Editing My Writing Career

I have always struggled with telling people that I’m an author – that I write books for a living. Partly because I don’t really make a living from my books, I just hope I will… eventually. Partly because I don’t feel like I publish often enough to earn the title even though I try to write as often as possible. And partly because marketing books is freaking hard. Besides actually writing the books, marketing is the next biggest job in this field of work. And most of the time I hate it.


A few months ago I closed down my author social media accounts because I was so overwhelmed. No matter what marketing strategy I employed, no matter how many hours I spent trying to create content, or trying to please the algorithm gods, I was getting nowhere and connecting with no one.


I felt like a complete loser, a failure, doomed to be a no-name author that couldn’t even pay the smallest household bill with her book earnings. This only added to the negative mental mess over marketing on social media, which tends to be a negative space all on its own.

But I felt I had to be there, so I could stay on top of trends. When I decided to close my accounts, I knew it was the right thing for me to do at the time. I needed to disconnect. But there was also a large part of me that was afraid I was committing career suicide if I didn’t have a Facebook or Instagram account from which to market.


But surely, I thought, there are other ways to market besides social media? There must be. This was the only consoling thought I had as I clicked ‘delete account’. Of course, that obviously didn’t mean anything as all I had to do was log back in three months later and, ta-da, there everything was again, as though I’d never left.


Anyway, in the time I’ve been off social media, I’ve been doing a lot of thinking about my writing career. Running a ranch, and another business, on top of writing and marketing books is a lot. Over the past two years my focus, and the deep desire of my heart, is to have authentic, honest, soul-fulfilling community right here where I live. And honestly, I’ve been struggling to figure out how my books fit into that.


In the last three months I even considered throwing in the towel and giving up on writing and publishing books altogether and just focusing on the ranch and ranch business. But I believe writing is a gift God gave to me. It settles me and brings me peace. It’s a way for me to teach, encourage, share knowledge and wisdom, in a way that I just can’t do when speaking.

Sure, I could continue writing in my private journal, but would I be honoring God, who gave me this gift, if I just kept it contained to my journal? Somehow, I don’t think so. I’m also not entirely convinced that I would be happy and fulfilled with only writing in my journal.


As I pondered all these things, two things happened that took my thinking into a whole different direction. First, shortly after closing my accounts, I had someone reach out to me on my Ranch Instagram page who had also followed my author account. I’ve never met her in person, but we have a circle of mutual acquaintances. She told me about the Romance Writers Conference in Orem, Utah and suggested I apply to attend.


I told her I don’t write romance, but she insisted I should try anyway and just see what happens. I figured I couldn’t lose anything but a little bit of my time, so I reached out, explained that I wasn’t a romance writer, but had been urged to apply anyway, and hit send. I really didn’t think anything would come of it, and promptly forgot about it.


A few weeks ago, I received an email from one of the event organizers. They had not only accepted my application but had placed me on a panel with two other authors. I sent an immediate reply to make sure they understood that I was not a romance writer, certain this was a fluke, and as soon as they realized I didn’t write romance, would correct their error.

When they responded, they said they weren’t aware and thanked me for clarifying. BUT they still invited me to be part of the panel as it was going to be all about indie publishing and not focused on writing romance. I was shocked. Honored, but shocked. And of course I accepted.


Secondly, I was introduced to a new way of looking at marketing books. Until now, the only way I knew of to be a successful self-published author was to be on Amazon and IngramSpark, and to market your brains out on social media and Amazon. Oh, and publish multiple books, in multiple formats, every year, and have a newsletter that you send out at least once a month, and constantly have multiple ads running that you have to monitor daily. I simply could not and cannot do it all.


And my inability to do it all, and being presented with absolutely no other options, and then being told by social media influencers that you have to post daily, and create 3 reels a week or your account will never grow… Can you see why I was overwhelmed?


Children’s book author and artist Kate Fischer caught my attention with her story about self-publishing her first children’s book. Several years ago, I considered publishing a children’s book, but the cost to print a picture book in color was insane. No one would have bought the book at the price I would have had to set it at just to break even! So, I know what it takes to get a children’s book into print. But here was this woman, getting it done for a reasonable cost, and selling thousands of her children’s books at a reasonable price. And she’s not on Amazon.


I had to know what she was doing and reached out to talk to her. That hour long conversation gave me hope and a new direction. I’ve been doing a lot of thinking the past few days about this new direction and I’m getting excited to see where it goes.


It’s going to take a while, so don’t expect to see a lot of changes overnight. I intend on taking this slow, taking my time, setting boundaries, and figuring out what is and is not going to work for me.


What I do know, is I’m not giving up on my writing career. I am not going to be sucked into what other people say I HAVE to do to be successful in marketing my book. I also have no idea what I’m going to post on social media yet. I’ll be easing back into that slowly.

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