It’s time for my August contribution to the Insecure Writer’s Support Group blog. The question my fellow writers have been asked to answer this month is: What pitfalls would you warn other writers to avoid on their publication journey?
Be sure to click on the #IWSG icon at the end of my post and check out the responses from dozens of interesting writers.
This month’s question specifically asks about the pitfalls faced on my publication journey, and not on my writing journey. The two are vastly different. Writing is challenging, but it’s fun and exciting. Publishing is also challenging, but not so much fun.
I chose early on to self-publish. I’d read horror stories about the vast amount of time spent writing query letters, chasing agents and publishers. I understood the clear advantages of traditional publishing, but preferred to write at my own pace and select my own genres and subjects. Also, when I began writing, my focus was to spend my time writing and engaging other writers to learn from their experiences. Publishing was something far out on the horizon. I’d worry about that later.
Here’s the pitfall. When you elect to self-publish, you are chief cook and bottlewasher, and the toughest of the bottlewashing tasks is marketing. I completely underestimated the time and expense required to market myself and my novels. I still fall short dedicating the necessary time and resources.
Self-publishing is equivalent to running a small business on your own. You create, package, market, and deliver the product. You can subcontract pieces of this process, but this comes at a price. Unfortunately, there is little to no money coming in until you’re successful, and it costs time and money to be successful—a true chicken and egg dilemma.
The question is: How much money do you spend on marketing trying to be successful? I’m still spending, both time and money, and have no answer to this question. I’m hoping it’s all a numbers game, and when I reach a critical threshold on reviews, email subscribers, and Facebook followers, the dam will break loose and the sales will flow. But this is probably just wishful thinking.
For my new novel, At the River’s Edge, I’m spending more time on marketing, and I’m even sending out a few query letters. I enjoy running my small business, but I’ve reached a point where I need to be more successful selling what I spend so much time producing. It’s a pitfall I must conquer.
Many thanks to Erika Beebe, Sandra Hoover, Susan Gourley, and Lee Lowery for hosting this month’s blog hop. To follow nearly 200 writers participating in this week’s IWSG blog hop, click on the icon below. You can also follow on twitter @TheIWSG or #IWSG.