There’s this thing called “selling out.” You don’t want to do that. You’re an artist. You have your passion, your story, your style, and you don’t want to sacrifice any of it. Nor should you.
But you want your work to sell.
This may seem like a catch-22, but it’s not. Assuming you’re ready, assuming your work is any good, there are people out there who will want to read it. Your job—the objective of marketing—is to find your people, to grow with your reader, and to respond to your fans.
1) Find Your People
Chances are if you wanted to write it and you write it well, then there are people out there who will want to read it. Those people may not edit or publish magazines. They may not edit or publish books. If so, that does make your job harder. But self-publication is always an alternative and now it’s even an affordable and (potentially) lucrative alternative. So, it doesn’t really matter what editors and publishers have to say.
The best strategy for finding people who will want to read what you’ve written is to:
- Offer some of your short work for free on a blog.
- Connect with other bloggers by finding blogs you feel connected to and inviting them to visit your blog.
- Leverage your following as a means to introduce readers to your saleable work.
If you do this right and have something to say that you can say well, then you’ll get at least a half dozen “strangers” who are interested in your writing career. Granted, that’s not a lot (you could get quite a few more than that, but a half dozen is enough), but that’ okay because it’s just a start.
2) Grow with Your Readers
Even if you only start with the half dozen minimum people, that’s enough to grow with. The idea here is two-fold:
- You want to increase the number of readers you have by seducing your core into inviting more.
- You want to increase your ability to please your readers by leveraging the feedback of a living audience to improve your craft.
Over time, you’ll get more readers and even more ways to attract more readers.
3) Respond to Your Fans
The great thing about fans is that they will tell you what they like about your work, which gives you the opportunity to give them more of what they like. That’s not selling out, it’s being responsive. The difference may seem subtle, but it’s really, really huge.
Respond to your readers. Let them help you grow into your market. You can stay true to everything that makes you an artist while actually selling your work. Before you know it, you’ll have your own “masses” that will become the backbone of your writing career.