You Are Your Writing Business and Your Writing Is Your Product
The Ugly Side of Writing
I know you don’t want to talk about this, but it is necessary.
If you are a writer who has goals that include making money, then you need to treat your writing as a product that will be sold by your business, and the business is you.
In Marketing, image is crucial, and so I ask you….what is your image?
It is a valid question and it is one that you need to answer.
What image do you portray to the readers of the world?
In a very real sense, who you are as a human being will be reflected to the public through your actions, and in today’s world of online interaction, this is a truth that cannot be ignored. So much of our promotional activities are done online. We are promoting our product to people who have never met us in person. This isn’t like some mom and pop grocery store where you greet your customers face to face and they have a chance to interact with you in person. Your online image is the image that people judge you by, so again….what is your image?
A must for any writer looking to make money writing
The Social Media Scene
Welcome to Facebook and Twitter, two media giants that can make or break you as a writer. Every single time you post on Facebook or Twitter, you are building, or destroying, your image. Think about that fact for a moment, and then reflect upon your daily postings online. What do those postings say about you as a person? What do they say about you as a writer? If you think this is unimportant then you really are living in a fantasy world.
I currently have 1,382 “friends” on Facebook. Each one is a possible customer, and whether or not they buy my new novel, “Resurrecting Tobias,” will depend on their impressions of me as a real person, and those impressions are based on what I post on those sites.
If I constantly post things that have poor grammar and poor spelling, what do you think that says about me as a writer?
If I constantly spew negative remarks, what do you think that says about me as a writer and a person?
If I constantly post hateful remarks, what do you think that says about me?
Think about it and tell me that I’m wrong.
And think about this as well: If I spend all my time on Facebook promoting myself, and no time supporting others, then what does that say about me?
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Face to Face Interaction
Like many writers I have business cards that declare that my name is Bill Holland and I am a professional writer. When I meet people who might be interested in forming an alliance of some sort in the future, I give them my card, shake their hand, and smile. I want their first impression of me to be a positive one. I do not go out in public dressed like “death warmed over,” and I do not act like a complete ass. I am friendly, engaging, helpful…..in short, I am a person that leaves a good impression.
If I am meeting a possible future client, I dress accordingly and put on my business face. I am asking them to give me money for my writing service, and because of that I want to appear to be trustworthy and professional.
If I enter a bookstore and ask the owner to place my book on his/her shelf, I act like I am truly humbled that they would do so. If I give a reading at a community center, I am friendly to all and I act like I am truly grateful that they would spend their time with me and listen to my words.
Hell, if I meet a stranger on the street, I am friendly, because I never know who my next customer will be….but mainly because it is the right way to act.
No, for me it is not an act. I am by nature friendly, but let’s say for one moment that I am actually a horse’s ass by nature. What then?
Well consider this: There are millions of writers in the world writing millions of books. Do you really think you improve your chances of selling a book by being an ass?
A Transformation Must Take Place
If you just write for your own enjoyment, and readership is not important to you, then ignore all of this.
However, if you write with a goal in mind of making money, then you need to change the way you approach your writing right now. You are the face of your business. Say it again with me. You are the face of your business. Before anyone reads a single word of that great novel you are about to publish, they will know you through the image you have portrayed, and their image of you will determine whether they buy your book.
I know a couple writers who post daily on Facebook and quite frankly, there is no way I will spend money on any writing that they sell. They are not nice people. If we lived in a “Fahrenheit 451” world, and theirs were the only books available on the underground market, I would not spend a penny on their work. I will not support despicable people….period!
Try this exercise. Go to your Facebook page and scan through your postings over the past week. What do those postings say about you as a person? What do they say about you as a writer?
Try this exercise. Think back to the last time you met someone from your buying public. How did you act? What first impressions did you make during that meeting?
You really need to think about this.
- William Holland | Thoreau of the 21st Century
My online place of business, my website, under construction
Elizabeth Gilbert Video
Times They Are A’changin’
This is no longer 1950. We no longer live in a world where a writer can live in seclusion, write a brilliant novel, find a publisher, have the book published and never have to interact with the public. The days of Steinbeck and Hemingway are gone, part of our past with bell-bottomed jeans and tail fins on cars.
Today, as a writer, even if you find an agent, you are expected to pitch in and carry the load of marketing. You will be expected to have a blog and website. You will be expected to have an online presence on Facebook and Twitter. You will be expected to give readings at bookstores. That’s how it works today. One book sale at a time, building one brick at a time, increasing the word-of-mouth chatter about your book, and hopefully at the end of a year or two, sales of a couple thousand units….welcome to Writing in 2014.
There are few overnight success stories. I recently watched a TED Talk video by Elizabeth Gilbert, the celebrated author of “Eat, Pray, Love,” which spent 199 weeks on the New York Times Bestseller List. She published her first article in 1992. Her success with “Eat, Pray, Love” came in 2006. For those of you who are math-challenged, that means fourteen years were spent building her craft and her image before she found mammoth success.
After watching her video my first impression was one I suspect many other viewer had…..I thought that there is a person I would like to know. I thought that there is a person who would be a great friend and a fascinating conversationalist. I thought that she had a wonderful sense of humor and she genuinely appeared to be a good human being.
All of those impressions from a fifteen minute video.
Ms. Gilbert may, in fact, be all those things, but that really isn’t the point.
Image is everything…that is the point.
I know you don’t want to talk about this, but it is necessary.
You are the face of your business.
And what does your face say to the buying public?
2014 William D. Holland (aka billybuc)
“Helping writers to spread their wings and fly.”