Monday, February 27, 2012

Not a One Man (Woman) Job

While most writers spend the majority of their time alone, being a successful writer is not a one man (or in this case ... woman) job.  It really takes a whole network of people to make this thing work.  It saddens my heart to see many great writers fall by the wayside because they think they can make a go at it all alone.

If a writer only wanted to write for themselves, why write at all?  You've already lived, dreamed and imagined the story in your mind, why take the time, toil and effort to put it down on paper (or type into your computer)?  Isn't part of our passion in the fact that we desire to share these awesome adventures with the rest of the world, allowing them to see what we see, and given a chance to experience the great saga as we experienced it?  How can that happen if we keep them to ourselves?  If we try to make a go at being a successful author and keep to ourselves, more than likely we are the only ones who will have any part in the story.

I know talented writers who are lazy.  They put the blood, sweat and tears into writing and editing their work of art, but want no part of marketing and selling the finished product.  They feel their time is done, they've done their part and now they expect the world to swoon over their effort and lay the world at their feet.  This borders on pure arrogance.  They deserve the dismal performance their book will receive, because why should anyone else go out of their way to sell, promote or recommend what the author themselves won't?  Only if the author, or their publisher,  is willing to throw a lot of money at it.  How many great works were allowed to fizzle from laziness?

I know religious writers who think it arrogant and sinful to market their spiritual-based books. On one breath they claim their words are given by God to the people, and then before they even take a breath, don't want anything to do with marketing, selling and promoting their work.  Piety smells no matter which way it's woven.  If you're not going to market and try to get those books into every hand you can, why write them?  Wouldn't God choose someone who was willing to spread the inspirational words He'd given at every opportunity possible?  If the religious writer only stands quietly in the corner, who will hear, buy or even acknowledge the book?  How will the ' rest of the world' find it, see it, come across it so that it could be of some spiritual benefit?  Should only people the religious writer knows on a personal basis benefit?  Doesn't that circle already benefit in that personal relationship? Ever heard of preaching to the choir?  Yet, unless they get connected to an audience of readers, their words won't go far.  What a waste of a gift and an opportunity.

On the other hand, I know writers who don't have much, but they're proud of what little they've done and never miss an opportunity to talk about it, boast about it and spread the word.  They may not court million-dollar deals at the moment, but they're making an impression and building a fan base, one person at a time.  In my opinion, they're already successful because they believe in themselves to put themselves out there, to reach out and shake a stranger's hand and love their works enough to want to share it with them. To surround themselves with other writers who can appreciate, encourage and strengthen their knowledge in all aspects of their craft. Worst case scenario - the audience doesn't love a particular work, but respects the author enough to be open to review their next, or even help support their efforts by passing the word along.

We writers need one another, that is if we want to be successful.  But, you don't have to take my word for it.  Search out the truth for yourselves.  Study the footprints of those who have gone before you and see where they have landed. 

Till next time,
~T.L. Gray

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