Whether you’ve written a book or a screenplay, both novelists and screenwriters face a common dilemma once their project is complete. How do you get your work of art into the hands of other people? Having people in your inner circle tell you it’s great is one thing, but wide spread distribution beyond your dog is truly the key to getting your project seen and money in your pocket.
Too often, writers hope that their story will magically find its audience as if our world is as mythical as the one they’ve created. Without a marketing strategy in place, your project won’t be seen. Allow me to shine a light on two of the most common myths and truths of sharing your project with the world.
Myth: I’m a “creative.” I don’t have to worry about the business stuff; someone else will do that.
Reality: Today, even the most successful writer who has money to spend on publicists, needs to market. If you’re in the early stages of your career — or if your career hasn’t sprouted wings yet, this is even more so the case. Your publicist might get the word out about your book or movie, but audiences still want to connect with you as a person. Let’s face it, you can’t turn out a new book or film every month for years to come, but there has to be a reason for your audience to stay interested in what you’re doing. Like it or not, your “creative” business is still just that…a business.
Myth: My work has won awards and accolades…I’ve made it.
Reality: Even if your movie is slated to be screened at Sundance or your novel appears on a Goodreads’ reader poll for best first novel, imagine all the people who weren’t at that screening or missed that one special list? As time goes on, your moment in the sun shines a little less brightly. There were other films at Sundance and perhaps those filmmakers hired publicists to ensure that the right film distributors attended the screenings. As for the Goodreads’ list, other novelists climbed to the top. Unless you continue to publicize your book, it will slowly slide from the top spot. The unfortunate truth is that the best work doesn’t always stay on top.
Often times, the most publicized work is the one that garners the attention. I don’t like this any more than you do, but if you are aware of this fact, you can do the three things that assure your success: 1. write the best screenplay or novel the world has ever seen; 2. assemble a team of people who will market that project; and 3., which is key…you must lead your team to ensure that your work and you as an artist become better known, which is ultimately what will lead to your success.