December 1, 2014

How to Remain True to the Art of Writing and Still Be in the Business

By Martha Carr

It’s possible to write what you love and sell a lot of books. It doesn’t have as much to do with what you do but the intention you bring to the table.

Are you here to tell a good story and let readers find you? Or are you setting out to find readers? I don’t mean that you can write a book, put it on the internet and then wait for the checks and applause to come rolling into your inbox.

You will need to set up a website devoted to the genre you’ve chosen and become active in social media, tweeting and blogging about the topics in your book, not just about the book itself.

But are you doing all of this in order to find readers? It’s a reversal of the process and can lead to a lot of frustration as we search for people to like our books, and even, like us. There is another way.

It starts with asking yourself the most powerful question there is, and then listening to the answer. What do I want to write?

I had to make a U-turn after several books in order to find the balance between art and business. To get there I had to start trusting my own instincts more. The result has been a series of thrillers, the Wallis Jones series, about an ordinary family who find themselves in an extraordinary conspiracy. Would you be willing to risk a comfortable, happy life, in order to do the right thing? It’s a fun question to answer in a thriller and the audience for them is steadily growing.

Here are some tips I’ve learned to love what you write and still grow an audience.
·        Pick a genre you like and stick with it. If you like it, there must be lots of others as well. It doesn’t matter if it’s not what someone else would choose. If an agent or a critic doesn’t like it, that’s okay. There will be a crowd who does.
·        Set up a website with a blog devoted to this genre. Let your enthusiasm for it shine through and have a singleness of purpose. This is not a time to write about everything under the sun. Stick to your topic and relate the topic back to your book.
·        Be consistent so readers can find you. Set up something like Hootsuite so that you post to Twitter, Facebook, Google+, Pinterest and so on, regularly. Always include a link to your blog.
·        Blog the same time, every week and keep it to 300 words or less. A lot of readers are looking at posts on their smart phones these days.
·        Get out there and be seen, even if it’s virtual. Guest blog, participate in online workshops, take out an ad, start GoodReads discussions and ask to be on podcasts. Be prepared to explain your book in one or two sentences.
      Martha Carr is the author of five books and is a speaker, columnist and blogger. Her first book of the Wallis family saga, The List, and continues in The Keeper, is the second thriller in the Wallis Jones series. Martha is currently at work on the next installment, The Circle, due out in early 2015. Martha is also a melanoma survivor, Chi runner, occasional rower and skydiver and mother to Louie. She resides near her family in Central Texas, where everyone is always welcome to stay for dinner. Her social media links are;   @MarthaRCarr  +MarthaCarr

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