Wednesday, December 14, 2011
Daniel Audet onThe Biz-ness of Writing.
An obvious point, you say? Sure. But, you’d be more than surprised at how many talented writers and authors have a child-like idealistic perspective of the industry (including myself).
You, me, we - need to understand that your writing is a product and a commodity. It’s something you are trying to sell to others in the industry who will be trying to sell your work and you, to bookstores, reviewers and readers.
Let’s look at what that means for us as writers struggling and working our way up the food chain in the publishing industry.
First - take an informal inventory:
You’re an imaginative determined person fighting for time to write. Check.
You have your website or blogsite or eCommerce site. Check.
You’re active on Twitter, Facebook and other social sites. Check.
You follow writing guru blogs. Check.
You have a pile of the best “How-To” books beside you. Check.
You go to book fairs and signings. Check.
People tell you the writing is worthy of publication. Check.
You’ve sent queries and manuscripts. Check.
Hopefully, like any other endeavor wherein MONEY and LABOR are vital parts of the equation, you’ve taken a proactive approach to studying the business of publishing.
For me, when I look at the big picture of this industry I know instinctively that the major players are (sorry dude) NOT writers, (unless you‘re Steven Gore or James Patterson or David Baldacci ). We’re talking about big business and ALL that that implies. Take a long hard look at the industry and try to separate yourself emotionally from the overall insight of how it works. Examine the working elements. Put your ego, attitude and feelings in your back pocket. Look at it from the top down. Publishers, editors, reviewers and industry publications all play an important role in selling a book. (Did I mention how much I LOVE editors?)
Like any industry, labor is a baseline factor, an essential one for sure, but if you can gain the perspective of the players involved who are trying to survive in a fast paced, extremely competitive marketplace and where and how they do their thing then you’ll better understand where and how you fit in as an author - aka LABOR.
It isn’t just a fight for book sales it’s a fight for dollars, in general.
Study trends like eBooks. Know the difference between online publishing, self-publishing, the large publishing houses and their divisions. Follow bloggers and columnists who write about this stuff. Read up on writers, writers websites, authors who sell lots of books and those who write about them.
Follow links out, look up names of industry leaders and companies involved.
Find the time. You’re a student, not just a writing student either. And, it isn’t just a matter of trying to hook up with people who can help you. The object is to bring your A-game and find partners.
My life has changed so much in the last 3 years, it’s crazy. As I fine tune my schedule and direct more focus and energy towards becoming a break out novelist I look back at how I spent my time and energy and I laugh. I know I could’ve never had any hope of making it to the bestseller list spending only a few hours a week writing, networking and mapping out the industry. I studied, still do, other writers and the industry as a whole and learned that professional means just that - professional. I used to spend more time telling people I was a writer than actually writing. Now I spend, at a minimum, 4 to 6 hours a day writing. Most days it’s more like 8 to10 or more hours a day between writing, reading, networking and studying.
Finally, let me tell you something critical I’ve learned the hard way:
I’ll know I’m there when someone else tells me I’m there.
What? When is that?
When my short stories win or make it into the finals of competitions, when I get mentions from my peers in their columns and blogs, when people contact me about my work (which they are beginning to do) looking to help with editing or referring me to an agent, AND when my first manuscript is finally tweaked, edited and ready to rock-n-roll and someone is waiting to look it over, when someone buys me lunch to talk a book deal over, and, when people start buying my book. That‘s when.
Don’t think that all you have to do is get the book into an agents hands, go pick out a new Escalade, and then start writing the sequel. You need to know what a good agent is supposed to do and what they’ll expect of you too.
What does an agent do once he or she has a good prospect? Do you know?
What happens next?
Find out, this is what I’m saying.
You’ll realize that the more you understand about every aspect of the ‘bizz-ness of writing’ as you careen down ‘the writers road’ to the best seller list, that knowledge will make you a better driver and a better writer.
If a published author or industry notable chooses to take an interest in you, consider yourself blessed.
And, face the fact that you WILL need a good editor, first a line editor then an overall concept and structure editor. Like I've said, save your money for a really good one.
Stay tuned writers….
I agree with Daniel on a number of points. The bottom line is, being a writer is a life choice, not a get rich quick scheme and certainly not a ticket to getting your own reality show. It takes an insane amount of hard work and a dedication to always improving your craft. Unfortunately, more often than not, it also involves getting your ass handed to you more times than you can count. Paying your dues. That's what the old timers used to call it and the truth of what they believed still holds today. Thanks for stopping by Daniel and we look forward to seeing your novel on a shelf real soon.
Daniel Audet Author Bio:
Writer, blogger and radio show host.
At the age of 15 I ran away from home, near Fort Lauderdale, Florida, and, in the tough years that followed I aspired to become a professional athlete in 3 different major sports, nearly making it until sidelined by serious foot and hand injuries. Ending up in LA as a model and an actor I’ve worked in over 30 films and 15 commercials, most recently doing a bit as a limo driver in an episode of “Burn Notice”.
A sports & travel gear designer for a major sports action company in the 80′s and early 90′s, I got to travel the world, (something I intend to resume soon).
Nature called so I became a tree doctor for most of the 90′s and early 2000′s. Gigs as a waiter, a lifeguard, a bodyguard and a truck driver filled in some of the “lost years”. A writer by genetics, I’ve always written stories, poems and song lyrics since I was a kid, having found limited success in all 3 fields. Country music is a passion of mine and hopefully I will be spending more time in the Nashville music scene, maybe even getting song credit for work I’ve done that made it to country radio, and finding honest writing partners so I can get more songs on the radio with my name on them.
I made the choice to seriously and completely dedicate myself to fiction writing a few years ago, that is, to learn the craft and art of writing and storytelling. Without having any idea if I really “had the goods” or the capacity to compete in the big leagues I began my journey down the writers road.
So far, so good.
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Posted by Griffin Hayes at 9:23 AM