Friday, February 13, 2015

Love It All

What do you find fun about writing? Getting to know characters? Watching them extricate themselves from traps that disrupt their journeys? Letting their stories roll off fingertips that race to keep pace with mental images playing in the mind? Editing? Proofreading? Cover design? Layout? Publishing? Printing? Marketing?

Courtesy of Godserv at morguefile.com
An introvert by nature and a true wimp when it comes to selling my wares, I love the writing part, the developing part, the watching-them-grow part. I can do basic cover and interior design (not to be confused with or used in place of expert design). Nit-picky beta readers top my list of “go-tos.”

Courtesy of click at morguefile.com
However, lack of marketing skills, the weakest link in my writing chain, have regularly rained on my promotional parades. In the past, absence of stunning covers has diminished the face value of my books. I don’t want to be “a jack of all literary trades and master of none.” I love writing—that’s my “genius” (along with editing). But I’ve quit dabbling in areas where I don’t excel and yielded to the “genius” of others who bring to the table skills I lack. Now I can look beyond the frustrating elements of book creation and love the whole process—because I don’t expect myself to do the whole process. I have a team. I love it all.

How does your book travel from original concept to readers’ hands? Do you do everything yourself? What’s your weakest link? What’s your “genius”? Do you love it all?
 
Linda Lane and her editing team mentor and encourage writers at all phases of the writing process. To learn more about what they do, please visit them at www.denvereditor.com.

16 comments :

  1. Between you and me, I've always known writing is my strongest suit. (Not that anything other than one short story has been published yet.) I have ideas about cover design and marketing and all, but they're very nebulous; there's absolutely nothing that would sell my book. I've always known I'm going to need professional help before my book is ready for others' eyes and I'm looking forward to that happy time. In the interim it's just me at the computer telling my characters' story the best way I know how, and I love it.

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    1. Telling your characters' stories is the perfect place to start, Suzanne. The other elements will fall into place in their own time.

      I, too, love writing most of all. Trying to do everything is overload and almost drove me away my true passion. Now I turn my characters loose with my stories and let them tell me how they handle their involvement. Meanwhile, I'm relegating everything else to those whose genius is getting a polished, eye-catching book to market and in front of my intended audience.

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  2. Okay, Linda ... you've thrown down the gauntlet ... I"M the weakest book marketer around these parts. You might not be great, but I know you can't beat me in crappy marketing. So there.

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    1. Let's not have a contest, Christopher. The winner would be the bigger loser. Hmmm, I think that's a contradiction in terms. :-)

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  3. I've taken to heart some advice from writers' conferences. Do what you love, do what you're good out, and hire out the rest. In fact, I recently hired a housekeeper. That advice isn't just for writing!

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    1. Absolutely! As for the housekeeper, that's a great idea, too.

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    2. And apologies for the typo - should be what you're good AT, not out.

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  4. I do it all, and love it all, up to the point of glad-handing and promotion. While I do promote on social media passively, I'm not an aggressive marketer. I don't enjoy that part. I should pay someone to do it. I can't physically go around promoting. My health just won't allow it. I've sold reasonably well without aggressive promotion. Since I don't write in a best-selling genre, I doubt I'll ever see stratospheric numbers. I do it because I love to work and writing makes me happy.

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    1. Doing what makes us happy is one of the biggest perks of being a writer. How many people punch time clocks, draw a regular paycheck, and are totally miserable? I don't want to be among them -- and I'm not because I write. :-)

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    2. I worked the clock for a long time. I don't miss it.

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  5. Linda, you are so right about the importance of recognizing what you are best at and leaving the rest up to others. I learned that a long time ago when I was a PR consultant and did a lot of in-house publications for a couple of big clients. I was good at the concept for an annual report, and I was good at the writing, but the photography and layout were done by other professionals. I carried that over to my indie publishing and have a professional do my covers and edit for me.

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    1. It took me awhile to realize that doing it all amounted to shooting myself in the foot. The competition in the literary marketplace is fierce -- no place for an untalented amateur in any area.

      I'm not an artist. If I want readers to be intrigued by my covers because they stand out, I'd better have someone with an artistic "genius" on my team because recognizing a great cover is far different from being able to create a great cover.

      As for editing, I know structure, grammar, etc. When it comes to flow, development, dialogue, and so on, I use beta readers that call me on even the tiniest infractions. They expect the same quality from my stories as they do from the best books they buy; I don't get by with shortchanging them in any aspect of the story. To date, this is working well. We'll see how it goes now that I'm resurrecting all the bits and pieces of stories that have lain dormant for years.

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  6. I think my weakest area is promotion. I'm too shy to ask people to help me with blog posts and reviews.

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    1. I understand that one, Susan. I've tried a few times, with mixed results.

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  7. I believe my greatest skill is in revising. I find joy in taking the initial sketch that I or someone else has laid on a page in broad brushstrokes and then making it jump off the page by raising the stakes, tying sensory images to emotions, and asking over and again, "But what's it really like to be this person in this moment?"

    The biggest challenge I face is public speaking. I enjoy it, and am often strong at it, but I have to restrain a nervous tendency to take too long to make a point. Sometimes I think, "I've got this!" and let my guard down, and that's when it happens again. It requires constant vigilance.

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    1. Making characters and scenes come to life and pull the reader in is the most satisfying part of my writing, I think. However, please don't ask me to speak in public. Major stage fright and I are much too well acquainted.

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The Blood-Red Pencil is a blog focusing on editing and writing advice. Some of our contributors are editors, some are authors, and some are writing sheep. Yes, sheep.

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