I just read an article by Sara Sheridan on authors/writers and using social media. As I read it I was shocked at how adverse other authors were to setting up a blog, a twitter account or facebook page in order to increase their notoriety. At uni I did a class that specifically revolved around online social media and the publishing sector. And in another we looked at the idea of discoverability.
Discoverabilty is pretty much the most important thing that a author/writer needs to have. If someone can’t find your work then they can’t read or buy it. And the people in this article seem to not only complain that they are losing readership, but they seem adverse to even try to gain new readers. Its like they are intentionally trying to cripple themselves. You can’t afford to stop putting in effort on your novel once you finish writing it. Publishing houses now have to expectation that you have social media skills because, well sometimes they don’t.
As an author you need to put yourself out there. And you need to do it before you publish your first book. The more attention you can garner the better it will sell.
The other day I was just surfing the web when I decided to look up not people who were successful writers, but people who were failures at writing. It was the first time I’d looked at writer and the publishing industry from that perspective before.
It’s probably a good thing I did because I came across some pretty interesting stuff. One site has a funny description on 6 types of fail writers, which made me a bit scared because I have a few wisps of them in me. The site even has counter article of 6 types of successful writers and when reading it I’m like Victoria Mixon you know my soul.
When evaluating what is success and what is failure in terms of the publishing industry and writers, the terms can be a bit blurry. A publishing house accepting your manuscript is a success, but that manuscript only sells a few copies out of the 3000 (yes that is around the average print run in Australia atm) printed is considered a failure. A person writing and editing their own story to the point where they self publish it on and sell a few copies is considered a success to them. While others feel that because their story was rejected from a traditional publishing house then they are a failure. Having a best selling book is considered a success, but if readers look at it and pick up numerous errors over and over again then that in itself is a failure.
When I was younger I once read an author note in a kids book saying how the author, who had been published before, was not satisfied with the end product for her first book. My first thought was that was interesting, you don’t hear that every day. And my second was ‘well you can’t complain because the fact that you were published in the first place is quite an achievement’, but now I think ‘hmmm, this author’s idea of success was not meet’. And while there are a lot of other things that went into that statement like loss of control etc. the fact remains that what is failure and what is success is relative. Your success is another person’s failure and another’ failure is considered a success.
Remember that you should plan your success, but also plan for when failures occur because they will happen.