Professionalise all aspects of the job you’re doing. The end results will be better for it.
I read a very good blog this week by a fellow writer. He was bemoaning the fact that authors are now required to diversify in order to get their books to a wider audience, he didn’t want to have to claim that he did anything other than write books. I can certainly sympathise with his view, however, I suspect that I’m one of the people that this particular blogger was complaining about.
These days, I would say my job was not simply being an author, but also a publisher, a digital marketer and someone who has to turn their hand, quite frequently, to graphic design. I also edit and proof-read, alongside my very able team of editors and advisers. So I really can’t say that I’m just a writer, it would be disingenuous. Much of what I do on social media is marketing. It would be misleading to suggest otherwise.
The image of the hapless author, who has their mind almost permanently focussed on plots and characterisation and not on the realities of the business side of writing is really now a thing of the past. Even if your novels are handled by a large publishing company, you will still be required to do your own marketing.
As time goes on, I find myself increasingly enjoying these other aspects of the job; particularly the cover design and the making of the promotional materials. Why should I pay for a so-called ‘professional’ when I can do the task myself and the more I do, the better I get at it. I think it’s important not to undervalue the new skills we are learning. I actually think I could give some traditional publishing companies a run for their money in terms of the editing and design I’ve produced. I see no reason to be coy about the new trade that we are budding apprentices of.
If we take these various business roles seriously and treat them as a professional part of our job description then I believe that the end results will be better too. Don’t treat self-publishing as an amateur venture, give your hard work the credit it deserves. I reckon I could join a marketing department in any sector of industry now and have a reasonable amount to offer. I think that authors (and part-time working mums for that matter) have a tendency to trivialise the work they do. This is unwise. Be confident about producing a polished and professional end product and your work will be taken more seriously, which is something that every writer must surely desire.