So, you’ve written a book. Good for you! A book is most often one of the easiest things to start, and most difficult to finish. A good deal of people like to talk about writing, but only a fraction actually do it. This is a brief guide that will hopefully assist you on your way to writing self-sufficiency.
Before we begin, there are a number of things to establish.
- Professional writing is not for the faint-of-heart.
- Easy editing usually makes for difficult reading.
- If you can’t handle rejection, don’t write.
- Never have great expectations.
The reality is that only around 30% of writers actually make a their entire living from writing. The rest haven’t quit their day jobs. Literally. The authors you hear about on the radio or on television are generally the only authors you hear advertised. The authors who land the multi-million dollar contracts, are the only ones who land multi-million dollar contracts, and there are millions of authors out there.
Between 600,000 and 1,000,000 books are published yearly, in the USA alone, and every writer wants their book to achieve bestselling status. The financial figures do appear to be slightly improving as publishing technologies flourish, but the standard will likely apply for some time. If you are writing for money, you should choose another pursuit. Writers write. It’s in the DNA. We can’t stop it just because it isn’t profitable. If you are compelled to write even when faced with such astronomical odds, you are indeed a writer.
Most authors, who are fortunate enough to land on the bestseller lists, will spend the rest of their lives vainly trying to get their next title there. No one really knows the exact formula for calculating books for the major bestselling lists, and there are many schemes (such as “book laundering”) where writers buy their way onto them. Even bestseller lists, however, should be seen for what they are. Other than giving your book a little more visibility and boosting yours sales, traditional bestseller lists appear to be fairly obsolete. At least, they are operated in such a way as to confuse and confound all who monitor them.
Your publisher will help you market your book, as much as possible, but won’t hold your hand. Not even the major houses in New York can afford to give every author such attention, and there’s no real reason they should. They’ve already invested a great deal in getting your book published. They’ve already spent much more than you probably have, just getting your book ready to market. Their job is done. They have proven and shown their confidence and faith in your capacity as an author.
Now, it’s your turn.
Your book is a marketable product, and you are the CEO of your writing corporation. As the CEO, your product’s success is entirely dependent upon a number of factors, planning, research, and a bit of luck. Marketing and promotion are necessary, but you shouldn’t get obsessed with either. If your book is good, readers will provide more help than any publicist in existence.