This is a difficult line of work to be in

This is a difficult line of work to be in. Promoting is harder than writing in my opinion and I’m not even published yet. I was considering the FB world and how it jumps back and forth between drama and niceties (which is just apart of life) and a thought came to me. I see groups of street teams, promotional giveaways and cover makers, and even some support groups…but this life can be lonely and so very hard and the competition is out of this world. So…why aren’t there very many mentoring groups? Authors who’ve accomplished things, won awards, “made it”, who can honestly help those who are just coming into the world? I’d be lost without my mentor, who, while floundering in her own ways at times, still tries to support me no matter what. I found that just because you struggle to accomplish something and someone asks for help (like, dear god…I didn’t even know what a serial was!) why do they get shot down as being entitled or needy or riding off of someone else’s fame? It’s just kind of odd to me, how this world works. I get that people have to live their own lives, that writing/editing/publishing/promoting is a full time job but if I ever “make it” I would want to help someone who was once in my place, because I’d be lost without my mentor. Just a curiosity, promotes discussion, I’d love to see both sides of what people think to round out my understanding.

15 thoughts on “This is a difficult line of work to be in

  1. I might not have “put it out there” often enough, but I’ve been at this going on five years, and I’m always happy to advise newer writers (and have over the years). I’m a solid mid-list writer, so not a superstar, but I have learned a few things 😉 Anyone is welcome to PM me with questions about the biz.

    1. This is not to say that helpful people aren’t out there, I just don’t get the flaming thing, and would love to see a mentoring group pop up. I’ve met several authors who I’ve PMed, like the lovely Lola White who answered every question I had to throw at her like the peach she is. And thank you for your support to new authors, I have no doubt it’s absolutely appreciated.

  2. Why? Simple, really.

    It *is* a hard line of work. When an author finally cracks it, they don’t immediately go and share how they did it with the world. Cracking it involves realising how to leverage what you’re doing, how to actually bring it to market, sell books, and build a readership.

    Now, what each author does is different. We fit into broad genres, yes, but how we write is as different as what we write. Unique, even.

    The same is true of how we sell. What you’re looking for is a business model. For years now, we’ve been looking en mass for viable models for writers in the new digital market. When a new model occurs that works and goes viral, it gets flooded with competition and stops working. So if a writer has a working model, they don’t want to give it away any more than they’d give away their books.

    At the other end of the scale, the business model may be applicable only to a very small proportion of writers; at its most basic, what works in one genre doesn’t work in another. So a mentor’s advise may not be transferable.

  3. Quite true. In the acting business, beginners get to work with more seasoned actors all the time on jobs, and they learn a lot from them. Not so in writing. It’s a very solitary profession, and the authors who have made it big end up writing books about their writing process instead.

    1. Kinda. One popular model in writing is to sell books and videos telling people how to sell books and videos. Problem with that is that it’s pyramid selling, and it’s rapidly flooding its own market as more struggling writers decides to fake it and sell their mentoring skills.

      Writers *do* have something similar to actors though, in that you can work on collaborative projects. It’s not quite the same nor as prevalent, but mostly because we writers tend to be monomaniacs, and it’s hard to find people you can write with long term.

  4. The business side of it is perfectly understandable, your point is on point. I’m talking about general practice as well though. Forget the selling help, which is, of course a huge thing. But what about the quirks and ins and outs. No one wants to undercut themselves, unless they’re truly doing this fun. But formatting, “world” language, general support of “I have no idea what this is” is something I see get flamed. I realize this isn’t school, so “there are no stupid questions’ doesn’t apply, but I don’t get the culture of standing on someone just because you’re at the top and they’re at the bottom of the struggle food chain. Is asking for help really a bad thing?

  5. Amanda Hocking, good example. What she did worked for her and the immediate copy-cats, but it won’t work reliably now because millions of people do it that way and it no longer rises above the flood.

  6. Tiffany Buczek That is a wonderful point. Even if someone mentions they’re getting assistance who knows what FB will promote.

  7. Asking questions is good 🙂 Really depends what you’re asking, though.

    “The details” may be inapplicable from one author to another, or they may be key secrets that would kill sales to divulge, or the answer may be unknown or changeable.

    Also, online writers’ groups are very much an echo chamber; there’s not much point in people who are trying to crack it asking others in the same boat how it’s done. About as little point in trying to sell books to each other, which is pretty much where FB herds us.

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