Looking back, I think I was an overly ambitious and confident writer (I hope I wasn’t arrogant). And I trusted that I would succeed by focussing almost solely on quality. But I was wrong because successful writing depends on a combination of writing and marketing.
I still believe in quality writing. It’s central to my philosophy as a creative and I can’t change that. I wouldn’t want to change that, even though I realise I failed to appreciate the power of smart marketing if you want material success.
What’s the point of success for the sake of success? I wouldn’t want to sell thousands of books and make a big profit from writing if that meant being a popular, untalented writer that jumped on trends. If success and money came as a result of a focus on quality then great. But quality was the only thing that ever mattered to me, and the only thing I ever really thought about, and I believed that I would ‘make it’ as a result.
But it doesn’t happen like that. You need smart marketing tactics. I’ve only really re-entered the public world of writing recently, with the launch of this website. And I’ve watched the hustlers arrange book reviews and occupy themselves with the business of writing a book. I’ve read some passages from self-published authors who make a living from what they write, and kudos to them for their marketing abilities.
Have some writers overly prioritized marketing over quality writing? As long as they’re making a living, does it matter?
Writing and Marketing
What you want is a combination of writing ability and marketing nous. Only then can you realistically expect success that’s worth anything. I know that I’ve already mentioned some writers who measure making a living as success, but I cannot accept that a writer is a success if they haven’t written something well. They are successful in marketing and business, but not writing.
If I were to go back, I would have set more realistic expectations. Quality writing got me as far as a publisher taking my novel on. However, I didn’t put any effort into marketing my novel to an audience larger than my friends and family. I should have asked for reviews and promoted the novel myself. Instead, I sat back and waited for something to happen.
I didn’t know the industry as much as I do today. Next time, it’ll be different.