Monday, January 8, 2018

Instruction Included, or Not (Part II)

By Idabel Allen

With twenty plus years writing under my belt – both professionally and personally, I’d learned a great deal about the business of writing and was confident in my ability to master the tasks associated with publishing and marketing my work.

Turns out what I knew about publishing and marketing was next to nothing. The publication of my novel, Rooted, that began my crash-course into the unknown: building a website, growing an email list, setting up a reader magnet, developing campaigns in MailChimp, creating ads, giveaways, and promotions.

To say it is overwhelming is an understatement. I am not a technical guru or marketing mastermind; I am a writer. And yet, instead of creating characters and dialogue and plot, much of my time is now devoted to developing systems and sales ads that are, admittedly, not as effective as they should be, but this too I am learning.

How I refrain from hurling my computer out the window, I’ll never know. But the problem isn’t the computer; it is me. Or rather, the necessity of mastering, or at least, becoming familiar with the never-ending tools and processes and procedures required of today’s writer. Because today’s writer is no longer just a writer, no matter how much we long to be.

As detailed in part one of this blog, I am not big on reading instructions or following an established path, no matter how much I intend to on the front-end. This lack of common sense on my part has cost me time and caused undue stress as I wrestle with all that is required of writers in today’s literary market.

To say I have learned my lesson is misleading. I will always jump feet first into projects without proper preparation; apparently, this is how I learn. Despite many heated battles with Wordpress, I now have a beautiful website that I designed, built, maintain on my own, which was my goal, to begin with. 

But I have learned there is help out there and to seek it sooner than later when needed. Fiverr and Reedsy, freelance marketplaces specializing in technical, editorial, marketing, and design services, have become much relied upon resources. I outsource what is beyond my ability or desire to do myself. Knowing I have experts to turn to if needed has provided a much-needed level of security and relief.

The truth is, we do not have to muddle through this brave new literary world alone. An endless supply of help and support is available to all: how-to articles, writers’ groups, conferences, forums, seminars, mentors – you name it, it’s out there.  In the end, it comes down to finding what works for you. That may take some experimentation and cause us to beat our heads against the wall.

But that’s okay; we are used to it. We’re writers after all.

So just go for it, any way you can. You’ll figure it out, instructions included, or not.
IDABEL ALLEN is the author of HeadshotsRootedand Cursed! My Devastatingly Brilliant Campaign to Save the Chigg and Rooted (February, 2018 release). When not burrowing in the written word, Idabel is generally up to no good with her family, dogs, and herd of antagonistic cows. Learn more about Idabel at or follow on Facebook: Twitter:

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