Why a Writer Needs to Be More Than a Writer

I came across this excellent blog entry today. Its name says it all: The 8 Jobs of Modern Writers.

For the purpose of this blog entry, I’m not going to focus on the editing or the accounting that goes along with writing.

No, I’m going to focus on the marketing that Robert Lee Brewer mentions.

The [sad] truth is that he’s absolutely correct. I hear this from writers all the time. There was once a time when a great writer could simply be a writer: nothing more and nothing less. If his or her writing was good enough, success was sure to come.

But, like in every other field, times are changing. Anyone who has worked in the corporate world would tell you that the people who move up the corporate ladder generally aren’t those who do the best job. No, the people who get the promotions are the ones who’ve kissed the most ass.

In the case of authors, today’s writer also needs to be an expert marketer. Put yourself in the shoes of a publisher. If you have two authors who both send you excellent manuscripts, and one has an entire marketing campaign already in place, which one are you going with?

You may not be a marketer. In fact, you may not want to put together a marketing campaign. As Robert points out in his blog entry, many authors are introverts, making marketing themselves a pretty unpleasant experience.

Every job has some unpleasant responsibilities. Yours is marketing yourself. Here are a few ways to do just that.

  1. Build yourself an author website. Use it to highlight both yourself and your writing. Include photos of yourself, your bio … anything that makes you appealing to both publishers and readers.
  2. Get involved in social networking. Create yourself a Facebook fan page. Join LinkedIn, Twitter, GoodReads. Over time, determine which ones seems to be getting you the most interest from readers and stick with those.
  3. Blog, blog, blog. It’s true: blogging is a bit of a time-sucker. But it’s also one of the primary ways that people learn about you. It’s only through your blog that people will find your website, learn about your book(s), join your mailing list, etc…
  4. Connect, connect, connect. Reach out to people who are interested in your type of writing. Join communities and groups of readers in your genre. Connect with other authors and share ideas. The more people you connect with, the greater your network of friends and followers.