Build a Community
There’s a famous quote in Field of Dreams: “If you build it, they will come.” Applying this to the writing world, I’d challenge every writer to build a community. Most people will probably say, “That’s impossible” or “I don’t have time for that.” But if you want to succeed as a writer, the first rule you need to learn is that you can’t do it all by yourself. You’re going to need help, and if you’re anything like me, you’re going to need all the help you can get. It’s not going to be easy, but none of the great things in life ever are, and you need to march forward one book at a time, or in the case of your community, one person at a time.
Instead of making your goal how many books am I going to sell (because this is a losing game), you should focus on how many people have I met this week…or this year. Focus your efforts on bloggers or booksellers or reviewers or Facebook posts or Tweets, and build your network one person at a time. This is a much more sustainable goal, because you have more control over what you do, and a lot less control over what others do.
If you want to succeed, help someone else. Not only will you end up with a karma boost, but it will come back around, because even when it looks like no one’s paying attention, somebody out there inevitably is, and it’ll make a difference. Maybe not tomorrow, or next week, or even next year, but eventually it’ll pick you up and carry you forward.
What I’ve discovered with writing is the process is slow and cumbersome (maybe not first drafts), and you’re splashing around in a pool now that’ll have ripple effects two or three years later. And just because you can’t see the end result now doesn’t mean you’re not making a difference. So keep going, even if it feels like you’re running in place.
I’ll be honest with you: My marketing results discourage me more often than I’d like to admit. Sure, most of the time it’s because I’m optimistic instead of being realistic, but if I focused on realism (knowing there’re only about 1,000,000 other books already out there), I wouldn’t have written my novel in the first place. So, yes, my optimism and determination have gotten me through some pretty dark days, but marketing ain’t easy. If you put yourself in front of as many people as you can, be prepared to get rejected a time or two.
When you want to quit, go back to writing. After all, it’s what you love doing anyway, and no great community was built in a day. That way, you can build your strength, and when you’re ready, go back to pushing, even if it’s just you against a brick wall, because you never know when a brick might give, or somebody pulls you through to the other side.
Robert aspired to be a writer before he realized how difficult the writing process was. Fortunately, he'd already fallen in love with the craft, otherwise Sam and Casey might never have seen print. Originally from West Virginia, he has lived in Virginia, Massachusetts, New Mexico, and now resides in California. To find out more about Sam or Casey, visit the author’s website: www.RobertDowns.net.
When he’s not writing, Robert can be found reviewing, blogging, or smiling. Falling Immortality and Graceful Immortality helped him discover his true love: hard-boiled mysteries. This is his third novel.
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