By far the most challenging aspect of being a ‘creative’ is trying to convince others that your creativity is worth purchasing. For me this amounts to writing and art.
I’ve never been overly bothered about selling art. It’s something that I do that I enjoy enormously and feel privileged and honoured when somebody requests a print.
With my writing I’m always looking to the market.
Currently I write and self-publish via Amazon’s CreateSpace. I’ve used Lulu but was less comfortable with it. The book’s quality was fine but I found the process irritating.
The books that I create are children’s books with a few (picture books) aimed at 0 – 4 years and a couple aimed at 5+ in the form of early chapter books.
I’ve always found it a challenge promoting my work without coming over as a one track broken record. Truth be told I’m not very good at it and not at all interested in the process. A large part of me wants to simply enjoy writing and then push my work to an established market. The process right now is of course very different in that I write without a market and once complete have to go in search of it.
A publisher would solve this, but attracting a publisher is painful. I’ll not give up on it but if my stress levels are already high then the process of obtaining a publisher is pretty much going to have me blow a fuse.
The perfect scenario would be to establish something of a pipeline from initial idea to marketplace such that the entire process is enjoyable.
So how do you develop a market? How do you break into an established market?
Yes, these are the questions we all want answering. These are indeed the questions that nobody has clear answers to so they write books on the subject in order to become an authority. The best we can hope for is some insider knowledge, an educated heads up on the painful process of becoming recognised and earning money from our creativity.
Social media helps us enormously. It’s free to talk amongst your acquaintances and free to have them share your news.
But social media is crowded with people and noise and distraction. What on earth would make my creativity stand out against the plethora of cat videos and political infographics?
Social media intrigues me greatly. There is generally a shift in activity on Facebook depending on the season, current affairs, sporting events and the sense of national unity. But something that seems to be commonplace now is the consumption of visuals. Words work to a point but there’s nothing quite like a strong photograph or video to capture somebody’s interest.
Videos inparticular are powerful. Concise and relevant videos are incredibly powerful and are soon being shared amongst millions of unacquainted people.
So how is this relevant to somebody trying to sell their writing?
I took a step back and analysed social media a short while ago. It occurred to me that the way in which we consume information has changed enormously in the last 10 years. The way in which we communicate with our acquaintances and the way in which we discover and respond to news is entirely different to the methods used just 10 or 15 years ago.
Every activity is now encouraged to be a social affair.
Gaming has more of a multiplayer / social aspect to it now than it’s ever had. Web based social media platforms have become far more visual. Epitomised by the popularity of Pinterest and Tumblr but also reflected in the changes made to the two kings of the genre; Twitter and Facebook. Only last year Twitter allowed the posting of visual material without eating up any of your 140 character post limit.
But reading has changed very little by comparison. We view stories in much the same way as we have for centuries. Significantly, I suppose, we now read ‘on the go’ via Kindle and similar services but ultimately it’s the same process of turning the page and consuming the written word.
Long may that last!
But I’m looking at how to make a dent into a marketplace. How to create a marketplace that I can push my hard work into. It strikes me that there’s scope for how a writer presents their story and consequently there’s room for changing how we consume stories.
Enhanced digital presentation of stories is the obvious route. Furthermore it’s probably going to work best in the children’s market. Some form of interaction where the child is met with a sense of play as they read would no doubt be a winner. Of course there’s an enormous market focused on this but it’s an exciting concept and something that must present gaps to the creative minded writer / illustrator.
Taking a story in traditional format and continuing it online is something that I’ve often been intrigued by but there’s just one thing that prevents me from exploring it, and that’s the fact that I’d be selling a potentially incomplete item.
It’d be an assumption that the reader has consistent access to the internet. How might that affect somebody who wants to take their paperback on holiday and lie on a beach?
None the less that seems to be the exception rather than the rule. The idea of placing QR codes throughout a book still intrigues me. QR codes that link to an image or an animation. Maybe even a video. The possibilities appear limitless and I’m already thinking back to the Choose your own Adventures of my youth. The QR codes could lead to a randomiser which guides the reader along a different path in the story. Complex but achievable. The challenge would of course be in making sure it wasn’t an utterly messy experience.
It’d be something that may help my work to stand out from the crowd and possibly give me an edge in a competitive market.
This post, as I’m sure you’ve ascertained, is something of a brain dump. All feedback is welcomed.