Do not tolerate needless barriers.
Let’s say that you have gotten to the point that you can consistently write material that others want to read. Now it’s time to clear away any barriers between your work and a wider audience.
Notice I said audience, not customers. We do best when we take one step at a time. You have a work in progress or even complete, but it isn’t a product until it is in a form that can be exchanged for money.
You need to determine your audience, and it isn’t everyone. If you intend to be a published writer, you need to establish a dialog with your target audience so that you know what they want to read and what they will pay for it.
One of the easiest and cheapest ways to develop a conversation with a potential audience is for you to have a weblog. Your audience can be defined as those people who come back again and again to comment on your posts or who send you emails asking how the book is coming, even when there isn’t one yet. After a relatively short time, perhaps a few months, you should know who is really interested in your book and will buy it if the price is right.
If you are a writer and don’t have a weblog, you are handicapping yourself needlessly. Your only hope to get published is through the traditional publishing structure. If you enjoy being invalidated, ignored, and being put down as a nuisance, traditional publishing has lots of that for you. You will be in good hands.
On the other hand, if you value your sanity you will not let yourself be put in a position where you wait helplessly to be selected out of thousands of applicants for a marginally remunerative opportunity. When there are tens of thousands of new writers striving to be selected by struggling publishers, you are looking at a bottleneck of enormous magnitude. This is a HUGE barrier between you and your prospective buyers!
Lets get back to basics. The only barrier that will stop you is the one which makes you lose hope. Lack of money, time, or sleep will not do that unless you are also suffering from the REAL barrier which is invalidation (ridicule, humiliation, criticism) by someone whose opinion is important to you.
Some advice here: If you are doing your best to excel as a writer and are working steadily to improve yourself, and you are being invalidated for trying to be a writer, you need a reality check. You are trying to live normally in the presence of a toxic individual. You might as well try staying healthy while swigging poison. You need a change of scenery.
Take a cold, hard look at what you are trying to create. You want to write and publish a book and presumably develop a career as a writer. You don’t have time to develop a bulletproof personality, so the sane way to proceed is to choose a path that does not automatically set you up for a loss.
You should expect to work hard, very hard to get your book published, but you shouldn’t allow yourself to be put down because you are an unknown writer. That truly is the way to madness. Don’t do it.
Self-publishing or POD publishing puts YOU in control of the process. There is no shortage of competent POD companies or short-run printers. There is no shortage of competent designers of all types who can take your manuscript and package it for printing. All you need to supply is talent and money.
You may say, "I knew there was a catch!"
You need to wake up and smell the coffee. Someone always has to supply talent and money!
If a publisher is supplying the money, he will go for the most readily salable talent he can get. Is that you? Not without a track record! You are way back in line behind the writers who have already demonstrated that they can sell books. Traditional publishing is a zero-sum game. If Grisham is available, there are no production slots open for your book.
You need an opportunity to publish your book at a price you can afford. POD publishing will allow you to do that. Once you have demonstrated that your books will sell, other opportunities will open up for you.
The next thing we need to consider is how will you sell your books when you can’t stand more rejection. I will address that in a future post. Stay tuned.
Meanwhile, keep writing.