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.”
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.
Marketing comes last.
And if you’re that good, you won’t need marketing.
All of your readers will do that for you.