I have written and talked about the need to focus on whatever you choose to do in life. This was true in my computer career, and it is true now as a writer. Unfortunately, with today’s world of infinite input, it is often easy to get sidetracked.
Take, for instance, our podcasts. Ideally, when I took a break from my books, I should have been focusing on reading those books I had neglected, or possibly even something radical, like spending more time with God. Instead, I allowed myself to get sidetracked in the hopes of generating more book sales.
I looked around and saw other creators using all sorts of social media from YouTube to podcasts to Instagram to get the word out. At first, I thought this idea might make sense because being an author is a lot about connecting with your reader.
We churned out over forty shows for those that kept up with us and expanded our channel into just about every podcast market on the map. If I wanted to be a podcaster, this was a good trajectory. However, I am an author, not a podcaster. So, once I started to write again, I found the podcast getting in the way of my writing.
This was when I realized how much focus I had lost. I also took stock of what I had accomplished. Book sales indeed started to move. However, I had spent so much time and money on my efforts that there was no way I would recoup that money. Worse, I really needed the money for the editing fees for my new book.
What have I learned? I went back and looked over what many successful authors have said about their first popular book. At the end of the day, it is about the right audience to find you. None of the top authors found their readers through ads, podcasts, or the like. Most said their books sat on the shelves for two years, or more, before being discovered.
Despite the hype around “new media” and the internet in general, take it from an old computer guy. You cannot beat the system. Please save your money and spend it on your editors and cover designers. You will go broke trying to make a ruckus in a ruckus filled world. Instead, believe in your work and push forward with your books.
If you are in a different medium, this rule still applies. Focus on your craft. Yes, good tags, descriptions, etc. are important for all media; that is how you are found. However, paying someone to put you on the front page in front of thousands of people who may not care is not a good way for your audience to find you.
I hope this blog has encouraged you in some way. If you feel like you are not growing fast enough, remember to remain focused and not get discouraged. Take it from someone who was on the internet before HTML existed. People are aching for good content. When they find it, they will flock to it.