. It’s often hard to convince me to put down the keyboard and do other things. So, I acknowledge that marketing is the price I pay for being able to write for a living, but then I run into things like this 12 step program I mentioned.

In one of the steps after you’ve launched a blog and gotten an email list together and all of these other steps, you ask your email subscribers what they want you to create for them, and then you create that. That’s the first thing you write in this system. It’s not a story, it’s whatever your readers want it to be.

To me that’s not being a writer, that’s being a product developer. Being a writer is a creative process, especially if you want to be a novelist. See, that’s what I am. I tell stories. Sure, they are pulp stories, written at least to some degree to market. I’m writing for people who want to read stories, not for people who want to a guidebook. The stories are the actual point of what I do, and if it wasn’t for them there would be no reason for me not to keep doing web development.

If I’m making a living as a writer, it’s as a novelist who tells interesting stories, not as a shill for some sort of courses. Also, it’s so strange to me that this person had, as his first ever published thing, a guide to how to be a writer. He did the research, granted, and determined that this path was a promising one if all one cared about was making something that could vaguely be described as “books” and making money.

Then I look at Dean Wesley Smith. Now, I love what Dean Wesley Smith has done. He wrote fiction and kept doing it until he made a damned good living at it. I admire it. He’s a storyteller, and a good one. The only problem with that is that he has over a hundred book in print, even if I do manage to turn out a book a month it will be close to a decade before I have those kinds of numbers. That’s a lot of years to not be able to pay rent as a full-time writer.

That brings me to Chris Fox and Derek Murphy. Both of these men give advice on how to become a full-time writer, but they both focus on how to do it while telling stories, the kind of stories you want to read even.

There is an overlap between the Marketing is all and the stories don’t matter, and Chris Fox and Derek Murphy. They all think you should take your audience into account, which I agree with, and they all have some similar marketing points. For example, they all agree that you should build your email list. They all agree you need a blog. They all agree you have to write a lot. So, I’m doing all of those things.

For me though, I will stick to those ideas that allow me to continue writing the things that make writing worth doing. I won’t ignore the other ideas though, I will look at them and if I find one that works for me, I will use that one too.

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