The writing industry has changed a great deal in the last decade or so. When I was a girl, I was convinced that writing as a career meant penning the perfect novel (first try, naturally) and then being picked up by an agent or publishing house, which would then turn me into a bestselling author in a matter of months. Let’s just say that marketing was meant to be someone else’s job.
Now, there’s a huge amount of content in the world, and authors are trying to compete with a good portion of it. Marketing is something that has to be done whether you are a traditionally published author or an indie author like me. You have to spend time on social media, interacting with people and creating your brand. You have to produce content that may not have anything to do with your books. You have to find a way to get people interested in both you and your work. No matter if you have the name of a traditional publishing house behind you, or if you are starting from scratch on your own, these things are necessary.
Since becoming an indie author full-time, I have been doing things that I never would have expected my life as a writer to look like. Instead of spending all day writing and researching for writing, as I would absolutely love to do, I am creating YouTube videos three times a week. I talk with people on social media every day. I am working with a freelance editor, other freelance publicists, working on getting my cover designed. I am doing blog posts, preparing author interviews, book reviews, and who knows what else might come my way.
It turns out that I am spending a whole lot more time not writing than I expected, being a writer.
Now, that being said, the “not writing” pieces are just as important as the writing pieces. If I don’t market and interact with other people, writers and readers alike, then my book is never going to be noticed by anyone. If I don’t create the book review videos and author interviews, then the writers I’m working with have a harder time marketing their own work. It’s all important and absolutely necessary.
And it turns out I like doing all of the “not writing” pieces just as much as I do the writing pieces. I like being able to interact with the people of the Writing Community, no matter where they are. I like being able to create YouTube videos that help fellow writers and create interesting content. I like the challenge of getting a book ready for publication. It’s enjoyable and teaches me that there is always more to learn and do.
And, yes, I do actually spend a considerable amount of time writing, as well. I dedicate my afternoons — as much as possible — to writing my novel. If something gets in the way, then I write more later. I can still manage anywhere between 1K – 2K every day of the week, with weekends off, as long as I’m dedicated.
Being a writer in these modern times is about so much more than just putting pen to paper (or, er, fingers to keyboards) and creating a book. Traditional or Indie, you have to do so much more. And it is far more fulfilling than I expected.