On Saturday I joined 8 other writers who work with Beaver’s Pond Press (my publishing company) and attended a sales and marketing seminar presented by Roxane Battle. Battle is a national speaker and had worked in the Twin Cities as a news reporter at a local TV station. In 2016 she self-published a book, Pockets of Joy with Beaver’s Pond Press. She has been a role model for me as she self-published and then got picked up by a publishing house to sell her book. It is my goal to pick up an agent and publisher once my work is self-published and the market acceptance manifests.
I have over forty years of sales and marketing schooling and life experience. I have had two careers in sales and marketing, one with Cargill, Incorporated, and one as the general manager of my own Information Technology consulting firm. I was an adjunct marketing professor at St. Thomas University School of Business teaching at the graduate level.
A person may wonder, why would a person with forty years of sales and marketing experience and who has taught the course go to a sales and marketing seminar?
The answer is simple. I believe learning is a life-long adventure, and as the world and technology changes, so does the sales and marketing world. I attended to see what’s the same, what’s different, what am I doing right, and what else should I be doing? What should I stop doing. I am a firm believer that learning takes place everywhere, all the time.
When I embarked on this self-publishing journey with Beaver’s Pond Press, I considered it an investment in my education in writing. Some refer to advanced degrees in writing as an MFA-Master of Fine Arts. I also considered my personal journey an advanced degree in the business of writing-an MBA-Masters of Business Administration. The writing career involves both writing—the work of writing—and the sales and marketing of writing—the business. I have said before that the money I am investing in my first published book is going towards understanding the entire writing process—my MBA.
Most writers write because they love the written word. They love to write.
The elephant in the room of writers that have their first book printed is how do you sell all those lovely books? This is especially true for self-published authors, but the same holds true for new authors who have an agent and publishing house. The same, but different.
I have learned an incredible amount these past two years. This has been my job since the beginning of 2017. I would not say I am working full time at this career. Life—and death—get in the way. This career is also mentally draining and can be exhausting. The discipline to write is a constant energy drain. It is hard work. It is complex. It is like dieting: in the morning, or late at night I vow I will stick to the plan, stay true to my goals, meet my objectives. Then mid-morning arrives and emails, distractions happen. 12 noon approaches, and resolve dissolves. Five o’clock happens and I wonder where the day (and the plate of cookies) went. I continue to stare at a blank page.
I wonder what Hemmingway must have gone through, with so many expectations on his shoulders, and so many whiskey shots hollering for his attention. I don’t have near the weight of expectations, certainly not from others. My pressure comes from within.
Writing and sales. One does not exist without the other. You need writing to sell, you need sales to write. Unless you write for your own moral and inner well-being. But for me, I need to write to make ends meet. To measure my success. I write for myself and my measurement of success is financial.