As we all know, the selling of books is the hardest part of the game and there was a lot of talk about publicity and marketing of books over the two days that I attended. The biggest take home for me was that everything is in the data. Thanks to digital technology, there are many ways to get data for a book out into the world. So be sure to register your book on Title Page (you must be a member of the Australian Publishers Association or Small Press Network to do this) and ensure that any online platforms have as much data as possible. Think key and tag words.
After two days of talking about how hard it is, you could start to think that being in the book game is really not worth it. Too hard. And yet, there are so many people writing books and starting up indie publishing houses. Why is this? Here are some of the things that were cited on the panel (of which I was a panellist):
The industry is generous. Where else can you be friends with your rivals, and share industry knowledge with each other?
It’s such a rewarding way to spend your work life.
The collaborations are fantastic.
We are all working to a common goal. To create great books.
Humans connect through story, so we feel compelled to get those stories out there.
Life is never dull!
And maybe we need to examine the phrase ‘no money’. What does that mean exactly? No money literally means zero and of course this is an exaggeration. To me it means that we’re not all becoming millionaires but many are making a good living from it. This is where we examine the value of working in something that we love versus working for money. I know what I’d rather be doing.
There are so many aspects of life that a writer can celebrate, so when you ask yourself, why am I writing? think about doing it just to celebrate something.
In a fast-paced world we often forget to celebrate our achievements and milestones because we get so caught up on what is happening next. You could say it’s like stopping to smell the roses.
This kind of writing relates to non-fiction because it’s about celebrating life and events through story, rather than fictional stories. It’s through the story of your achievements and milestones that you can connect with other people who can follow your journey and learn something for themselves. So often we have goals and dreams and work hard to make them happen. But when we get there, we immediately move onto the next thing, hardly taking the time to process anything or to value and enjoy the success.
By celebrating your accomplishments you won’t be at the end of something but actually acknowledging progress. In doing so, you can debrief and assess what you have done and cement the great things that you have learnt (and know what to avoid in future).
So what can you celebrate? If you’re a writer, celebrate the fact that you are working at your craft like a professional. If you’re a business owner, celebrate milestones as you go, whether it’s being in business for six months or 50 years, they are all significant to you in some way. Or if you are running some kind of project or program and it’s been difficult to getting it off the ground, celebrate that you have. Tell people about these events that are worthy of applause. You will be surprised that people are interested and can learn from your story.
It’s okay to commemorate your milestones and to write them down. This will be your legacy. Use these stories to connect with others who might be on a similar path. Do it through articles, blog posts, social media posts and books.