Write First, Market Never

We Are All Weird

Marketing comes last, music comes first.

I’m about to go to sleep but have to put this here now or it’ll slip by.

That’s why so many writers are going nowhere.

Don’t just write anything.

Write the best goddammed thing.

As Lefsetz points out with music:

You have to be remarkable. Not good, not better than the people on the radio, but remarkable, which Seth Godin defines as being worthy of being talked about.

Too many writers think, “I’ve got this story. I’ll write it and sell it.”

Whoa. Wait.

Is it a story that’s so goddammed distinctive that it will make people talk about it and recommend it?

In fact, the story could be the same old thing we’ve read a jillion times.

What makes it distinctive is you, your voice, your style. You.

That’s why people talk about Ken Bruen’s writing. Or Derek Raymond’s writing. And still talk about Raymond Chandler’s writing.

It’s not story.

Every mystery has a puzzle, problems, and a resolution of some sort.

It’s the telling of it that makes it stand out.

Think back to when you suffered in school.

How many of those teachers made you hate learning? They couldn’t connect with you, they couldn’t show you why the subject mattered to your future.

Then there were those few teachers who could take a subject you had absolutely no interest in, had been alienated from by past teachers but — BAM! — you wound up not just paying attention, but learning how to think too.

That is what you have to aim for.

You, as the writer, are now on the spot just like all of your teachers once were.

Are you going to be one of the dull teachers who get forgotten, who make people hate reading?

Or will you be that one who brings something special to it and gets your readers all excited?

Think about that.

Write first.

Marketing comes last.

And if you’re that good, you won’t need marketing.

All of your readers will do that for you.


Filed under Writers, Writing

3 responses to “Write First, Market Never

  1. A brilliant post. It’s what writing is all about: the connection between one unique personality and another, writer and reader.

    On the other hand, we could heed the opinions of an ass like this.

    • mikecane

      Adin and I have had a few disagreements, more lately, but that one is a real surprise. I wonder what sludge he reads that he thinks books have become that?

      • It’s a old meme of his:


        What’s really funny about him is the fact that many of his posts contain grammatical howlers, yet he imagines himself some sort of eminence gris at MobileRead. He can’t be getting much work; he seems to spend most of his time online. Hence all the whinging about the necessity of editors :-)

        In my dealings with them, I haven’t been very impressed. Publishers regard editors, like authors, paperclips and the coffee machine, as just another regrettable expense.

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