The Business of Writing

As i sit here watching the morning news to see if we are going to get yet more rain — and we are — I find my mind wandering to the long list of things I need to do over the next few days. Most are all writing related but none are actually writing. They do have everything to do with the business of writing and it is this that so many of us forget about.

It’s easy to think that writing is just that — writing. And it is for those who aren’t interested in publishing their work. But for the rest of us, that writing of a project, whether it is a novel or a short story or a poem or a piece of non-fiction, is just that start. There is the editing and having beta readers look it over. There is the fact-checking for both fiction and non-fiction. Then there is deciding whether we are going to self-publish the piece or send it out to find an agent and/or a publisher. And both of those have a long list of things you have to do and keep on top of if you are going to make writing work as even a part-time business for you.

For me, as an indie author, my challenges are a bit different than those of an author trying to go traditional. I don’t have to keep track of professional markets. I don’t have to worry about finding an agent — and handing over 15% or more of what I make to them for the term of the contract, or for the life of the copyright. I don’t have to worry about crossing all the Ts and dotting all the Is to get my rights reverted when the time comes.

However, like a traditionally published author, I do have to worry about marketing and promotion. There are very few traditionally published authors who get any real push from their publishers. Instead, they are expected, by their publishers and agents alike, to spend time and money promoting their own work. Same as what indies have to do. Some of us do this through blogging or other forms of social media. There are promotion sites that, for a fee, will send their subscribers information about your book. You can take out ads on Facebook and even on Amazon. But there is no secret that works for everyone.

The only constant is that it is hard work.

But it is necessary.

Unfortunately, too many of us, yours truly included, would rather be writing than dealing with the more mundane business aspects of the profession. Due to some things happening in “real life”, I’ve let some of those aspects slip. One of those has been getting print books proofed and offered for sale. So yesterday was spent doing just that. Now I get to argue with the POD company over what they say are errors and I know they are not. That’s especially true with one file that has already been published. I did not change the cover for this particular project, only a few words of interior text. But last night I received an email telling me the cover file needed to be redone. Since I know they have already used that particular file, I will point that out to them and see what they say. On the other project file they say there is a problem with, well, I sort of expected it. So I will go back to it tomorrow probably and see if I can fix it. Once the print files are accepted, I will order hard copies of the ARCs (advanced reader copies). That is the best way to see if the cover really does work or if there is a problem with the interior pages.

Then there is having to enter my expenses as well as my income into the accounting program. As I said earlier, writing is a business and we have to look at it as such. Research materials, hardware and software used for writing can be written off. (Of course, that doesn’t mean the IRS will always agree.) But by doing this as you go, it makes filing taxes a lot easier when the time comes.

I also need to get back to a regular schedule when it comes to publishing. I now have three active series going on and each one of them need a book to come out in the very near future. Fortunately, I have the books plotted. It is just a matter of sitting down and writing them. Then there are several stand alone novels I want to write as well. Oh, and I do try to have a life outside of writing. So getting organized is important.

I guess the whole point of this is to remember that your writing is also your business. It sucks, at times, but that’s the truth of the matter. Now go write and, when you look up from your keyboard, think about how you are going to promote your work. How are you going to get word out pre-publication and how are you going to keep word-of-mouth going post-publication? What’s your schedule for getting your current work-in-progress done and out on the market and what is your next project?

3 responses to “The Business of Writing

  1. Pingback: Nocturnal Lives » A few thoughts

  2. Walter Daniels

    Well said.

  3. Good one. And with ‘Jenny’ coming out in the near future, I need to be taking all of this a bit more seriously.

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