Friday, 15 January 2016

The Not so Glamorous Life of an Author

I was scanning the newspaper headlines earlier this week when I came across a couple of stories that made my heart sink. The first one came to my attention via The Guardian newspaper. It’s headline read: “Philip Pullman: Professional Writers Set to become an Endangered Species.”

This was terrible! I read the story, nodding in agreement as I went, and then I found a couple of similar features on other websites. The future of our professional writers hangs in the balance. There are thousands of very talented writers out there in the UK, and yet we cannot gain access to the channels that will properly share our voice, our books, and our work.

I am one such writer. I am very talented, very focused, and very good at the process of assembling words into a coherent and entertaining format. My challenge is getting those words in front of people who want to read them. That is a mammoth task indeed. I am not trained in the ways of  business, marketing, or promoting. I am now partaking in an online training course that will show me how best to progress, and how to drag myself from the proverbial writer’s garret, and bring me something that resembles a decent, livable wage.

Being a writer is an incredible experience. During the course of a day I can travel to faraway worlds, meet exciting and exotic characters, and translate their stories. When I step away from the computer, however, I am faced with the heavy burden of being just another nameless person in the crowd. Nobody knows who I am, or what I do. Nobody really cares, because they have not had the opportunity to sample my work.

I have tried for many years to find an agent and a publisher that has the financial means and the business knowledge to put me “out there” in the public domain. Alas, I cannot break through the perimeter fence in order to face these mythical gods of the literary world. It is down to me, just me. I am but a lone warrior, battling to send my books out into the world, and to persuade people to read them and enjoy them.

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  1. Many of us struggle with promotional and marketing work. I do hope the course you take will give you a better insight into how to proceed further.
    One new thing I have started doing is taking part in newsletter lists- where several authors get together and help promote each other via each other's newsletters.

  2. Technology can help us make our work available, that's for sure. But so doing technology just shifted the 'gates' from one place to another. Most likely, in the near future the first to have solid works under their belt and a solid grasp of marketing will be the ones who succeed.