If I had only known…


Welcome back to another blog hop, with #OpenBook. Here’s this week’s prompt.

Don’t forget to click the purple button to see what everyone else has to say on this week’s subject. It’s at the end of my post.


What is one thing that you wish you’d known about writing before you started?


That the actual writing would only be one part of the story, if you’ll pardon the expression. And that it was the easy part. I wish I’d known that the real work begins just when you think it should be finished. At the point when your masterpiece goes before the public.

I’m referring to the promotion and marketing of the story, a task for which I was completely unprepared. And several years later, I’m still learning the ropes.

I must admit, I never intended to spend more time on promotion than I did on writing. I never actually intended to spend any, I just wanted to write. Not that I was assuming my work would sell automatically. The idea of people buying what I had produced was not my objective, I just wanted to see if I could write and publish a novel.

In a way, I think the writing was more of a delayed reaction to the words of my English teachers, who had always told me (amongst other things) that I was incapable of stringing more than a couple of words together with any skill.

I had always assumed that they must have been right, after all, they were teachers and trained to know that sort of thing. And they’d told me enough times that I was stupid and useless, why would they if it wasn’t true? In my mid-fifties, I’d finally got the time to try and prove them wrong. There were ideas in my head, which seemed worth committing to paper.

It was only after I had published my second novel that I was persuaded to tell people about what I had done. Once I had seen that there were folk who would pay to read and would (in general) say nice things about my stories, I was at the thin end of a slippery slope.


There’s a whole new world in marketing, with its own language, conventions, and pitfalls. Learning it, especially when you don’t come from that sort of background, is daunting and takes valuable writing time away.

The biggest problem with marketing is that every book is different and what works for one author will not necessarily work for another. When things are not going well, it’s hard to know what to change, experimentation takes time and costs money and there are as many different opinions as there are books.


This is why I’d rather be writing, at least I know where I am with the voices in my head.


Until next time.




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16 Responses

    • Richard Dee

      I find the whole thing mystifying, which is why I stick to what I know and enjoy, actually crafting the stories.

    • Richard Dee

      It’s one nut, hidden in a bumper-sized bag of mixed nuts. You need to crack them all to find it.

  1. Kay Castaneda

    It’s good to read about other’s writing adventures. I thought the same way as you when I started out. I knew I would have to advertise but I had no idea about marketing. I absolutely hate it. It feels like a big weight on my back and takes the fun out of writing.

    Can you tell me more about this open book blog hop? Thanks!

    • Richard Dee

      The OpenBook bloghop is an informal collective, we get a list of prompts every couple of months from P.J.MacLayne and join in. I’m sure you’d be welcome to add your thoughts.

    • Richard Dee

      Sometimes, I wish I’d never started, I was so happy just writing for my own amusement.

  2. Daryl Devore

    There is not “learning the ropes” in book promotion because they keep changing the ropes. A new thing to learn or the new “MUST BE DOING THIS” every other week. So frustrating.
    Tweeted.

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