Whether you are a fiction author or you prefer to write sales copy or scripts for television, understanding the fundamentals of marketing will help your career as a writer.
Because the difference between a professional and an amateur- as we have explained elsewhere – is that professionals get paid.
And the thing about advertising is that if you want to get paid, advertising is how to make this happen in every single type of business you can think of. So, the truth is that most of your paid writing work pertains to advertising either directly or indirectly. Even fiction writing is related to advertising because advertising is mostly about education. What you’re doing when you advertise is teach people about what something does, why it’s valuable, and how to get it. And words are involved in most forms of this type of education.
When you understand that advertising is an educational process, you begin to see the many ways that as a professional you can’t afford to ignore the fundamentals. Not the least reason being is that most work opportunities for writers involve content development that is at least indirectly tied to advertising. As a writer in today’s day and age, if you’re not at least aware of how these two areas kind of touch on each other and how they can influence each other within a project, then you’re limiting your ability to not only provide work to clients they are happy to pay for – you are also limiting your own earning potential.
It’s a bit of a blind spot.
That being said you can be an amazing fiction writer without having to be an expert in advertising. You can craft fictional stories in any of the genres that are mostly about creativity and storytelling, and the only thing you’ll really need to know about advertising for that is how best to present your book to the audience you expect will be happy to pay for it. But that’s still one more example of how marketing fundamentals can influence your success as a professional writer.
Putting it all together. I would say there’s three takeaways that are important to consider.
Your Writing Is Only Worth What People Agree To Pay You For
You’re writing is worth whatever you’re wanting to charge for it that people are also willing to pay. That really is a factor of how much time it’s going to take you from the start of the project to the end of the project to deliver it to them to their satisfaction.
People Will Agree To Pay What You Say If You Are Competent At Managing Their Expectations
The key to getting people to pay what you feel is fair is to know why your rate is fair. There’s only one way to really learn what a fair rate is for the type of writing you do, and that’s by actually having some experience under your belt. You can get that experience simply by offering to do the work for people for free or even at a discounted price. But after you know how much work it will take, it will be easier to explain that what they are paying for is the time it takes you to complete the work. Either they respect and value your time, or they don’t.
Your Ability To Earn As A Writer Can Be Limited By Your Ignorance Of Advertising
Everything that requires any kind of education is tied to principles of advertising, and anything that you write to make money will be connected to these principles as well. In some way your writing is an attempt to try and persuade somebody about something. Even if you just want to persuade them to feel a certain way about a certain character, this too can be accomplished with a basic understanding of advertising. Besides, how are people going to find out about your book if you don’t advertise it?
If you want to be a successful fiction writer, you have to know how to properly present your book to the people that you want reading it. Or because you’re writing something in some way that is going to relate to the process of educating people on what you have and how to buy it and even why they want to.
All of that in some way touches advertising enough that while you don’t need to be an expert you shouldn’t be ignorant either. You should know the fundamentals. Every writer should understand the fundamentals of advertising simply so that way they can make money more reliably.
But you don’t have to. Many fiction writers don’t.
Many fiction writers also fail to be financially successful even if they are truly excellent writers with their own fanbase, many simply are not as successful as they’d like to be because they don’t understand advertising.