… Because you can’t count on other people doing it for you.
This idea has come up recently in my life. The idea that sometimes just showing up and doing good work may not be enough to get what you believe you deserve (or have earned). The mere fact that you’ve written a comic or a novel or short story or screen play or whatever doesn’t guarentee anything at all. There are other aspects that you have to be able to do, to help grow your potential fanbase, to help more and more readers find your wares.
But this isn’t about the marketing parts of being an independent writer. This isn’t about trying to do a mailing list every month or bi-weekly or weekly (which I am the worst at doing). This isn’t about the ads you need to run in order to drive people to your books.
It isn’t even about writing more books.
Except, maybe it is about all of those things. I gotta admit, I’m not entirely sure of exactly what it consists of.
I struggle with it. The thought of needing to pitch myself to every person I meet. Cold opening somehow letting people know that I write is not in my DNA currently. I do much better with a wingman/wingwoman who can do the whole “Did you know John writes?” Then I can launch into a conversation about it and we’re off to the races.
To be able to have a confidence that not only are your ideas and words good enough for their money, but also that they are good enough for their time. I’m not writing to get rich (though I wouldn’t turn it down, to be sure). I write because something in me makes me want to spill my thoughts onto the page. My hope is that someone else will read something of mine and come away with it having left an impression on them.
So how do I manage to be that advocate for myself? How do I find that spot in random interactions? How do I make sure that someone is willing to take a chance on a short story? A Kickstarter?
How do you prove your worth to those who have no idea who you are? How do you prove your worth to those who do know you?
No one else is going to do it for you. And I’m not sure anyone can really teach you what you need to do. My hope is that I get better at it with practice (at conventions, in online conversations, in random interactions).
Maybe this is one of those take a small step forward every now and then and soon enough, you’ll have come a long way?
I certainly hope so.
John McGuire is the writer of the sci-fi novel: The Echo Effect.
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