Writers hate marketing. Or most of them do. They hate promoting themselves, talking about themselves, or drawing attention to themselves in any way, any time, ever.
Writers — for the most part — are humble, and don’t like to “brag” about themselves. Of course, they equate “bragging” with telling people they just published a book, got a new article accepted in a magazine, or in some cases, that they’re even writers.
If you’re a closet writer who doesn’t want to tell other people you’re a writer, you’re not a writer; you’re a typist, a scribbler, a journal filler. You need to get over yourself. If you believe you shouldn’t promote yourself because your work should speak for itself, then I have one very important question for you:
Could you put whipped cream on my medium mocha?
If you’re not promoting yourself as a writer, you’re not going to be read by other people. It’s that simple. No one is going to randomly knock on your door and ask if you have a collection of short stories or articles they can read. No one is going to start randomly click links around the Internet in the hopes of finding the next great novel.
Writers write, not so they can fill up a page with funny squiggles. They write to be read. They write so other people can share in their thoughts and ideas. And writers who hide behind “I’m a writer, not a marketer” won’t be found, except by accident and a little luck.
“But my work should be judged on its own merit, not whether I pimp myself to other people,” the reluctant marketers say.
Fine, I’ll be happy to read it and judge it on its own merit. Tell me where to find it.
Amazon is filled with plenty of book authors who think their books should be judged on merit and not on marketing. In fact, Amazon keeps track of over 8 million books and ranks the authors. They rank the authors based on sales, not merit. Not writing quality. Not the principled stand the author took against telling a single person about their book. It’s all about the money for Amazon, and for the authors.
If you’re writing only for yourself, then I commend you. It’s great that you can pursue this as a hobby strictly for pleasure’s sake. But if you want to be a professional writer, you need to promote yourself. Just like every other business venture, marketing makes money. Not-marketing loses money. And if you want to make money as a writer, you’re going to make money from telling people about your work, not hiding behind artistic purity.
I write this column, not just because I have some knowledge I want to share, but because I want people to know who I am. I joined Twitter not just to communicate with other people in the social media realm, but so I could find readers for my blog. I promote my blog, not so I can feel like a big shot, but so I can get customers for my business, or get people to hire me for speaking engagements.
But if I didn’t do any of that, my original blog would still be pulling in 20 readers a month, all of whom were either related to me, or me. I wouldn’t have books, I wouldn’t have readers, and most importantly, I wouldn’t be doing what I loved.
If you’re a writer, you owe it to yourself and your passion, to tell people who you are, to find readers and fellow writers, and let them get to know you. If they know you, they’ll like you. If they like you, they’ll read you and buy your books.
Ergo, the more people who know you, the more books you’ll sell, and you’ll start to make a living doing what you love to do.
And if you’re not willing to do that for yourself, then I only have one thing to say to you.
Can I get a pumpkin muffin too?
Erik Deckers is the owner of Professional Blog Service, and the co-author of Branding Yourself: How to Use Social Media to Invent or Reinvent Yourself. His new book, No Bullshit Social Media: The All-Business, No-Hype Guide to Social Media Marketing, which he wrote with Jason Falls, will be released in October 2011.