Tuesday, April 12

On Business and Writing

One of the benefits of being an indie author is that I have the luxury of being transparent and completely honest in how my business is going. And make no mistake about it, it doesn't matter if you're published by the big six or you're hoofing it alone, the moment you have a book in play is the moment you are a business unto yourself. Joe Konrath recently said in the second half of his talk with Barry Eisler... well, here's the quote:
But I know a lot of writers, and the ability to run a small business is an entirely different skill set than it takes to be a writer (and once you self-publish, you are the president of a small business.) They simply aren't cut out for it.
And it really is true. The Professor for my Small Business Management course spent a lot of years running a music store and as a result he came into contact with a lot of musicians. He said to me, in a discussion during the first week, that the successful musicians aren't necessarily the ones who are the most talented. He knew a lot of talented musicians who struggled to put food on the table. No, the successful ones he knew were those who could blend the talent they have with an eye for how to run a business. I imagine the same is true with writers.

Writing the book is half the battle. I know that now, but when I was set to release Spiral X, I had managed to convince myself that my job was done. That once it was released, I didn't have to do anything else. I was so wrong it's kind of comical when I think about it. Let's face it, when you trying to sell a product, the worst thing you can do is nothing. To not support it. I made a few posts in a couple of spots, but I figured that would be enough. The book would stand on its own. Readers would find it and either like it or not and then pass the word along. Laughing yet?

My wife, bless her heart, pushed me aside and took over the task of getting my book into the hands of book reviewers. She knew I was delusional. I can't thank her enough for what she's done so far, to the tune of over twenty reviews with a lot more waiting for reviewers to get around to it. But getting back to the business aspect of being a writer, she understood something I did not, and that was the need for exposure. It's tough to sell something if no one knows about it.

However, one of the mantras that Konrath preaches is that you can do everything right, you can have a good cover that catches the eye, a blurb that intrigues the mind, an affordable price, and a good book to back those up... and yet you're still at the mercy of Lady Luck. He'll even admit that he has no idea why certain books sell and certain ones don't, even out of his own stable of products. About the only thing you can do is be patient and keep working on taking up virtual shelf space.

That's where I stand at the moment. Sales aren't there, despite my best efforts so far to generate them. I have a bit of a web presence, but not stellar, and I could probably do more to sell myself in that regard. I have a lot of great reviews, and more than a few people in my corner doing their best to sell me to the people they know (or those who read their blogs), but so far it hasn't done much. Lady Luck hasn't looked my way yet.

But you know what? That's okay. Studies show that it can take up to three years for a business to finally take off. By the time I hit the three year mark, I should have around five novels available and several short stories. Each book will likely bring in new readers and if I'm good enough they'll go around to my other offerings. Maybe they'll even recommend me to their friends. The takeaway from this is that I need to keep working. I need to keep working and keep getting better and honing my craft because if I don't, then I will have allowed my business to languish without even really giving it a chance to flourish.

The sales aren't there. But they will be. In time.

No comments:

Post a Comment