Never Too Old to Learn

 

“Every Opportunity is a MARKETING Opportunity!” This is new territory for a senior citizen who has spent most of his life in education and human services. Those engaged in these occupations are focused on the immediacy of the work. Selling oneself is not a priority. Not much marketing gets done.

I wrote a book; Woman River, self-published as many books are these days, since the publishing industry’s take leaves the author with 6% to 8% of the cover price. Seems unfair even with the “overhead” rationalizations of the industry. The whole prospect of getting someone to notice your book even if you go the traditional route is daunting.

Writing a book is a very disciplined process, not taken lightly. A time and place to write have to fit the person, otherwise natural ability and good intention paves the road to aimlessness.

Admittedly, there is a lot of garbage out there. Even if the material is absorbing, many times the editing of the content is not – grammar matters. Having an editor who teaches and kicks your butt insures that you aren’t getting away with sloppy work. It also helps to have the editor or copy reader be a punctuation and grammar Nazi.

Being in business for yourself requires a diverse skill set. You need to know markets, products, public relations, accounting and tax laws if you don’t have an accountant, as well as your community or target audience. None of this remains static. It is a very dynamic process that is a challenge and fun.

Whining as an author about the overabundance of vampires, wizards and weirdos in popular fiction doesn’t get a book sold. As an author friend of mine once said, “What people like to read and purchase is a very democratic process.” Thus one needs to market.

As a writer you market the book and hope there is an audience out there. All of this requires money – yes money. So short of buttonholing people on the street in front of every local bar or grocery store and pleading, “Pleeease, buy my book!” you try different things that might produce results. Social media can be a gift in this way, but it costs too. Wearing a sandwich board down by Paul Bunyan might work, but how desperate is that?

I have googled my name on several occasions and note seven hits to the inquiry. One is a cardiovascular surgeon. It’s a good thing I’m not one too. Think of all the confusion that would bring! Of course there is the money.

Sometimes I write because I have to; not for the cash but because my head is full of stuff that jams up an already crowded landscape. I am old enough now that I don’t have to sell books. . . No, I get to. And that’s fun. Don’t look however for instructions on which scalpel to use.

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