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I Hate Selling (my book)

Marketing4Writers: selling your book
Marketing4Writers: selling your book

Do you hate selling? Once upon a time a writer could sit at a desk and scribble away at her masterpiece without thinking about what came next. Once it was published (if it got published) the publisher would take care of the publicity and sales and the writer would wait for the cheques to come in and continue with the next writing project. Sounds nice huh?

But have you noticed how many ‘writers’ are out there? And how many people are now bringing out books? This flooding of the market is thanks to digital technologies: it’s easier to type up your story thanks to computers and it’s quicker and easier to edit thanks to computer software and then it’s easier and cheaper to actually publish thanks to digital printing. I don’t think that this is a bad thing. I’m all for people getting their thoughts, stories and ideas out into the marketplace. What worries me is that writers are putting a lot of time and effort into creating these products and then becoming despondent when they don’t sell any books.

A book is a product. I tell people to treat it like a business. Each product needs your attention to make sure it has the best chance of success. If you really hate marketing and sales, you’ll need to make sure you organise someone who loves them. If you’ve been published traditionally, your publisher should take care of this but even that can be limited if you’re a first time published author.

Many writers don’t like the spotlight on them but if you want your book to do well, you’re going have to do something about this. Exposure is the only way to get the word out. It isn’t enough to write a great book if no one knows that it exists. You don’t want your book to be that tree in the forest when it falls, and no one hears it.

Don’t think of it as selling. Technically, you don’t need to sell anything. All you need to do is get your book known in the marketplace, with the right reader and the sale will follow. It’s not a big ask to get someone to hand over $20–30 for an item if you manage to convince them that it has something in it that they want.

It’s time for writers to stop complaining about their books not doing well if they aren’t doing anything to get the exposure. It’s a simple fact of the modern marketplace, where your book is competing for space amongst so many others. Get savvy with social media and get out there in front of people. Time to toot your own horn, even if it irks you.

Look out for opportunities to learn about how to market your book. Your local writers’ centre is a great place to start, and ask your local library if you can do a book talk, or get on social media.

We run regular workshops on writing, publishing and marketing at Busybird Publishing and have an awesome one this Saturday with Sara Hood from Marketing4Writers. Book in now and get selling!

Blaise, the book chick

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From little things …

[untitled] issues 1–7
[untitled] issues 1–7
Last Saturday we launched issue seven of [untitled] to a crowd of about fifty people. Not bad for a bleak wintery day in Melbourne. When I stood in front of the room to talk about the back-story of this little anthology, it hit me that we have been doing a pretty special thing. The night before came the news of AS Patric winning the Miles Franklin and I thought, we published him in issue two. Then when I looked at the back covers of each edition, I realised that many of the contributors are now well on their way to an established writing career.

Of course, our little anthology hasn’t been the making of any careers but it has given a little exposure and I would hope some confidence to each person. This writing gig is a tough one. Toughest of all is getting past the gatekeepers who tell us if we are worthy of passing through. Strange when you think about it because writing is subjective, so how can any of the gatekeepers really know what is going to be successful? It’s an educated guess, not a guarantee. Yes, you need to be able to write but I know many good writers who don’t get picked up. Are they not quirky enough? Don’t hang out with the right people? What they write about isn’t on topic?

You could go crazy trying to work it out. This is why we started [untitled] back in 2009: to offer writers a place for simply good stories. They don’t have to be on topic, they don’t have to be literary, being selected isn’t based on who you know.

We had grand plans when we started. Oh how naïve we were! It was going to be a quarterly magazine and was going to take over the literary world! The printing was paid for on my credit card. It soon became biannual when we realised how much reading was involved. By the third year it became an annual as we found it sucked all our resources dry and cost so much to produce – this last issue has taken two and a half years to get out, but some personal issues contributed to that.

There have been times when we’ve wanted to pack it all in. It’s so much work for very little return BUT what about those writers? Each issue probably costs us money BUT what about the writing? Do we do it for arts sake? I think probably yes. As each issue has been close to completion, we’ve said it will be the last. But then it’s here and it looks pretty and there are stories in there and look at the faces of those writers who have been trying to get published.

When we started out many people didn’t think it would last and that we didn’t know what we were doing (that’s true) but we persevered and learned so much and many people have given up their time without pay to make it happen. As the years rolled on, people started to respect what we’ve been doing. It’s indicative of the whole writing industry. You have to pay your dues, show the world that rejections won’t stop you.

While many other journals and writing magazines close shop, we’re still here. Call it stubbornness, whatever. Over seven years, we’ve published seven issues of this little pocketbook and given voice to about sixty writers. It might not have changed the literary landscape but we’ve watered this little seed and it has grown into something that we are proud of.

Blaise, the book chick

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