November was National Novel Writing Month. In the last few years people have been encouraged to pen 50,000 words in the 30-day month, averaging 1,667 words per day. Last year, out of 325,142 official global participants, 58,917 reached their goal by November 30. Can we simply train ourselves to write by the numbers and produce books this way?
On the one hand, I think it’s great to set a goal, break it up into smaller steps, and to steadfastly tackle such an enormous project. On the other hand, inspiration can’t be forced or scheduled. Some days, all you want to do is write and the words flow. Other days, as much as you love writing, the book project could seem like a chore.
Writers need goals and deadlines to force themselves to take direction and ownership of their creation. But the question is: What’s the right pace for you?
Authors can write at a pace that’s faster than they can keep up with. Books need to be edited, promoted, and marketed. If a writer was left to just write and not tend to other aspects of selling the book, he or she could write hundreds of books. But, alas, most writers have other jobs, busy lives, and they must tend to their books so they will sell and find their readership.
Most writers have a variety of stories inside of them, but they tend to write with a certain style and theme that connects their books. Many writers know which book is their best one. They don’t have to think about it. It could be their first book or some other title, but they know which one stands out to them. So it appears, though writers just want to write, the real goal is to write the one masterpiece and then market the heck out of it.
Easier said than done.
Authors struggle with:
• Starting – and finishing – books
• Making time to market their published books
• Properly researching their marketplace
• Applying for awards and recognition
• Locating a literary agent
• Finding a publisher
• Selling their foreign rights, movie rights, audio rights, etc.
Authors, in order to be successful in the long run, may have to write less, but research, market, and brainstorm more. Keep in mind this is one theory, and most writers couldn’t stick to this because they are naturally drawn to spend any spare moment writing. Still, if authors can discipline themselves to write fewer books but really go all out to make each one a success, they would likely come out ahead from their current approach of flooding the market with books that don’t get a lot of marketing support. They just hope people will discover their book, fall in love with it, and champion it to others. But writers need to get enough people to read it and then convert others.
Although many writers live their whole life to write the one book that they believe is great – and that garners critical praise, wins awards, sells like hotcakes, and makes an impact on the lives of its readers – many will write books as if they find oxygen, gold, and water in them, as if life’s necessities can be consumed only by writing.
Writers love to write.
They have a lot to say.
They have love to give and passion to share.
Writers want recognition and praise.
They want a pay-off in the form of not just money, but fame.
Writers want to know they make a difference – and that a piece of them will live beyond their days.
Will you set out to write a book in a month? You could turn out a dozen books in 2016, but will you give enough attention to any of them to become a success? Maybe the compromise is to write many books but publish only a few of them. Build them up and make it easier to then release additional titles. Or write just one book and keep editing and rewriting it until it’s perfect – and then market the heck out of it.
The choice is yours.
Brian Feinblum is the SVP and Chief Marketing Officer for MEDIA CONNECT.