Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Free-Range Writers - by RM Greenaway

If you were in charge, what one big change would you make to the business of publishing?

It's difficult to answer, because to me it feels as if the business of publishing is already going through changes, a kind of mutating freefall in fact. eBooks have made borders obsolete, Goodreads reviews can make or break you, every writer needs social-media-platform shoes, the crowded market, bewildering technology, endless new options, robots writing pretty darn good stories, book-selling websites dictating just about everything, megastars snowballing into mega-mega-mega stars for no clear reason (that I can see) ... and so on.

I went into this business with no idea of what it was all about, especially the fact that, hello, it's a business. Having little understanding of what was expected of me or what I could expect in return, I was not disappointed with how it turned out. I think I've been treated well. But I do feel caged by marketing responsibilities.  

In fact, there's my answer to this week's question...

It's a dumb fairy-tale answer, but if I was in charge, I would free authors from this pressure -- overt, subliminal, ubiquitous, unceasing -- that you must not only write your damn good book, but become a marketing whiz as well.

Yes, marketing can be fun and rewarding -- travelling, meeting readers and writers, sharing stories and knowhow -- but it has aspects that are difficult, time-consuming, expensive, even scary. 

Many writers cope well with the whole ball of wax, and even thrive on the challenge. Others not so much. Some may even give up because they feel they can't swing the demands of the public persona. Their wings are clipped.

I fall somewhere in the middle, depending on the day, my mood, and my self-esteem-o-meter.

So it's an unserious answer to a serious question, but in my perfect, imaginary world of sweetness and light -- that's of course quite separate from my crime-fiction world of darkness and evil -- once I've cured all ills, I would set writers free to do what they love best (aside from sitting around in bars): dip their quills in their inkpots and write!

Photo by Ron Jake Roque on Unsplash


Paul D. Marks said...

Good stuff, RM. And I wish you were wish to free authors from all the other "stuff" would come true. Seems like we do almost everything but writing fiction these days. At least we spend a hell of a lot of time on the other stuff, like marketing. I guess that's the brave new publishing world we live in.

RJ Harlick said...

I agree with you about all the marketing/promotion that is expected of writers these days. Though I do enjoy it, I would rather spend the time it takes, writing. Great post R.M.

Danny Gardner said...

Loved every bit of this post. The reality of marketing I gladly accept, but I wonder if I'd be more enthused about it if it wasn't required. Writing while treading water.

Susan C Shea said...

Good points, and I think it IS a serious answer. We all struggle (or most of us) with the balance between writing and creating visibility for our finished books.

Unknown said...

Thank you, Minds. My self-esteem-o-meter just rose a notch :) Really, for the most part it's all good fun.

Terry said...

Great answer! I would love not to have do fling myself into the promotion maelstrom,.