Writing is a profession, a business as much as an art, and if I’d known that back in 1985 when I wrote and sold my first essay about the Ozarks, I might not be a writer today. I didn’t know I was starting a business.
Eventually I learned that, while the creativity and art may come first–if you want to make it, writing words the public, and not just you, your family, and perhaps your high school English teacher will see–there is much more to it, especially if you are talking about publishing a book.
Through what I call practice and process, a successful writer creates, not just an artistic product, but a saleable one, made to fit the market. During this phase in a writing career, we practice writing, over and over. We look at our product, and process it, not just with a creative mind, but with analytical intelligence and reason, and answer the question, “What does this product offer the reading public? Something of value?”
If the answer is yes, then it’s time to sell ourselves as well as our product. And that’s the hard part, not back-breaking work, but sometimes heart-breaking, because it frequently takes a long time to get noticed as a writer. There are thousands of people out there who write well and want to sell their writing, or at least share it publicly. Many today are choosing to publish their own work as an e-book, and that’s a satisfying outcome for some. It is demanding, business-wise, however. You have to learn the ropes, understand the financial arrangements, know how to format your work for readers on Nook, Kindle, i-phones, and much more. And you have to keep records. But then, any writer has to do that.
The writing business includes detailed record-keeping. True, if you connect to a traditional publisher, they handle some of this for you, as well as much of the sales effort. But you still have to keep records of your work schedule, and of any business-related travel or study. (The IRS will ask for this if you are ever audited.) Do you stock and sell your books for events when the venue hosting you demands this? This requires more record-keeping. Know how to print invoices if you take your books to a signing or leave them on consignment. Keep records of where each book goes.
Keep records of income–from book sales, and from talks or teaching. Of course books cost you something, so, in the end, you deduct all related expenses from the price you got for each book.
Another aspect of the business is promotion. Again, your publisher may help you with this, but many writers hire a publicist to arrange events such as radio and television appearances and bookstore signings. Otherwise, making these arrangements is all done “in-house.” In other words, by you.
And there’s Internet promotion: A web site to maintain, blog-writing, various social networks to keep up with.
I think you begin to get the picture. Reading words you have put in an order that pleases you, and seeing what wonderful ideas they can express and share is a glorious thing and a wonder. Just remember, though being a creative artist is primary, you are also running a small business. Today, these two facets of a writer’s life must go hand-in-hand.
Learn more at http://www.RadinesBooks.com