It’s not just scribbling you know

As I stand on the sidelines and watch my good friend drown in PR as she promotes her newly launched book, Bella’s Run, there is a little part of me that feels slightly grateful that I’m not facing the daunting task of debut novel self-promotion.

Writing a novel is a huge enough task, not one for the faint-hearted or lazy. Promoting a newly published book is a baptism by fire. Learning the ropes of self promotion on the run is one hell of a way to get media training. The only consolation is that in this vast, fast world of white noise if you make a mistake, it probably won’t stick (unless it’s a mighty clunker!).

When it comes to weeding out the men from the boys in the writing world, the reality is that the actual writing of the thing is usually all it takes. Or so I thought. Watching Margareta’s experience I realise that the launch and promotion of a debut novel will do the rest of the work. I reckon I know now why there are so many one hit wonders – and why publishers need to know that you are here for the long haul, ready to do the yakka required of a new writer, before they’ll look at you twice.

This point is no more salient than here, in the wise words of a woman who has walked the firey coals and lived to become the writer she dreamed of being – C Hope Clark:

‘While writing takes tons of work, promoting it takes even more. I’m working 12-hour days. I’m tired. I’m busy. And I still keep thinking of more I could be doing. While riding to and from this presentation, I worked, judging a book contest and Beta reading/critiquing a colleague’s manuscript before it heads to the publisher.

I have eye drops at my computer these days. My husband has taken over my travel calendar, ensuring dates don’t collide and we have a place to stay along the way. And I’m trying hard as hell to finish edits on the second book.

Writing doesn’t become a living.You make it one.

  You can’t wait to make enough income to justify leaving the job, you have to proactively tackle it. But you have another job, or another life, and you don’t have the time. Truth is, until you give it a full-time effort, it can’t morph into a full-time profession. If that means working 80 hours a week, half at one job and half at writing, you do so. Then when you see that income rising to the level you desire, make the leap.

But . . . novels/books don’t make fast money. They suck time and deliver a low rate of return. Yep, they do. That’s when you commit for the long haul, with a focus on the end game, when books begin to make money for you.

Being stuck in the middle is not fun. It’s exhausting and   frustrating. But, anything worth having is worth the effort. It just depends on how deeply you want it.’

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