The Part of the Equation Writers Cannot Afford to Miss


As writers, most of us have a vision of the perfect writer’s world—we sit on the deck of a charming bungalow, overlooking some untouched tropical paradise, while we pound out bestsellers before we hit the beach. We drop the finished manuscript in the mail, our literary agent takes it from there, and the checks roll in while we decide whether or not to do Oprah or go surfing—we opt for surfing—our agent will handle things with Oprah.

The missing part of the equation in the real world is the word none of us wants to hear—MARKETING.

Publishing is a business. It’s not personal.

It’s a simple equation: Revenue – Costs = Profit

The other fact is: Books are production units, and every publisher is limited in the number of books he is able to produce in a given year.

How does yours become one of them? If a publisher prints 100 titles a year and must choose between the 1,000 manuscripts he receives, yours has to be better than 900 of them. There is no compromise with that. Do not leave it to chance.

Assuming you are in the group that does get published, what’s next? Marketing.

The competition for readers is at least as intense as the competition for publishers. Now it’s on you. There simply isn’t enough profit at less than stellar sales levels for a publisher to invest much in authors who do not command a large audience of readers.

Marketing is at the core of what makes authors successful, and it is the one part of the equation we must all get better at doing.

For more information on how to develop an author platform and how authors can help themselves with the marketing aspect of the writing job, start with the Author Learning Center.

D.B. Jackson won the prestigious Western Heritage Wrangler Award, the Will Rogers Medallion Award (twice), the Western Fictioneers Peacemaker Award, three Laramie Awards, and the Eric Hoffer Literary Award. His book cover was a finalist for the daVinci Eye Award for Best Cover Design. His novels were First Place Winners in their respective categories for the Laramie Award. He has short stores published in several anthologies. Small Moving Parts is now available from Turner Publishing.