The Two Greatest Challenges For Today’s Writer
In my mind, the two greatest challenges for today’s writer are: (1) Creating an amazing book while tackling all the elements necessary to make that happen; and (2) Working and keeping up with the ever-changing publishing industry.
Yes, I know I just asked you to figure out how to boil the ocean. And the ocean is getting deeper and wider every day. But let’s set aside the thousands of details and hours of angst necessary to pull these things off. Let’s talk about the overall.
Truthfully, I can no longer say which of the two challenges is harder. In the simpler world of yesteryear, there was no contest. It would be creating your book, hands down. Writing takes your heart, your soul, and your emotional energy (not to mention most of your time). All your efforts would go into crafting your novel. The rest—the marketing, sales, and publicity—would be done by the publisher.
Fast forward to the present, where, sadly, that business model is gone.
Now, for a successful writing career, you have to write an amazing book as well as invest time, effort, and money into promoting that book and into riding the wild waves of social media. You must write additional material. You must run contests, make your own videos, enhance your own websites. You must invest yourself into finding the best ways to communicate with your readers, not via weekly letters, but on a daily, sometimes multi-daily, basis. While that part is both validating and rewarding, the entirety is a crushing combination of responsibilities. Immediacy is the name of the game, and waiting is no long an option.
As a result, both the writing process and the marketing/networking efforts are imperative. Which means you need to understand a rapidly changing business while still creating an outstanding product. Effectively, you need to hone and fully utilize both your left and your right brain, the former for contending with the business side of things and the latter for managing your creative process.
I wish I could tell you I’ve mastered both, but the truth is it’s nearly impossible to master either. You listen. You learn. You practice. And you grow. Most of all, you care.
Never feel alone. Your fellow writers are struggling right along with you. I’ve been published for over 25 years and 27 novels, and I continue to pound away at the process, evolving as I go. The industry is forever changing, especially as technology grows. And the creative process is still an all-encompassing entity unto itself, one that demands so very much of your time and energy.
Yet, more and more is expected of authors in today’s world. And we’re all afraid of imbalance—doing too much in one area and not enough in the other.
Still, I have to believe that the process begins with a great book. So the very best advice I can give you is to remember why you’re a writer. It’s because you love sharing your stories with your readers. Even if you fall short in other areas, never compromise on the quality of your work. Do the best you can with your marketing, social media, conferences, and everything else relating to getting your book out there. But always, always write the best book you can. It’s what makes you and the industry successful. And it’s what makes the union of book and reader possible.
ANDREA KANE's psychological thriller, The Girl Who Disappeared Twice, became an instant New York Times bestseller, the latest in a long string of smash hits. With her acclaimed signature style of developing unforgettable characters and weaving them into carefully researched story lines, Kane has created Forensic Instincts, an eclectic team of maverick investigators. Recruited because of their special talents and dynamic personalities, the high-energy members thrive on blatantly disregarding authority. Armed with skills and talents honed by years in the FBI and Special Forces, and with training in behavioral and forensic psychology, this unstoppable team solves seemingly impossible cases while walking a fine line between assisting and enraging law enforcement. With a worldwide following and novels published in over twenty languages, Kane is also the author of numerous romantic thrillers and historical romances. She lives in New Jersey with her family, where she is busily crafting a new challenge for Forensic Instincts.