Monday, February 23, 2015

Blood, Sweat, and yes, Tears

 Blood, Sweat, and yes, Tears

            Writing isn’t all that hard. All you need is blood, sweat, and tears.

Blood — Check
     I love to write. I have so many short stories already written, a few published, and more ideas for stories I want to write. I can sit at my laptop all day and still not have written everything bouncing around in my head. Years ago, I wrote for the fun of it. I had no aspirations other than to get a story out of my head and onto paper. Afterward, it would get filed away with the rest of the stories that demanded to be put "onto paper". However, life’s other demands at the time were children, a nine-to-five job, a husband, etc., etc. A wished-for writing career would have to wait. There would be time for that. In the meantime, I could continue to bleed ink.

Sweat — Check
     Writing is easy. Marketing is hard.
It seems I have squandered the opportunities of old. Once upon a time, a writer needed to submit their work to a publisher, and the work would be given genuine consideration on its own merit. Those days are gone.
     Now, should you be qualified to submit your work to a publisher, you also need to bring your platform. A “platform” is a polite euphemism for a fan base. Yes, you must bring fans to a publisher. If there are not five to ten thousand folks ready to buy your book, the big boys don’t want to hear from you.
     How does one get five to ten thousand people ready to buy a book?
     There are writers who’ve left their day jobs with that many contacts. For instance, successful business people, doctors, marketing agents. That’s almost a ready-made platform.
     There are other writers writing for writers who write words. That’s another way to build a fan base. Be an expert at something people need.
     Some folks, like me, have do it a harder way. We try to build an audience through blogs, independent publishing houses, self-publishing, shaking hands, kissing babies, whatever it takes, we’ll give it a shot.
     But, here’s a typical conversation: Hi. I’m JL Mo. I’m writing a mystery series called… No! Wait! Come back! 

Tears — Check
     Rejection is hardest of all. (Announcer’s voice) But, hey, tears are salty, and salt is a flavor enhancer, and better flavor is what we’re all after! Right?
     Okay, I’m not a motivational speaker either.
I still need to rehearse pitches, so if I meet someone who doesn’t run away I’ll not bore them, or make myself sound like an idiot. Family, and some friends, stand there glassy-eyed through my rehearsals, waiting for me to stop talking. To be fair, I’d much rather go back to my laptop and keep writing. I’m no good at marketing.
     Anybody want a commission-based job selling books?
     Me neither.

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