Wednesday, August 21, 2013


The title of today's blog is a word I invented after having read Debra Purdy Kong's cogent post on Sunday, Floundering in Reality.

Cartbeforethehorseification is the act of putting the cart before the horse. An example would be concentrating on building a platform before having written a book.

"Everybody" -- meaning some people -- tell writers that they have to have their marketing plan in place before they publish. This, I maintain, is a far cry from crafting and putting into play a marketing plan before having written.

There's no harm, and possibly a deal of good, to being active on social networks, with a focus on readers/writers/agents/publishers of the sort of work one does or intends to do. Same goes for setting up a blog to chronicle one's journey through the writing/publishing/marketing maze.

But the point is, the point is, the point is to write.

I've read some books lately that were almost really good books. They weren't really good books, because they weren't really ready for publication. They were almost ready. One good thing about rejection: It makes one consider and reconsider one's works and words. It makes one doubt oneself, and this is not necessarily A Bad Thing.

Obsessing about one's writing can paralyze the process, but fighting through that paralysis, putting one's strength into one's writing is what writing is about. And well-crafted writing is far more satisfying to the reader than a well-run marketing campaign.

Am I talking about buggy-whips here? What do you think?

Marian Allen
author of
Sideshow in the Center Ring


richard levesque said...

Excellent post, succinctly put. I think part of the problem is that writers (myself included) have spent almost all their time on their craft (in some cases, not enough) and very little time on learning how to market, how to write copy, how to use social media to their advantage. Many still work under the old model (probably a myth anyway) that a publisher will do all the marketing for them, or they thought that when they were learning how to write, disregarding the necessities of the new marketplace. Now they're playing catch-up. Or they think all they have to do is market cleverly without working on their craft first. Thanks for posting this.

Marian Allen said...

You're right, Richard, I hadn't thought of it, but that probably is part of the problem: Writers who have devoted themselves to their writing are now finding themselves obliged to study and share information on marketing. New writers, seeing this, think they need to follow the lead of the writers who are visibly working at marketing because they don't SEE the years of work those writers have ALREADY DONE learning and honing their WRITING.

Christine Campbell said...

So true, Marian, and that's how it feels. Having spent all those years learning and honing my craft, I now feel so out of my depth having to learn this new skill of social networking. Sometimes I get frightened I'll lose the old skills because I now have ao much less time to practice them.

Marian Allen said...

Oh, Christine, I hear that! I go visit my mother and she says, "Did you do any work today?" and I say, "Promotion." And she knows I worked, but I didn't enjoy it as much as if I had said, "I did a good sentence on my story." lol

Crysnia said...

You are so spot on, Marian. Marketing is important but a well crafted story with engaging characters is worth a million hours of marketing.

Marian Allen said...

Once one HAS a finished, polished, edited story, THEN one has to try to get people to notice that it exists, but writing comes first. :)

Debra Purdy Kong said...

Great post, Marian, and thanks for the mention! It's always a struggle to find the balance between promotion and writing time. Some writers use formulas, such as 75% writing and 25% promotion. I've tried that, but when a new book comes out, it seems that promotion takes priority. The question always is how much and for how long?

Marian Allen said...

Debra, I find myself doing much more promotion than writing, and I hate that. I keep thinking it'll turn around, but I haven't grasped the handle to make that happen yet. And the more books I have out, the more promotion I have to do! Maybe I'll take certain days completely offline. I think it would be very restful!