Why Writers Hate Marketing and What We Can Do About It

I wrote yesterday about how much writers hate writing. Obviously that’s a huge problem, and anyone who actually becomes a functioning writer solves it, by definition. If we want to make money at this writing, however, we encounter an even bigger problem: We need to become marketers. Many, possibly most, possibly all, of us hate this.

The marketing can catch you at every turn. You write a great novel, short story, or essay; now you have to “sell” it to someone. You want to write a nonfiction book or article; you have to propose it, and get someone to buy it so you can make it. You write and publish a book; now you need to get readers to buy the thing, lest no one ever let you write a book for them again.

If you want to get paid for your writing, the marketing never ends. Even if you get an agent. Probably even if you become a bestseller. Because you still have to get out there and sell the next thing.

Most of us just want to create, quietly, at our little computer screens. We don’t, and can’t, magically morph into salespeople. If you haven’t noticed, salespeople are often the personality inverse of many writers. Writing requires a kind of intense introversion: observing, quietly typing and retyping. Sales requires a kind of extroversion: talking to others to get them to see things your way, then hand over some money. We want to stay in our artiste bubble. We know our ideas are good. Why do we need to sell them to other people?

We don’t, unless we want to make money. That’s something many of us do want to do.

My answer to “what to do about hating writing” was to keep writing. In a way, that’s the answer here, too. Think about your marketing as writing. All of it is a form of writing.

If you have to write a query letter to pitch an article to an editor, think of it as an essay about why your idea is so awesome. Same goes for book proposals; they’re just longer.

If you have to send out an email blast about your new book, think of it as writing a letter to your readers.

If you have to give a speech, you have to write a speech. If you have to Tweet or Facebook about a project, that’s just tinier writing.

If you have to do media, well, you’re lucky. Suck it up and do it.

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8 comments

  1. I love writing and I don’t mind marketing other people’s writing–but when it comes to marketing my own, I feel so fake and pushy!

  2. I am still learning how to write, and I am oddly excited about the day that I feel confident enough to market my wares. LOL. Who knows? Maybe someone will find it interesting.

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