Marketing your writing isn't hard, you're just lazy

Why the incurious and self-indulgent personality will always fail

Marketing your writing isn't hard, you're just lazy
Photo by Brett Jordan / Unsplash

If you want to get good at chess, you study chess.

Goes without saying, yes?

And it applies to anything.

If you want to get good at solving differential equations, you'd best study and practice solving differential equations.

Everything is like this.

If you want to get good at anything...

You study the rules, you study the practices and techniques used by the successful, and you practice it, over and over again.

That's the one and only "secret to success".

But not everyone agrees.

It feels like we live in a "cult of the amateur" sometimes. Where everyone wants to do what they "feel like"... win success anyway... and forget about doing the work to get there.

Imagine someone came to a master guitar teacher and said "I want to be a great guitar player, but I don't like how you have to practice all these chords"

Or a student came to a language teacher to learn Russian, only to say...

"I don't like having to learn this Cyrillic alphabet."

Any teacher would tell that person to get lost.

They're asking for the impossible.

But it's not just that this is an unreasonable demand.

It's a reflection of a certain personality type which is all too common now.

A person who is unwilling to learn, who is not curious, who won't take the first step to acquire a skill that would pay off dividends.

A person who lives in a narcissistic fantasy of self-indulgence.

If you want to get good at something, what you like doesn't matter

Your self-indulgent fantasies won't get you far.

What you think, believe, feel, desire, like, hate, or opine is totally irrelevant to the acquisition of a skill...

Much less achieving excellence.

The rules of a game, or a language, or a skilled trade, or any high-value skill...

They don't care what you like.

You learn the rules and learn how the game's played...

Or you get lost.

Now we've got internet forums and chat-rooms where the self-indulgent can commiserate together and tell each other it's all okay.

"I don't like all this marketing stuff."

That's okay. You don't have to do it.

Just realize that the problem isn't with the marketing.

It's with your attitudes about learning. Your beliefs about improvement. Your own child-like egotism, which prevents you from stepping out of your own selfish concerns.

Getting good at a skill isn't about what you like.

Marketing is its own game with its own rules, techniques, best practices, and successful personalities to study.

It only looks hard and weird and "pushy" because you haven't taken the time to understand what's going on.

Pick up a Dan Kennedy book. Read the Gary Halbert Letter. Get on Ben Settle's email list. Hop on Youtube and follow guys like Stefan Georgi and Justin Goff.

The information is out there for free or so near it that you have zero obstacles to a world-class marketing education.

No obstacle 'cept the one between your ears, that is.

You don't have to like it.

Your point of view is totally irrelevant.

When you want to learn the art, you own wishes and feelings come second.

To be blunt about it, the rules of human behavior are fascinating in their own right.

My own personal belief is that writers who can't or won't study how people behave don't  write interesting fiction, either.

If you aren't curious enough to at least study what makes people tick, then how good can your stories be?

Which might be your real marketing problem.

It's no coincidence that the best copywriters and marketers are fans of the written word. Not the big-deal MFA stuff that doesn't sell 100 copies... the popular books written for the plebes. The page-turners that people can't put down because they're fun and exciting.

Copywriters like Gene Schwartz, Gary Bencivenga, and Gary Halbert all studied language and popular culture.

They understood that marketing is storytelling and storytelling is marketing.

Let your brain cells spark on this for a minute.

The best marketers study fiction writers to get better at selling.

You think a fiction writer can't pick up a lesson in that?

The smart ones will. The ones with enough of a clue to see past the trees and notice there's a forest around here.

The lazy also-rans will continue complaining and wringing their hands. Anything to avoid taking action.

This won't be a popular opinion up here in the Age of Narcissism.

That makes it no less true.

Here's another unpopular opinion: How you do anything is how you do everything.

If you won't spend the time to learn and change your attitude about self-promotion, what kind of author are you? Are your stories going to be more unreadable self-indulgent drek that nobody wants to read?

If you want to get good, forget about what you like and do what works.

There are books. Courses. Successful people to study and model.

All it takes is curiosity and the barest spark of a will to get started.

If you want to get good, shut up about what you like and do what works

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