Being a creative used to be, for a time, about creating. These days, and I say this as a warning to you all, it is about 60% about being creative and doing the work.
The other 40% is… well let me break is down for you:
I spend about 3 to 5 hours a day “writing.” Used to be that was 3 to 5 hours a day actually writing. Now it’s more 3 hours writing and 2 hours working out PR ideas, answering emails, making phone calls, being my own business manager and PR person and ad agency and research dept. and…
No one will ever do this stuff for you without charging you far more than you can afford, and even then they will lack the personal touch that connects with people – so you do it yourself anyway. And you make it fun, as fun as possible. But seriously. You will be doing one hell of a lot that you might not expect to be doing at first.
Let that sink in. Seriously, start living with the idea that you will be doing your own PR, your own tracking, and so on. Realize what that means:
You want an ad campaign? Great! Who is going to design it? Maybe you have the skills, maybe not. If not – hire someone. Better to pay and do it right than do it so badly it looks like crap.
Do you want to send out review copies, or get interviews and be on podcasts? Of course you do. So start looking at places that might be a good fit for your work and searching them and researching them for names and email addresses. Remember it is better to target than to shotgun and pray. Oh, it’s tempting to shotgun but you get better results with one well placed article than five smaller ones at places whose audience isn’t yours.
But you have to make these lists and update them and grow relationships with reviewers and sites. Of course, no matter how good you are in with a site or a reviewer you should never, not once never, expect a review. You are never owed anything just for showing up to the dance. And when the people you started to think of as friends give you a bad review, or just don’t bother to review you that one time – you’re still friends. They’re doing their job, just like you’re doing yours.
You are the first and last stop to get word out about your book. That isn’t an invitation to be a jerk about it, just know that you have to be a professional and learn a ton of new skills. It takes a while. That’s all right. Everyone understands.
Your best bet is to stop and consider what you want to do and them lay out the skills you’ll need to learn and triage them – which will you learn and which will you pay for? For years, to give you an example, I have been doing my own text logos for my site. I design the site and change it all the time so why not that as well. Recently I decided to pay for a professional logo, and worked with a designer to find a logo that will be able to withstand my normal changes and give me a better, more seamless, look for a bunch of things.
It cost a bit of money but it will save me time, enhance what I do and look far better. I should have done it years ago. But I was afraid that spending the money was a waste. It often isn’t, though it can be scary. Spending money, when you’re new to the game and don’t have much, is always scary. There are times it is 100% worth it, however.
So you try and you learn and you keep learning. As you go you’ll find you do less and less creative stuff because you have to get this other crap done, too. Then you’ll react to that and do less of the PR/Marketing and more creative stuff and the balance will swing.
Eventually, if you keep working at it, you’ll find a sweet spot where you have time for both, farm some out and learn to enjoy all of it.
So take stock of what you need to do, what you are doing, and what you want to and can learn. Then take a deep breath and start taking care of business. No one is going to leap in and do it for you.