♦Welcome to another edition of the Open Book Blog Hop!♦
What’s the biggest problem you have in your writing right now?
Welcome back to another Open Book Blog Hop! The authors included in this ongoing series wish to thank you for your reads. Even more so, we appreciate that you share our writings with friends. If you’re new to the series, welcome aboard. The authors engage and impress weekly. Prepare to become a regular reader.
The troubles never end, as is true with all things. In my opinoin, the only way to experince boredom in life is to not have any issues to resolve. Feeling exhausted is a different story. Have you ever noticed how simply tired the elderly are? They’ve had their fill and I can imagine they’d prefer boredom to more problem solving.
When you start out as a writer, the biggest hurdles are learning your basic skill set: actual writing/grammar, plotting, and a freshly creative execution of your ideas. Once you have a grasp on those items, you’ll find there is a lot more to understand and grow into. For instance, depending on your genre, you may need to get a grasp of research and author credibility. I’ve seen many authors throw this detail to the wind simply because, as they say in their own words: it’s only fiction. Eventually, the troubles they gain for themselves in disregarding all the reasons one should give an absolute F about reputation and how proper research builds one will meet up with them.
The above is one of the reasons I highly recommend bothering with college/university courses. Even if all you can afford is a creative writing course, it is worth your time, because you would then have a professor at your disposal to help explain the ethics portion. Besides, it is good to get exposure to such a setting, as it can teach about diversity and other social topics. Get all you can out of your course by thinking about it from multiple lenses.
Then, of course, you’ll get some coursework or a whole degree under your belt and decide to join a writer’s group. There, the troubles can range from personality clashes to spinning your wheels. I still say that writer’s groups are a good idea, but mainly for those early on in their journey. Unless you can form a group based on the level of experience, you’ll have people at all stages. This can be problematic for the more advanced who won’t find a lot of useful feedback on their work, which they could find from those of similar or greater experience. The beginner will get a lot out of a group that has more advanced writers, but they can also face ridicule from them, when folks join to just toot their horn.
If you join a writer’s group, always keep your mind open and make sure you’re using beneficial critiquing skills with your peers. You’re all putting yourselves out there, and it can be uncomfortable to do so. Keep in mind, regardless of how well you deliver a critique, the recipient can take it with umbrage. Keep rules clear and be sure that it is understood criticism is for the betterment of the recipient. This should help mitigate bad feelings. Also, don’t be afraid to call out another writer you feel is being needlessly harsh. Rules and clear communication of expectations in the group are an absolute necessity.
Once you get past the troublesome publishing hurdle, you’ll still find a lot of problems to work out. One of these problems is figuring out how to build readership and other marketing activities. The world has changed a great deal from the way we used to publish and sell books in the last two decades. Major publishing houses, however, have not engaged in marketing the work of their smaller authors ever. Also, be mindful that an advance is just that: and advance on sales. Once you make enough to pay back that advance to them, then you’ll see royalties. If you independently publish, there are no advances, but you still will need to market your own work.
Marketing is the number one trouble I see writers having. This is a troubles I have myself. Sadly, many think signing with a publisher will rid of this task. So, they never bother to learn, or study up on the process. It wastes a lot of time and results in greater hardship. If you don’t make enough sales, a publisher will drop you. Publish independently and you just have to get going on your marketing study.
There are a lot of resources out there for writers to learn marketing. You can study until the cows come home, and in the end, it will generally still be a conundrum. In my personal experience, you can do everything by the book and see no change in the amount of readers you have or sales you make. Luck is a big player in how your efforts play out. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.
You still want to follow marketing lessons you learn (especially when gained in a college on the topic), as they are overall tried and true strategies. The part that will help you out the most here is getting creative with your execution. Be mindful. Your intended audience is marketed to death. By the time you walk in the door, they’re tired of the grind. If your social media posts look like ads, they’ll ignore them as ads. If you can’t post something that engages them, you’ll waste money and time.
Figuring out who your ideal reader is goes a long way to figuring out how to get them interested in your work. Never forget, however, that they can smell the sales pitch miles off. Engaging them on a human level is more important. Relax a bit. Make friends. People want quality interaction.
Yours truly has struggled with making friends all her life. The reason being, it has soured on me in ways that really make you wary of others after a while. Understand, however, that friendships online are parasocial. This means that they are of a different nature than your in real life bonds. Parasocial friendships seem as strong as real life bonds. However, limited information you gain of an online person, specifically only that which they wish known, provides the construction material. Absolutely, the information there paints a certain picture purposely put forward. It’s best to think of them of online contacts as acquaintances, colleagues, or associates instead.
While it is fun to do meet ups, don’t apply deep friendship bonds to these activities. It takes time to build a real relationship, and a lot of effort on the part of both parties. Most of what we know was filled in by us, via assumptions made observing them in a voyeuristic manner through skewed online interactions. Yes, most people omit a lot of details of their life. You should! It’s a safety concern to be too honest. And before someone says anything about meeting their bff online–of course real friendships are forged online, but they’re the exception not the rule.
It’s a lot easier making parasocial bonds online in recent years than it ever was in the past. This is why you see seemingly kind folks being absolute monsters to people they interact with online. They exclude the parameters of expected social behavior when a computer screen hides them. When the mask is on, a whole other side comes out.
This is similar to my experiences in real life. Once they bond with you, the façade that lured you in drops. What you find there is in stark contrast to what you once believed. That’s not necessarily your fault, although I have seen people ignore obvious warnings, such overt behavior. This makes it really difficult to predict a person. Being able to predict behavior is key in marketing.
So, here I find myself struggling to predict who my reader might be as well as how to reach them on a level they will respond positively to. The sad part is that, although when it boils down to it I want to sell them a product, the book means so much more than just another product for sale. Yes, we do expect compensation for all the work we do to create a book, but that doesn’t mean it’s a plastic nothing. Books offer their readers innumerable benefits for the small cost.
I wish I knew how to get past the suspicion of a potential reader who thinks I am up to no good by showing them a book I wrote… It really confounds me.
Click on the links below to see what troubles the other authors are experiencing at this point in their writing journeys. Don’t forget to subscribe to the blog by dropping your email address in the box at the top (emails are never shared with anyone). You’ll get the blog hop delivered to your inbox each Friday.