It’s not what you know…

…and other such worn out clich├ęs, but it is true. From the first time that I put pen to paper (metaphorically; this is the 21st century…) I was going to enjoy writing. There was no feeling like seeing stories take shape, characters develop and grow, and of course that euphoric feeling when I held one of my books in my hands for the first time. However there was always a nagging question at the back of my mind. No matter how I tried to ignore it or put it off, it was always there; ready to derail my creative side and forever cause a heavy weight to dangle around my neck, which would be the story of how I would’ve been successful if it wasn’t for that one reason…

What comes next?

I always knew that writing the books was the easy part. This was the comfort zone and no mistake. The desert with the raging sandstorm outside of this zone was how to go about letting people know about the existence of my wares and how much they should like force money into my hand in order to own a slice.

The main problem is that I have never mastered the skill of selling myself, or the things I produce. I have never been a salesperson, and I have always maintained a healthy level of cynicism which really doesn’t help. Although through the aid of motivational Ted talks and the ability to keep a reasonably open mind, I am starting to learn how to advise my cynical side that it’s days are numbered and that I am planning to replace it’s tenancy in my mind with a new resident – entrepreneurial-ship.

I am starting to like this new side, the side that believes I can do something worthwhile and interesting, and that I can make a difference. (It’s at this point where my virtual audience will start to split down the middle – those still on the cynical side, here’s a leaf out of my book.) But then, as someone who has always shied away from sales and marketing, knowing where to start was going to be a difficult one.

That’s when something incredible happened – a good friend of the family approached me after speaking to my father and offered his services. The person in question worked his way up the ranks of a prestigious British/German company, past Director of Sales and Marketing, and onto CEO. I was stunned to say the least.

How had I not thought of this myself? Maybe I was worried that he would not have the time or motivation to undertake this gargantuan task. But then I didn’t even ask, so I wouldn’t have known anyway. I wonder how much further along the process I would be if I’d only summoned up the guts to inquire earlier? He is now helping with marketing, he knows a printer-slash-publisher, has contacts that are happy to read and critique my books, and do everything to help me get on my feet with this business. I am and always will be eternally grateful to this person.

But this is only one or two degrees from that old six-degrees-of-separation theory. It also makes me wonder who else I know who would be able to be an invaluable resource as I pick up the multiple skills required to be more than just a writer, and indeed everyone else who is just starting out on this journey…