I woke up from my nap with an idea to write a counter-point blog to author and blogger Kristen Lamb’s post about the image problem authors have. See her post here:
What I thought she wrote was that it’s not enough to write a good book. But what she actually wrote is, “It’s not enough to have a book.” Her post is about having a platform from which to sell your book, i.e., market your book to readers.
Kristen didn’t say it, but I feel like I’ve heard it said elsewhere: It’s not enough to write a good book.
I’ve believed this for a long time. I write good books that don’t sell, so I often ask myself what’s the point? What I just woke up thinking was that’s the question I wanted to ask Kristen Lamb. But since that’s not what she said, I guess I will ask myself.
Before I do, let me just say I suck at marketing in case you’ve never read my blog and didn’t already know that. I’ll repeat it: I SUCK AT MARKETING MY BOOKS. I can say I don’t enjoy it, but the truth is I HATE IT. In that context, it really, truly doesn’t matter if I’d published ten or fifteen years before I actually did, and it won’t matter how many books I publish now that I at least have a publishing platform. Very, very few people will ever know or care that I’m an author who not only believes in writing quality books but makes every attempt to do just that. I will die just as anonymously as I came into the world.
Five years after my last book is published (if not before) the rights can and probably will revert to my estate and that will be the last anyone will ever hear of Barbara Meyers, Author.
So I wrote a bunch of good romance novels before then. (I’m not dead yet, let’s remember.) So what? Because I didn’t market them, they didn’t sell and hardly anyone knew about them or had heard of me. Then why am I doing this?
Here’s the easy and most truthful answer I can give: Because that’s what I want to do.
If you’re an artist, you create art. It’s what you do. Great. Now I sound like a Geico commercial. Why can’t we create art for art’s sake? Why can’t it just be something beautiful we put out into the universe for others to enjoy? Does it have to be noteworthy? Does it have to sell for megabucks or in mega numbers or be considered worthless? Is that the only value we have of perceived quality now? If it doesn’t sell for a lot, or doesn’t sell at all, then it’s less than useless?
Thanks to Samhain Publishing, I have a wonderful editor who makes my books even better and a company who gets them into the sales venues. Samhain’s philosophy is “It’s All About The Story.” I’ve even connected with a group of Samhain authors to do cross promotion. Sadly, the rest is up to me. Not only do I drop the marketing ball when it’s thrown my way, I try to avoid being anywhere near it.
OMG I can hear those more knowledgeable voices who’ve preached to me for years: “It’s a business, Barbara. You have to treat it like one.” Ugh.
As an author must I reach some bestseller list before what I offer readers has value to them? Side note: There are countless numbers of authors who have made the USA Today bestsellers’ lists whom I can guarantee you’ve never heard of. Don’t believe me? Start Twitter-stalking authors. You’ll start to believe that every author besides yours truly has been on that list. (Hangs head in defeat.)
Likewise, I would imagine, there are countless authors who have marketed their butts off whom you’ve never heard of or read either and probably never will. Are their books as good as mine? Probably. But again, I ask you, what is the point? How many more readers do they have because of marketing? How much did they invest in their marketing campaign? Did they figure it out? Did they find the magic key to fame and fortune? While I’m not making any money from writing, even if I did I wouldn’t be investing every dime in advertising. Because then, I’d what? Be breaking even. Well, I’m already breaking even. I don’t get paid to write books, but it doesn’t cost me anything except my time and brain power and creativity to write them. And if that’s how I choose to spend my time, then so be it. I’m not hurting anyone except myself and maybe I’m giving a handful of readers a respite from a stressful day or a chuckle or a sigh here and there.
So shoot me. Because for me it is enough to write a good book.