Sunday, September 01, 2013

Learning From Others

I came across an interesting blog by an author named Bob Mayer who has written 53 books and made bestseller lists. In his blog, Mayer lists ten things he’s learned as a writer, many of which I’ve also learned over the years.

Two things struck me about his piece: one was that his bio says he’s sold five million copies of his work, yet I hadn’t heard of him. I admit that I’m not the most well-read person out there, but I’m trying to read as many authors as I can; however, neither do I live under a rock. One of the things Mayer says that he did wrong was not network enough when he was a traditionally published author. Now that he’s an indie author he’s learned the value of doing this, and now I’ve heard of him. This has happened before. A multi-published author I didn’t know existed has become indie, and now I hear that person’s name on different sites. Could it be that indie authors are trying harder at promoting and networking than traditionally published authors, especially those who’ve already many copies of their books?

Two of the ten points Mayer makes really hit home with me. One is that the best promotion you can do for yourself is to keep writing good books. I’ve heard this said by others and I think it’s true. Rather than spinning our wheels registering for every networking site under the sun, why not pick three favorites, restrict one’s time, and get back to writing? I see so many indie authors endlessly promoting and commenting on forums that I’m amazed they get any work done.

Here’s another point that’s really sunk in with me lately: being a writer and being a business person are two equally important aspects of this job. Both need each other to survive. Now, when I say be a business person, I don’t mean merely improving one’s social networking skills, I mean getting out in the community, meeting business people, and making connections that will help you grow your business, establish your brand, and sell more books. How many writers actually belong to a small business association in their community?

A couple of weeks ago, I had one of those ah-ha moments, when a Facebook acquaintance saw my announcement of the arrival of my latest book, Beneath the Bleak New Moon. She’s joined the small business community in our area, and invited me to take part in an upcoming event. I wasn’t convinced that a small business expo would be the right fit for me, however, after a discussion with the group’s organizer, the epiphany came again. I am a business person as much as a writer, and I need to improve networking opportunities face-to-face in my own community. I started taking steps in this direction three years ago when I began selling at craft fairs. Now, I’m ready to expand my world from one of crafters to business people. It feels right at this time in my life, and I’m looking forward to the adventure.


Cathy Olliffe-Webster said...

That sounds like a great idea, Debra.

Debra Purdy Kong said...

Thanks, Cathy. I'm really excited about new opportunities coming down the road!