I'm an annoyed bunny. I've been an annoyed bunny a lot lately.
Since I don't like to post "annoyed" posts … I've been quiet. Too quiet, perhaps.
Everyone who reads this blog knows that I have played with web design for years. Nothing makes me happier than working with a writer and seeing them gain success with their social media and website marketing. I love reading emails that say, "I just looked at my statistics -- oh, wow!" And yes, even better is when we see sales follow that trend!
For a number of years, I've been puttering around, teaching writers how to set up their own sites, watching the growth, enjoying the ride. There are some simple things I teach. Let's sum them up with: follow the rules, don't stress out, and enjoy the process. That's a much over-simplified version, but it is sufficient for this post. Really, maintaining a website is NOT beyond the average writer.
But there are a lot of people out there telling writers that this is all just TOO hard for them.
Over the weekend, I read a post by someone who wanted to teach authors to violate one of my favorite rules, because it was just "too hard" for indie-authors to do it right. Following the rules was for authors with a big marketing budget. I choked. I started to reply, but the author's website had such a bad commenting system, I couldn't leave a comment from my mobile phone. (Someone is sure to notice that my website is not optimized for mobile either -- never fear, I'm working on that.) And of course, her blog was not on her website. And her website had a landing page. A landing page with no words on it. For an author? (No, her website was not the first result for her name in a Google search, I had to really look for it.)
But -- and here's what annoyed me -- she's making more money with her writing than I am. Well, she says she is, at least.
The thing she was saying was too hard? Takes about 5 minutes to do. So authors should jeopardize their marketing platform rather than spend 5 minutes setting it up right. And authors pay these folks to advise them.
Want to learn how to set up a blog? Google "How to set up a WordPress blog" -- there are even video tutorials. Good ones. By real experts.
I am not opposed to selling to writers. I am opposed to making money selling useless services and time-wasters to writers. I'm opposed to telling writers that technical stuff is just "too hard" for them. And I'm REALLY annoyed because a lot of writers believe this noise, because these folks are a lot louder than those of us who are quietly saying, "huh????"
I once had a marketing executive tell me that my problem was that I was trying to sell books. If I would just stop writing and start teaching people how to write, I'd make money. The sad thing was, he was right.
There are people who make a living selling bad advice.
If you want good advice, go with someone who knows how to write and sell books.
I was invited to start a fuss on the blog in question, and I have declined. I don't have time to fuss and it isn't my business to point out that this specific individual does not know what they are talking about. That's just not my way. Besides, that would only fuel their success. (If you are bored, follow that link and read the rest of a classic article, the best in the business on how to blog.) You'll notice that I have not given you enough details to track down the blog in question.
But I will say this:
Just because you are an indie-writer does not mean that you should be stupid with your marketing. Plan for success. Plan to succeed! Make sure you have a social media platform that will handle your success when it comes. Consolidate your tribe to your very own website, and then don't forget to write. You know -- actual books, not just blog posts and articles about writing. Write books. Good ones.
I heard a lecture a few weeks ago about how all writers should become experts and then market themselves AS experts in order to increase the sales of their books. Y'know? That works.
But it doesn't work for me … not for my heart.
What I've learned from this experience is that I need to be more selective of how I spend my time. I need to spend less time listening to experts and more time writing.
And I need to check the dosage on my blood pressure medicine.
What does success look like for you? Is it making money doing whatever you have to do to make it? Or is it in producing a quality product that you can be proud of -- even if that book doesn't hit the best-seller lists?