“A negative outlook is more of a handicap than any physical injury.”
― Christopher Paolini
I spent a lifetime working in healthcare. The rehab specialists always assured me that attitude rather than physical disability was the limiting factor in recovery. I believe that to be true for writers also.
There are writers I know who plug along, year after year, moving slowly into the mainstream of a writing life. They spend their time honing their skills at storytelling, learning craft and making themselves familiar with the publishing industry.
These are the writers who will eventually become successful.
Sure, we’ve ll heard the story of the aspiring author who sits down and pens the first novel, so wonderful that an erstwhile editor is immediately engage with their voice and style. They are offered a lucrative contract and when their books finally arrive on the shelves, their editor and agent both go out of their way to promote their work thereby assisting this author to the tiers of NYT/USA Today best-selling author.
That’s not how it usually happens.
Generally, the aspiring author writes a novel. They may or may not join a reputable writers group before or after the completion of this novel. The writers group, if the aspiring author is very lucky, will assist them in choosing a correct path for submitting said novel. If they are super lucky, they may acquire a mentor from the writers group who will help them move forward as a writer and assist them in avoiding some of the many pitfalls ahead.
Years pass—sometimes one, sometimes many— and the book is accepted for publication. A whole new path unfolds in front of the author. Now they must aspire to be a savvy marketeers. We all know the fate of the writer who believes their book should “just sell itself”.
The truth of todays savvy author is the need to be all things when your book is getting ready for publication.
The successful author, whether traditionally published or self published, knows he or she is responsible for promoting their work. Although I believe it is true that the last book sells the next book, you will still be required to manage a blog tour and other promotional activities, if you want to keep the interest of the people who will buy this book and hopefully the next one.
There are writers of fabulous fiction who do not enjoy the experience of having the maximum number of people sharing their story because they are not willing to do the work associated with promoting their work. “I just write the books.”
What those authors need to realize is they are responsible for promoting their own work. They will benefit from learning promo as part of learning the authors craft. The author who fails to follow through on the delivery of great storytelling will suffer in obscurity if they are not willing to step forward and share who they are and why they tell the type of story that engages their readers.
Today, readers expect attention from the authors they chose to read. In the economy where a reader plunks down hard-earned cash to enjoy the stories you tell, you need to be astute about their needs and wants. You want to make sure they follow you, through the next book, the next series, the next genre, etc.
We often spend so much time and energy learning our craft, that when success arrives we fail to follow through and ensure our success is long-lived by nurturing our readers. For some authors, who are introverts this is a painful realization. They may be unwilling to break the chains of shyness and move forward to engage with readers. But it is a necessity.