When I embarked on writing regularly this year, I discovered an interesting distinction. There is a difference between writing and getting published. I used to think, if you write really well, the result is that you get published. That is, be the best writer and you’ll get published.
However, getting published is not the same as writing. Writing is a skill, something that I can work on and develop through practice. Getting published is a result of other activities such as building a following, marketing, and pitching literary agents and publishers. So if I want to be published, becoming a great writer won’t do it alone.
I will need to build an audience. I can do that through publishing to my own blog every day and sharing that . After there is enough body of work, the search engines will start to do their part for me. I also need to make it easy for people to follow my blog and get notified of new postings. This is something I need to improve this week in order to help me build an audience.
I will need to market myself. I can do that by making important decisions of what kind of brand I want to build and what I want it to stand for. Then, I need to work with others to create an online presence that reflects those brand values. These digital assets and real estate will help me create a system for marketing myself consistently and regularly.
I will need to pitch literary agents and publishers. And often. I will need to prepare effective proposals, send them to as many people as I can, get rejected, and get back up to do it again.
Writing Daily Isn’t Enough…
Writing every day in my notebook will not help me get a book deal. But writing every day in my blog will help me build an audience and create a body of work that can be found. And that is a step in the “getting published” direction. I’m happy to report that today is 30 straight weekday’s of writing and publishing to my blog.
This distinction has given me a great deal of perspective and helped me realize how often this same idea is true. The same applies for professional sports, public speaking, coaching, etc. Doing any of these professionally requires skills, talent, and support in areas other than the obvious field.
A couple of years ago I read in a book (as soon as I recall it I will include it) an author sharing that there are genius writers that are upset that he is a best selling author. His thought was, that’s right, I’m a best selling author, I sell more books than most. I’m not a writing genius.
Well there it is, now I get it. I recognize now that I must work on building and hiring other skills if what I ultimately want is to make a nice living off of writing, teaching, and coaching. Writing, alone, won’t cut it.