I’ve met people that could sell sand to someone dying of thirst. They thrive on the engagement and hunt of getting other people to buy what they’re selling. I’m not like that. The idea of selling raises my anxiety and discomfort level and it is something I unconsciously and consciously avoid.
On the other hand, one of the most common reactions I hear from people who found out I’ve written a novel (four novels, actually, with a fifth in the works) is, “Wow, that’s amazing. I could never do that.”
There are a lot of things more difficult than writing a book — getting a college degree, moving across country to live in a new state, getting married, getting divorced, coming out of the closet, etc. Although difficult, these things seldom get the same reaction. “I could never do that.”
Writing books is easy. Selling books is hard. I repeatedly struggle with the “Author as Brand” role I must play as a self-published author. The constant presence on social media, blogging, self-promotion through speaking engagements, pursuit of book signings, etc. is an ongoing and tiring activity. It drains me and feels Sisyphean in scale and scope.
Many also are under the impression that if you get a traditional publishing deal, the publishing company does all the marketing for you. All you have to do is cash your advance and royalty checks and show up to book signings and guest appearances on The Today Show. The sad truth is, even traditionally published authors have to maintain their own author brand and handle the bulk of their marketing effort.
If you are one of those rare few who feel like you have the motivation and energy to write a book, be warned that writing a book is easy compared to selling a book.
My advice is to partner with someone who likes to sell, someone who lives to market. Someone who does it in their spare time simply because it’s fun. Link up with someone who can sell snow to a Minnesotan and has done so repeatedly in the past. Find someone who believes in your vision and talent and writing prowess and becomes your champion.
There are probably more 7’+ centers in the NBA than there are people who are equally and adequately skilled at writing and marketing. They are entirely different disciplines and it’s best to find out which you’re good at and focus on that, delegating the other to someone else.
Writing a book is easy. Selling a book is hard.