Although my blog is titled EZ Indie Publishing, there is nothing easy about it.
It’s only my initials, folks, the obvious explanation for EZ. However, many Indie authors who have been blessed with success may sound as if it is easy to become a great seller. “It’s all about Marketing,” they say, “follow what I do.”
Nothing regarding Marketing is easy. It takes lots of preparation and many hours of frustration before we see fruition. Marketing requires a skill set of measuring and writing that’s different from the writing craft we use to write our novels.
Many Indie authors who have achieved some success are now claiming themselves to be the teachers. The same people who say, “Give your books away for free” are now selling other Indies their “formula for success.” All you have to do is follow their methods, take their class, and use their examples.
Folks, I’m all for learning, anyone who follows this blog knows I encourage all things educational to satisfy the curiosity itch and to grow as a person. I also encourage everyone to read and watch what’s going on in the business of publishing and marketing. But don’t get duped.
Here is my rant: Now businesses are calling out to the WebSphere to set up your own business—to teach in classes to the minions who are searching for an easy button. You’ve most likey heard the call, “If you want to increase your writing coffers, set up a class.” Easy! Not! Often they just go over the same stuff we’ve heard before but add an unusual twist, make it sound ‘unique’ and walla! You’ll make more money if you start a class. Easy!
Once again I repeat, nothing in the publishing industry is easy. It doesn’t matter if you’re Indie or traditionally published—it is not easy, period. You need to decide what it is you’re after—to write good books or to make money fast.
Many authors who write fiction tend to be loners. It’s part of our job to sit alone for hours writing. To properly market, we must break out of our shyness. Here is the glitch. Many writers are also introverts, and I mean a real introvert, not just someone who slings the word around. A true introvert is someone who gets drained when interacting with groups of people, yes even online. So we should network to get your platform going—but for a true introvert that is like asking them to do something against their very nature.
There are some leaders in the crowd of proclaimed teachers who say they are introverts, too. They sell that their method works for everyone, and you can still work the techniques they sell if you’re an introvert. I listen to their rhetoric and then think, (using my introspective personality), and conclude that no, it’s not that easy, and you’re not truly an introvert after all. I don’t buy into the delusion you’re selling.
Someone may not like to stand up in public and speak, no one does, but that doesn’t make you an introvert. You may be shy, but that doesn’t make you an introvert. Often the methods taught in classes don’t work well for writers who are introverted.
Unfortunately, most of the classes that we are bombarded with are for people who are extroverts in nature, coaching to network, and the tactics simply don’t work for introverts. Some may say, “then change.” In my humble opinion, that’s not something doable any more than you can change your eye color (unless of course, you add FAKE lenses, but they’re so uncomfortable and fake).
Here is an interesting article that defines the differences, if you’re interested in this topic. It’s a back post that I read in Psychology Today Understanding Introverts by Beverly D. Flaxington @BevFlaxington “Extroverts and introverts are essentially two different species, and you cannot just stop being one and become the other.”
Introvert (psychology) a person who tends to shrink from social contacts and to become preoccupied with their own thoughts.
Introvert comes from Latin intro-, “inward,” and vertere, “turning.” It describes a person who tends to turn inward mentally. Introverts avoid large groups of people, feeling more energized by time alone.
So, we understood that marketing is a difficult task to perform, and even more so for introverted writers. Some say to repeat what works for others and what is being taught in classes, but there is no duplicating for the long haul.
To reach our own audience, we have to be our unique self.
In the short term, we might use tactics that some of the leaders are claiming as useful marketing tools. They do work for the short term to build email lists and funnel in potential readers. These marketing tools can be used and measured and help you decide which advertisements work best for you, which need improvements. However, none of this creates real fans of your work.
To have an honest readers list, you need to let them know the real you, not a carbon copy of someone else.
If you are in this writing and publishing game for the long term, shortsighted tactics are not the answer. You need to find your own unique way of doing things, and that takes time. Being visible in the short run does not make a career. Being popular does not make you a great writer, either.
So first off, define what you are after. A quick buck or a long term writing career that may or may not make you money.
I read an interesting interview yesterday that was originally posted in 1966—so different from interviews we know today—but it was very insightful, and revealed the real character of Saul Bellow. Even before the interview was posted, they spent hours going over the responses to ensure they were true to his thinking.
Read it here in The Paris Review Saul Bellow, The Art of Fiction No. 37 by Gordon Lloyd Harper. You’ll especially appreciate the post if you’re a fan of his Herzog. Here are a few insightful excerpts that I liked from the interview, and where I thought Saul Bellow revealed truths about himself that amplified his already huge fan base.
INTERVIEWER Herzog rejects certain of these fashionable ideas, doesn’t he—the ideas à la Sartre or à la Camus?
BELLOW “ . . . It seems at times that we are on trial seven days a week answering the questions, giving a clear account of ourselves. But when does one live? How does one live if it is necessary to render ceaseless judgments? “
INTERVIEWER You’ve spoken also of the disabling effects of basing a novel on ideas. Does this mean structuring a novel according to a philosophical conception?
BELLOW “No, I have no objection to that, nor do I have any objection to basing novels on philosophical conceptions or anything else that works. But let us look at one of the dominant ideas of the century, accepted by many modern artists—the idea that humankind has reached a terminal point. . . . The prophecies have not been borne out. Novelists are wrong to put an interpretation of history at the base of artistic creation—to speak “the last word.” It is better that the novelist should trust his own sense of life. Less ambitious. More likely to tell the truth.”
“ . . . There may be truths on the side of life. I am quite prepared to admit that being habitual liars and self-deluders, we have good cause to fear the truth, but I’m not at all ready to stop hoping. There may be some truths that are, after all, our friends in the universe.”
I agree with Mr. Bellow, (RIP and thank you for the work you gave us). We should trust our own sense of life, be less ambitious (or egotistical) and tell truths. Some truths are indeed friends of the universe. Nothing in life is easy.
These truths in publishing are evident, no matter what the most recent gimmicks are:
- Writing is a learning process that needs time, care, and learned craft.
- Marketing is a different discipline that also requires time and uniqueness.
- Time and persistence are the best Marketing tools.
Keep reading—Keep writing.