Okay, so last weekend I had the privilege of attending the annual MacLit Marketing seminar in
It was one day packet full of invaluable and applicable wisdom and I’ll do my
best to post the highlights of my takeaway.
Chip provided an example of a famous writer, I believe it was Cec Murphy, ((CORRECTION: TOM WOLFE)) who literally woke up early every day, put on a three piece suit, left his house, walked to the end of the drive way, turned around, went back inside and sat in his office to write. He would break for lunch and end at the same time every day. It was a priority. It was his job. And he took it seriously. He didn’t just lounge around in his jammies and wait for inspiration to strike. (How many of you know how well that works out!) But he put action to his dreams. Now it doesn’t have to be this regimented, especially for those who require less discipline. But this illustration really resonated with me. Whether part-time or full-time, give your craft the dedication it needs to thrive.
Start a writing calendar and a writing budget calendar.
Stay on track, establish a routine. In other words, be intentional. Make a plan. Which days can you dedicate to writing, which hours? If you think you’ll just fit it in, you’ll lose ground. And for the budget, if your goal is to make X amount of dollars a year to justify your time spent writing, how many books do you need to write that year to achieve that goal? How many months does it take you to write that book? Crunch the numbers. If you can assign a dollar amount to your weeks or even hours, you’ll start to see the value of your words and the time spent hunched over your art. And your progress will translate into building a career and a livelihood, not just penning a nice story in your spare time.
We don’t (and won’t) all need to be New York Time Bestsellers to reach our goals in writing. Our storiescan make an impact on a smaller scale and still serve their purpose. In order to gauge if you are making it as a writer, first decide what it is you need to accomplish to be a success. Maybe you just want to get published. Stay published. Maybe you’d like to hit a certain marker financially, or be able to quit your day job. If it’s not about money, what will help you feel successful in your endeavor? Defining this for yourself can make all the difference in how you view your writing. Your worth. And the cost of your time away from your family and other responsibilities.
No one can market your book like YOU can!
Dedicate two half days a week (dispersed however you like) on marketing. Even before you have a book that might mean blogging, social media interactions (be careful with this one—time suck), researching your audience and where you can reach them, doing reviews, or guest posts ect. The days of the reclusive writer holing up in a lakeside cabin and cranking out bestsellers are gone. With the internet and all the social media connection it is easier than ever to reach your readership. Easier than ever to find your target market. Do the leg work. Pound the pavement. It will pay off.
Have a three-legged stool.
If you want writing to be your bread and butter try to have several sources of writing income. For example, in addition to writing your trade length novels, self-publish some novellas that branch off from your stories. Write articles. Visit blogs. The smartest way to make a living with this is to broaden your horizons and have multiple sources of income. Put it on your budget calendar. You get your quarterly advance, you’ll make say...roughly $300 for each article you put out, how much more do you need to sustain a living? Crank out those extra e-books to bridge the gap. Provide an editing service. Schedule a speaking engagement. Get creative. We know it’s in there!
Okay, so those are a few nibbles to get you started. I know it sounds busy, but as much as we have agents helping us plan our careers, and we are at the mercy of the publishers to see our potential, YOU have the power to make or break your success. Decide what your goals are and ….Get crackin’!
Check out Chip's blog for other great tips! here
What marketing ventures have proven successful for you? And how do you measure success in your writing, or in life?
Amy Leigh Simpson writes Romantic Suspense that is heavy on the romance, unapologetically honest, laced with sass and humor, and full of the unfathomable Grace of God. She is the completely sleep deprived mama to two little tow-headed mischief makers and wife to her very own swoon-worthy hero. Represented by the oh-so-wise and dashing Chip MacGregor of MacGregor Literary Inc.