Can Marketing and Networking Harm Your Writing Career?

Can you market your work and network too much? My writer friends and I have discussed this question several times over and it can be quite controversial depending on where an author is in the process of a writing career. Early on in the beginning of my writing adventure  marketing and networking was part of every course I took. Build your platform, network with other writers in your genre, network with writers, publishers, illustrators on social networks to help get your name out there, blog to build an audience, and offer to write for free to get your feet wet. Everywhere I turned, someone was telling me to get myself out there.

 As I began finding my way, the advice included Query, query, query.... find a publisher you want to write for and send your ideas. Worry about the writing when you have an accepted idea. Write for various free sites and build your article folder, make yourself an expert and the work will find its way to you. Etc. Etc. Etc. New and seasoned writers know the drill. Does all this sound familiar? But when is too much marketing and networking harmful to your career and when is it enough?

Here is what I have discovered over the past 10 years of writing and trying to build a takes discipline to stay on course and courage to promote yourself in a humble way, Yet marketing and networking is essential even when  it can be too much and it can be harmful. Here is a quick list of when and how it can hurt your career.

  1. Marketing and networking can be harmful if all you do is market, network, and never sit down to write or create a product. You loose your authenticity when you say you have a product or you promise your book to your audience but you do not deliver. It is only a positive reflection on you as an author if you have something valuable to offer your audience and you continue to provide what you promise in your marketing campaign. 
  2. Social media is a fabulous tool but it is only a positive tool if you are using it to either promote your product, book, or service. It is also a positive career move to promote others through social media especially those in your field of interest and those who can help you to grow as an author. Social media can have a negative impact on your career if you find yourself distracted from your writing or if you get caught up in the negative or false leads that social media can trend or if you use social media to procrastinate from the job you need to be finishing. 
  3. If you see positive results with the marketing techniques you are currently using and you can schedule your time like any other task it can be positive for your writing career. If you focus all of your free time on marketing and networking at the expense of writing time or family time it can be detrimental to both your professional and family relationships. There must be a healthy balance between writing, marketing, and family obligations. 
  4. Marketing can be self-absorbing if you are the only one saying good things about your work. While we need to be our own best horn blower,, at some point you must count on the opinions of others in the form of reviews of your work, comments on your blog, notes from editors, and such to balance and provide an objective view of your products. Someone somewhere must notice your work... your tried and true product or story. It can harm your career if you are the only one saying you are a great author. Networking with authentic people in your area of expertise can validate your work and in turn promote your career in a positive way. 
Marketing and networking must be guarded and planned just like the story you create or the product you develop. Care must always be taken to make sure the actions you take to promote your career are helping and not harming your reputation as a writer. 

About the author: Terri Forehand writes from her home in Nashville Indiana. When she is not writing, designing, or crafting she spends time working in the neonatal intensive care, spending time with grand kids, and running the small fabric shop she owns with her husband, She is the author of The Cancer Prayer Book and The ABC's of Cancer According to Lilly Isabella Lane. She is currently working on an picture book about first aide for first graders.


Karen Cioffi said...

Terri, it's true that you have to balance your writing and marketing time carefully. Marketing can easily get out of control it you don't. Great tips!

Kathleen Moulton said...

Terri, valuable information. We can spend so much time building our platform, networking, etc., there is no time left for writing.

Mary Jo Guglielmo said...

Good tips Terri. It's also important to choose your avenues for marketing carefully. Some networking sites are not about self-promotion.

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