Main St Media 7.31.23

How your day job can fuel your passion project

By John Houle

My novel, The King-Makers of Providence, has exceeded my expectations in sales and even more importantly to me, overall support from clients, friends and the community.

In addition to the support, I could not have written the book without my day job. The reality is that my marketing-communications company, Main St. Media & JH Communications, provides me the opportunity to pursue my dream project of writing political thrillers. And I don’t just mean all the flyers, social media posts, websites and videos my agency has developed for King-Makers.

My clients have enabled me to write. But, I write for them first. Press releases, scripts, proposals and marketing plans filled with strategic initiatives rather than fictitious characters always take precedence during the day.

When I find myself with some free time between youth sports and evening networking events, or on weekends or early mornings, I retreat to that space that allows me to fully express my creativity, something I find both therapeutic and exhilarating.

But it’s not just the writing that brings a great thrill to a writer. It’s also the feedback. When you meet a complete stranger and they talk to you about your characters, or you learn that the book is on hold with eight people waiting to read it at your local library, you’re simply motivated to keep writing.

At the same time you soon learn that writing is only one aspect of publishing a book. You have to be constantly out promoting, and along the way you will eat your share of humble pie when only a handful of people show up to an event. But you treat them like they’re the most important people in your world, because they’re your readers.

What I’ve learned is that if you want to make it as a novelist, and pretty much this holds true in most endeavors, you have to be constantly out there. You can’t take any event for granted, and you need to continuously send out invites, post on social media, and make that good old-fashioned ‘ask.’ In fact, you need to do all these things numerous times.

When I first entered the marketing-communications field nearly 30 years ago, the rule was 7 touches for a message to resonate. Today in our over saturated media world, it’s more like 12-14 touches. That means more posts, more emails, and more videos for your message to sink in each time.

This is what I’ve learned being in the field for three decades. Thankfully I have my day job.

John Houle is the president of JH Communications | Main St. Media and can be reached at [email protected].