All Kinds of Ways to the Means.... What is Yours?

Writing advice comes in all styles and for all types of genres. A beginner writer can be so wrapped up in reading and researching the best advice about writing that the real writing takes a back seat. The fact is there are all kinds of ways to the means of being an author.... and there are all kinds of acceptable ways to get published but the successful writer will find the way that keeps them moving forward with their story.

And it also may not matter to others if you are writing an essay, a blog post, a magazine article, a picture book, or a 80,000 word novel the premise is the same. You need a story. You need an audience. And you need to market your work so your target audience can find your words.

If your story is fiction, you need believable characters that your reader will relate to. It won't matter if you write better with an outline, a story arc, morning pages, or free write ideas into little clouds on the back  of a napkin. What matters is that you see, feel, and know your character so well that you have no other way than to describe it for your readers on the page.

If you write nonfiction, you may not have a particular character but you will have a specific subject or topic that your reader will relate to. Your job will be to make the reader care about that subject. They won't know if you write with an outline, a story arc, or standing upside down. The reader wants a beginning, middle, and an ending that makes them want to care about or learn more about your subject.

Marketing on the other hand does matter. If the author doesn't market their work, no one will see it. That may not be a big deal if you are keeping a personal journal but if you want to attract more readers, an agent, or a traditional publisher you want to be noticed and noticed in the right places.  And it really matters if the writer wants to make an income from those words because your need that audience to find buyers for your work.

Advice books, writing circles, and social media are all sources of information on marketing your work but each writer must still find the way that leads to the means so to speak. What works for picture book writers may not work for nonfiction medical writers and so on. The market or target audience will be different as will be the publishers for different types of writing.

Self publishing is slightly different when it comes to marketing because most of the marketing becomes the responsibility of the author and may then take time away from the actual task of writing.

Authors, no matter what is written or how it is published must keep in mind the ways to their own means.... another words.... find what works. Finding the balance between writing, marketing, publishing, and managing the business of writing is individual yet we can all take tips and advice from others and continue learning from those that are successful. In that way we will all find our way to our means and be able to call ourselves writers.

As the year draws to an end and celebrations occupy some of regular writing time, make sure to take note of what works and what doesn't in your own writing career. Look at your audience, your marketing techniques, and where you want your career to head in the New Year so the start of 2014 will be  focused.

  • Note any lack of knowledge or skill you need to improve and be ready to find the sources for information that will give you more confidence.
  • Network within social media where your genre or niche fits best and reach out to others to offer what you can to help them too.

It takes a village to raise a child as they say and it takes a village of marketers, authors, mentors, publishers, and agents to help writers succeed.


Melinda Brasher said...

This is great. Sometimes I get wrapped up in what other people are doing to market, and think I should do it all, but you're right: we need to find which pieces of advice and marketing strategies work for each of us and then pursue those.

Karen Cioffi said...

Terri, useful tips to help writers move into 2014. It's so true that it doesn't matter what genre you write it, the strategy is the same:

"And it also may not matter to others if you are writing an essay, a blog post, a magazine article, a picture book, or a 80,000 word novel the premise is the same. You need a story. You need an audience. And you need to market your work so your target audience can find your words."


Mary Jo Guglielmo said...

Terri, I agree that it is important to reflect on what has worked as well as what you have accomplished. I try and do that and set new goals a few times a year.

Linda Wilson said...

Great article, Terri. And timely for me as I sit and reflect what lies ahead in 2014. Thanks!

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