By Gail S. Tucker, Ph.D.
There are several important takeaways/reminders that best describe how the September 5 South Florida Writers Association meeting/workshop encouraged me to get past myself. I realized I needed to become an active participant in developing a loyal readership, marketing my published works and sharing what I have to say with a wider audience.
What is Writing For Me?
Writing was the fulfillment of a need to express myself freely, to allow the artistry of the written word to flow, a desire that I had permitted myself to engage in only sporadically through two careers and life lived.
At first, writing was an after-retirement activity for which I expected no kudos, no significant successes and certainly no real income. Seeing two of these goals fulfilled in just a year’s time was certainly a jolting and happy experience, but it was the third that became the most challenging...a challenge that until now I had decided was beyond the scope of my other interests and personality to achieve.
How “The Business of Writing” Workshop Helped
The first installment of “The Business of Writing,” presented by my colleagues in the South Florida Writers Association, is a well-marked expressway with many twists and turns, but which I now see is possible to traverse. It has only been blocked by my own lapses in pursuing the incredible opportunities available today in the business of self-publishing and self-marketing.
They are so very much more tenable with the boom in new technologies that have risen from the isolation created by the COVID-19 pandemic, and by the creativity of authors to take control of their own destiny. In truth, the information provided in this workshop was complex, but it described a well-defined process.
As I listened, I realized that the very mantra I repeated constantly to challenge my advanced biology students, “Trust the Process!” needed to become a part of my own efforts to achieve that third goal: to acquire economic parity with the application of sound marketing and self-promoting methods readily available online.
What I learned
· How to get published...and a very fine discussion of the modes available, including caveats and realities of each.
· The need to obtain reviews for one’s books was reiterated by all three presenters in different contexts.
· Discussion/reminder that with royalties, taxes and sales reporting are important.
· Whether to have a domain name, form an LLC or Single Proprietorship, create a blog, or use established social media outlets to promote books.
· Importance of identifying one’s genre using online sites rich in genre and sub-genre listings.
· A breakdown of marketing options into an array of steps to follow to achieve the best outcome ... branding, advertising, social media applications, special events and promotions, consistency of your “brand” image, and short and relevant communications to followers, across social media platforms.
· The nuts and bolts of author page development, acquiring followers and communicating with them from author pages on Amazon, etc. were very helpful.
· Discussion of the many well-known sales channels available, including some new ones that many of us were not aware of such as Consignment Publishers that focus on Indie authors.
· Our own writers’ organization, and other groups that are genre specific on Facebook, the addition of Instagram as a sales and blog site, and book fairs that provide a broad-based set of resources where the end product we offer, our published works, can be found, purchased and reviewed.
What are we, as Writers, Faced With?
And so, we are faced only with our own procrastination even as the pursuit of most of the things described in this presentation can be done as we sit at our computers viewing similar efforts by others on our Facebook, Instagram and book vendor sites. The Amazon-Ingraham Spark-Walmart-Smash Words conglomerates merely await us to touch fingers to keyboard and tell potential buyers and followers all about the stories we tell or are in the process of telling.
And, Thank You ...
Thank you to Rocio Vargas, Madeleine Goldman, Pedro Figueroa, Beverly Melasi-Haag and Luz Agudelo for their professional and outstanding cooperative effort in providing us with the first and anticipated continuing installments of “The Business of Writing.”