When I first started writing seriously, I was under the impression you wrote a book, publishers published it, and you sat back with a smile on your face while everyone bought it and left glowing reviews.
Even with my traditionally published books I had no idea you were expected to do your own marketing; I’m an author, not a double glazing salesman. In my previous career I enjoyed meeting people, communicating with them and helping to solve their problems, but when it turned into target driven, ‘if they are breathing, sell them something,’ I was pleased to get out.
Fast forward a few years and it’s surprising how similar an artistic profession can be to a staid, respectable, 9-5 and ‘roll on payday’ one. There are never enough hours in the day, the pleasure of writing is balanced with the hours spent on reading How To, and making decisions as to which platform has the greatest chance of bringing your books to the attention of the reading public.
Self-publishing opened up whole new opportunities. Anyone could write something, chuck it up on Amazon, and call themselves an author. Some gave no thought to checking for errors, editing, lay-out, continuity or polishing their initial draft until it was the best it could be. Fraudulent schemers jumped on the bandwagon offering the impossible, and tricking newbies into believing they would achieve the success of renowned authors who had refined their expertise over many years.
Don’t misunderstand me. I’ve read some dire traditionally published books, and some brilliant ones by Indie authors who, without an unlimited marketing budget, will never get read. Like many authors, I find it difficult to shout ‘Buy my books.’ I know some of my own books and stories are good, some of the earlier ones need updating as my writing has definitely improved over time, and some are almost but not quite.
The majority of authors are generous, willing to share their ‘Been there, done that, T-shirt’ experiences, and rather than sneer or put down newcomers are gentle and encouraging with advice, and supportive in the bleak times. I belong to several reading/writing groups on Facebook and have got to know several authors and their work so well, it’s hard to believe they live on the other side of the world and we have never actually met. Their comments and suggestions are invaluable.
Let’s not forget the editors, cover designers, proof readers, ARCs (advance readers) and beta readers who all help the author feel less isolated, and contribute to making our books the best they can be.
What goes around, comes around, so in an effort to pay it forward my publishing company Quirky Unicorn blog site
is running a series of spotlights on the various authors involved in the charity anthology ‘When Stars Will Shine,’ as well as other authors who have crossed my path along the way.
If you’re a reader and are looking for some recommendations, comment below with your preferred genre, and I’m sure I can come suggest something you’ll enjoy.
Book bloggers give up their time, free of charge, to assist authors and readers by sharing the books they have read and leaving genuine reviews. They are also an excellent source for introducing readers to new authors, so I was delighted to be invited for Sunday brunch with Jo and her book reading cat, Jaffa.
You can read all about it here: Jaffa Reads too. Thanks, Jo. It was great to meet you all.
I’ve just realised I’ve answered my own question which was the topic of this post, so for now I’d better stop chatting or the book I mentioned will never get finished. See you next week.
© ValPortelli March 2020