Thursday, June 01, 2006

The BUSINESS of writing...

For most writers, the writing is the easy part. Even if we hit a stumbling block, we just can’t seem to not write. If we’re blocked with one story, we might move on to another one or skip a scene and keep going or dump everything and start over. Then comes the “scary” part – the BUSINESS of writing.

Getting an agent, signing a contract, getting edits, being under a deadline…those things terrify some of us! What IS the business of writing? Well, IMO (as an unpublished writer), the Business of writing is just that – business. It’s looking at the bottom line (meeting editor/publisher needs), meeting (or exceeding) expectations (having the editor be thrilled about YOUR story), conferring with others to make sure you’re all on the same page (getting your line edits), turning in a prospectus or action item list (returning the edited pages), following through to make sure everyone has done what they said they’d do in order to get to the finished product (keeping yourself on track with edits in order to meet the editor’s deadline, getting the proofs and the cover flats and finally the ARCS)…in this case, a book.

A real live, in your hand, on the shelf, printed book. A copy of your work there in the hands of Suzy Somebody in Somewhere USA – and if you’re really lucky – Somewhere Europe or Asia or elsewhere in the world.

The “business” of writing goes deeper than that, though. It also includes promotion…as a first-time author, you’re usually responsible for a lot of your own promotion. Given the fact that most authors are introverts, sometimes this is the hard part for us. BUT…there are ways around that introversion. *ahem* Having a blog or a website (inserting shameless plug here - ) are two ways around that.

Getting involved in writing groups where you can share your successes and promote your work is another way to get that going. Bookmarks – most authors have bookmarks with either their current or “upcoming” releases on them. Postcards – sending out a postcard to everyone you’ve ever met to ask them to buy your book. Word of mouth – having someone who “loves, loves, loves” your book tell everyone they know to buy it is a good way around that introversion as well.

If your books really take off, and you become a household name (Nora Roberts, Sherrilyn Kenyon, Mary Balogh, Jo Beverly, Connie Brockway), then you can sit back and know that people who have purchased one or more of your past works will always pick up a copy of your new book – even if it’s a departure for you – a foray into something they didn’t know you were thinking of doing, they’ll give you a shot just because they KNOW your name and they LIKE the way you tell a story. That’s when the business of writing becomes more of a pleasure. When you can sit back and know that someone is going to buy your book just because it has your name on it.

I can’t wait for that day…

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