I’ve been thinking a lot about control. As a writer, you sculpt a world from scratch, populate it with people, with stories, and control them all. From the geography to the folklore, the smallest details to the largest plots. It’s in your hands.
In that sense, as a writer, you become a ‘little god’.
But in publishing–that business side of the art, your control dissolves.
You don’t control whether the book sells.
You don’t control the marketing budget if he does.
You don’t control the publisher’s investment.
You don’t control your place in-house.
You don’t control the sales plan.
You don’t control the cover art.
You don’t control the jacket copy.
You don’t control how the book is portrayed, publicized, given, sold to the world.
You don’t control anything.
Or at least, it can feel that way.
Because, of course, you still control one thing.
The content between the front cover and the back.
In the cyclone of publishing, it’s easy to forget how important that is. Easy to feel like the words don’t matter as much as a six-figure marketing campaign, a national tour, a lead title push.
They can feel like big gods.
It can be terrifying, if you let it.
(Sometimes I let it.)
But it can also be freeing, if you let it.
Because marketing is fickle. Publishers are fickle. The industry is fickle. And in that cyclone, the solid ground–the only patch of solid ground–is the story you want to tell. Your words on the page.
Yes, marketing matters.
Yes, a good cover helps.
Yes, you’re fighting an uphill battle to be seen, to be heard, to be read.
The single greatest thing you can do–the only thing you can do–is write.
The big gods will throw around money and mountains, but the little gods with their delicate sculptures, those are the ones that matter. Those are the ones that last.
Pick up your pen.
Tune out the noise.
Focus on the thing in your control.