I won’t forget how the creative gathering bristled at the 2012 Immersive Writing Lab when Ogilvy Entertainment’s president Doug Scott addressed a room full of eager minds.
Down the Marketing Man!
There’s nothing more soul destroying than having to jump through hoops, tick boxes and appeal to the soulless marketing machine, is there?
“I don’t write to sell, I write to make a statement.”
“I’m not interested in the marketing, that has nothing to with me.”
I have heard this said a lot. I write because I enjoy stringing words together and creating a little bit of magic – but I used to be of the very same mind set.
As writers, most of us (most) hate the world of sell sell sell – which if you think about it is silly, because we (some of us) are hoping to write that next best seller. A good chunk of us writers HATE the Marketing Man. I would strongly recommend hating the Marketing Woman too, she is equally as vicious, and perhaps a little more savvy than the Pink It Shrink It brigade.
The writing world has morphed to suit an impatient market. It’s supply and demand after all.
A whole industry has sprung up around the writing of ebooks, It has a wee little support network screaming for our non-existent monies. If you look you’ll find plenty screaming for your attention on Twitter, Facebook, and the rest of the social networking gang.
Then there’s the whole chunk of literary agencies that, for a fee, (yes that again) will review, edit, and even critique your work. Some will kindly hold that fee and take a percentage of your signing fee, if you’re really that good.
The agent wants a cut, the editor, the publishing house. Each of these businesses offer a little more to that finished treasure. Your first book. Proper book, with a glossy cover and that un-recreatable new book smell.
Why should I, the writer, share the profits from my year of emotional imbalance and hard work I call a story? I can skip that lot and go straight to self-publishing, paying only a small amount out to an editor, a freelance artist. I can have an instant book – without the harsh or unexplained rejections. I can label myself an author. I am a success.
Yes, but are you? Clearly you’re willing to play the great marketing game, as self publishing requires you to put “YOU” out there a heck of a lot more. Push that book, get those sales, turn heads! SELL SELL SELL! All right, so you might have a bigger share of the profit, but a bigger share of not very much is even less.
Of course if you didn’t get it proofed before you went digital, there will be plenty of negative reviews, the Grammar Gang will be at you to re-write – you would have had to do for the agent/editor/publishing house prior to publication anyway. Patience is a virtue I am still learning!
If you think about it, the words we assemble are a product. We, the writer, a business. We are the beginning of the assembly line. Our mind is the tool that shapes our product, and that product is creatively high in demand, a good story can spawn fanfic – which generates it’s own income, it can spawn a web presence, (think Pottermore for example) webcomics, interactive e-learning, t.v. rights, films. We, the writer, can spawn ARGS (aka RPG for the marketing world), advertising campaigns, scripts for radio, games, plays.
We, the writer, are the source of a great deal of profit, be that digital or hard copy.
An agent will nurture -ideally- that tool, invest time (and that’s expensive if you consider fees just at the living wage.) The editor will polish your finished product, give it a glow, take it from shabby chic to regal elegance.
They’ll both give you a little more confidence. So you can sell more, look good on the shelf, or list, or game box, any which way you want to look at it, they improve your talent. Even if it is just by adding a shiny bow.
Don’t hate them. They have feelings too! (I like to think they do anyway.)
Play them at their own game. Make your writing appeal, do your research, know your audience. Use your tools to stand out from the crowd. Be yourself, there is only one of you.
It all starts right here.
(P.S. Yes un-recreatable isn’t a word. Most of the time.)
(P.P.S The Great Novel Project word count is a happy 22000 before Easter stopped play.)