Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Marketing Time vs. Writing Time

"The best way to sell your book is to write more books"

We've heard this idea a million times and there's no denying its truth. The more books you have on the shelf, either physical or virtual, the more chances a reader can find you.

Some authors take this to the next step and say their time is better spent writing than marketing. Again, I don't have a problem with this. I agree that if you are limited to a certain number of hours each day, you will reap more benefits from spending an hour writing than spending an hour building your platform.

Here's where we start running into problems. You can't claim that you're not going to market because you'd rather spend that time writing, but then not produce any new books. Unfortunately, I'm seeing this a lot. Writers who have basically given up on marketing so they can focus on writing, but only managed to draft half a book in the past year.

I realize everyone works at their own pace, but I'm going to go out on a limb and say that's not good enough. Writing instead of marketing only works when you're prolific. This means writing...a lot. It means actually taking that time you would have spent marketing and using it to put words on the page that you then polish into something that can be published, no matter if you are doing so traditionally or indie.

"But Sarah," I hear you whisper for fear I will send you the stink eye. "I did write a lot, but no one is willing to publish it."

That stinks, my friend, it does. Guess who doesn't care about any of that? Your readers. If aren't putting something new on their shelves then you need to come up with another way to stay relevant. Hint, I'm talking about marketing and platform.

This may all sound a little harsh, but maybe it should. No one said publishing is easy. In his speech during DFWCon, Jonathan Maberry said some very true words. "Writing is an art, publishing is a business." Success in business isn't easy. It means effort and sometimes doing things we don't like or aren't as fun as the creative whirlwind that is writing.


If you want to skip the marketing efforts in lieu of writing, go for it. I'll be the first to say there is more than one path to success in this business. But don't assume that writing words your readers can't read is a fair trade.


  1. Great thoughts.

    I'm not an extrovert. And to be honest, I hate marketing and, to some extent, blogging as well. I consider it a necessary evil in my life. Over the past year, I've had websites and blogs that I centered around writing and my effort in getting published. Needless to say, I lost stamina (especially since I hadn't been published.) But by the prodding of my wife, I began a blog on myself and my life as a SAHD (stay-at-home-dad) who is trying to get published. This has built me a readership based on something more personal other than "buy my book!" People want relationships, and they find hints of them in personal blogs. It also has kept me busy while I slog through the process.

  2. I try to do both as much as possible. I stink at in-person marketing so concentrate my efforts in the virtual world. And I've learned to write faster... I aim to put out 4 this year. One is out. I'm working on the next two. Should be working on #4 before June ends.

  3. I'm so happy to hear you say this because I'm going to have a new book for you soon. :)

    I used to write about six books a year. Now with edits on contracted books I don't have all that free time to write but I'm aiming for three books instead.


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