What Have You Done for Me Lately?

Writing is like that, isn’t it? No matter how much you sit and write, there never appears to be enough time.

No matter that you’re in the midst of writing passion, as soon as you step away, you know you must get back to it. In fact, once you’re off and running, you’re dying to get back to it. What about when you complete your first draft? Victory, right?

Yes. Victory. Accomplishment. Yet your book wants more. Rewrite and edit.

Therefore, you roll up your imaginary sleeves and you dive into the mechanics that need tweaking. You desire to make this manuscript the best it can possibly be. You invest your time, your brain power, and if you listen to my advice, your money (for a professional editor). You complete the task and you now own a shiny, well-polished product which you love. Victory, right?

Yes. Victory. Accomplishment. Yet your book wants more. Published.

Therefore, you do your due diligence. You explore the myriad publishing models. There are so many, one will fit your needs. You go through the process. If it’s your first time, you battle learning curves and you find there’s a level of knowledge you need. If you’ve been through the rodeo before, you tweak what you learned the first time and you step through the processes more gingerly. You then get your book published. Know this – there is nothing stopping your book from being published but you…

You now feel the slick texture of your masterpiece in your hands. You’re amazed that you’ve accomplished this feat. You’re filled with elation and anticipation. Victory, right?

Yes. Victory. Accomplishment. Yet your book wants more. Branding. Platform. Marketing.

Yes, the bane of the vast majority of writers. I tell my clients all the time, if you want a best-seller, become a marketer. Best-seller does not mean best written. Marketing is an art unto itself. So is branding. So is a platform. All become massively important for the sales of your book. Therefore, you either do one of three things: 1) you take on the learning curve of branding, platform and marketing. The three go hand-in-hand. This tends to be the most prevalent with the majority of writers. 2) you do your due diligence and you seek out professional marketers. People who know how to help you set up your brand, platform, and how to market them. They cost money. The good marketers tend to be worth every dime… 3) you give up. This category gets many writers right out of the gate. Once they realize they either have to work at something other than writing or they must pay people to get their book where they want it to be, they quit.

Option number three does not mean a writer stops writing. Many of us write simply because we must. I feel it’s of vital importance that we do not kid ourselves. The reality of a new book is this – “Who knows the book is available?” Unless you’re Patterson or King or any number of other famous writers, no one outside your circle of friends, co-workers, and acquaintances know who you are, much less that you’ve written a book.

So let’s say you avoid option #3 above. You now have a pristine, marketed book which is getting great reviews and people are clamoring for more. Victory, right?

Yes. Victory. Accomplishment. Yet your book wants more. A brother or sister.

Therefore, you set out to create another masterpiece. Chances are while writing your previous book, other book ideas came to mind, some of which you’re dying to get to. You once again become immersed in the creativity of writing.

You should already see that this becomes a circular cycle. Yet there’s more. Multiple books mean multiple objects in the air which you must juggle. Each of them desires some love and attention. Each of them asks you the same question, “What have you done for me lately?” If you’re like me, the dust settles on them and they whimper the question.

I learned this highly valuable piece of advice the hard way. Build yourself a team. Invest in yourself. Invest in your team. Here’s what I mean by “team.”

Find someone who has a knack for marketing material and can help you build a brand and a platform (if you cannot do this or identify your brand and platform yourself). Find someone to help you get out into the “real” world. Yes, speaking engagements. Your team can be Toastmasters, to begin with, as I did. Find someone to procure speaking engagements for you. Find someone who will handle video for you. In this day and age, video is king.

Develop a support group where you are not the guru. A group where you can learn and be motivated once a week. With all the demands from your book(s) for what you’ve done for them lately, developing a team of people to help and doing this early on is critical. Most writers want to lone-wolf the process. I know I did. The reason for this is we tend as authors to lean heavily toward creativity (of which we can be quite jealous) and away from business.

Know this. Writing becomes an addiction. When you truly love to write and express yourself, nothing will prevent you from continuing your trek except death itself. Success does not equal money or number of books sold unless you define success in that manner.

My vocation, my happiness, and joy in the world of writing, publishing, and entrepreneurialism are helping people achieve their writing goals. Love your writing. My writing hero is Ray Bradbury. Please allow me to add this quote from him for this quote sums up how I feel about writing:

“If you want to write, if you want to create, you must be the most sublime fool that God ever turned out and sent rambling. You must write every single day of your life. You must read dreadful dumb books and glorious books, and let them wrestle in beautiful fights inside your head, vulgar one moment, brilliant the next. You must lurk in libraries and climb the stacks like ladders to sniff books like perfumes and wear books like hats upon your crazy heads. I wish you a wrestling match with your Creative Muse that will last a lifetime. I wish craziness and foolishness and madness upon you. May you live with hysteria, and out of it make fine stories — science fiction or otherwise. Which finally means, may you be in love every day for the next 20,000 days. And out of that love, remake a world.”

Need help with your writing? That’s what I do. Check out my Consultation Page. I love to work with people who have stories trapped within them. We can let these stories out so they may soar…

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