Recently, I received a newsletter from my publisher. It is sent to all the authors and editors (and I suppose anyone else who works for the company in some way). This publishing company is very much a cooperative effort and finding its way.
Someone once told me that writing the book is the easy part. The editing, the revising and the other parts of the book would be the hard part. Actually, I am not finding that part to be too difficult so far. The part that I am finding a little bewildering is the business and marketing part.
There are lots of reasons why I never went into sales. One reason is because I don’t like to be rejected. I guess nobody does, but I really really really don’t like it. Probably why I’m kind of a loner. I realize that by writing a novel and attempting to get published and going forward with a contract and then…eventually…having a product out there to the readers opens me up to a whole lotta rejection. And I guess because it won’t be right in my face, that somehow makes it more tolerable. I know that not everybody will like my book, my characters, and my writing. And that’s hard not to take personally because unlike so many things, writing and any form of art is often very very personal.
Another reason why I never went into sales is because I just don’t have the necessary personality. You have to have this way with people that I just don’t have – at least not one on one or in a small group setting. I do think I can command a crowd under certain circumstances, but the interpersonal part of making people feel like they’re my friend, well I just can’t seem to do that.
I know people who are great in sales. For some of them, it’s all an act because as individuals, they are quiet, reserved, kind of distant and removed, aloof. But they turn on a switch and can talk to strangers, make them feel good, make them buy something they don’t want or need. Then there are people who are just naturally able to sell things simply because it is a part of their real personality. There’s no switch or shutting things off/on. I have neither of these abilities.
In modern publishing, the author has to take a very active hands-on approach to not just sell their book(s) but also to sell themselves. The way publishing is going, many more independents are starting up and taking the market opportunities available to new and/or formerly self published authors into a new direction. The days of writing a book and dropping it off at some publishing house to sell for you is over for the vast majority of writers.
My husband is a businessman. He has his undergraduate degree in Business and has his own business. Anything I know about business is from watching him and just from living life and picking up things as I go along over the years. As an author, I have to become a businesswoman and sell Dori (and Scout’s Honor). If I do a good job of selling me and my first book, then it will be easier to sell the next book and my next one after that.
As a writer – which is what I actually AM – I have to learn how to turn my passion and something within me – into a product to be bought, sold and traded. That’s not so easy and is seriously out of my comfort zone.
My publisher has asked its authors to come up with a one page business plan. From my Army days, I still know how to write an OPORD (Operations Order). I suppose a Business Plan is something like that. I guess I will learn.