Writing Business

Bringing the business into our writing

Books aren’t written — they’re rewritten. Including your own. It is one of the hardest things to accept, especially after the seventh rewrite hasn’t quite done it.”

Michael Crichton, author

As the sun streams through my window in the morning, it reminds me that outside is where I capture the most inspiration for my work. Sure, it is a little chilly in the early spring morning, but the dogwood trees are flowering, and the birds are singing their wake-up songs. I cannot help but smile in those moments of serenity. Words and phrases form in my mind that I quickly jot down to shape into something useful later.

For now, I am listening to Estelle Erasmus’s podcast, “Freelance Writing direct” and her conversation with literary agent Amy Collins. Within that conversation, Amy mentioned how writers do not always want to focus on the business side of writing. Yet she pointed out something interesting that writers should think about. Commenting on musicians, sports players and others who are in the arts or do something with their craft, will go beyond just making music or pitching a ball. They practice. They train. They continue to hone their skills.

She made a valid point because if writers have the desire to be successful, they must continue to hone their skills and invest in their craft.

But they also have to put in the work to market themselves and their books.

Yellow crocus

Marketing our writing

Writers often forget that if they desire to have people read their books, they must do something to get the information out there. Marketing our work is not easy. It is time consuming and can be mentally draining initially. But you cannot just “write it and people will come” if they don’t know you or your work. Like it or not, if you write for the public, you are in the “business” of writing.

What does marketing our work mean? Do we simply put our book on Facebook and hope people will see it, like it, and share it? That is not how it works. Unless you have over a million followers, which not many of us do.

The writers I know who are successful and tend to sell a lot of their books and nurture connections in the community are ones who do physical legwork. They attend book fairs. They participate in readings at the library and in their community. They take part in public speaking and other events that put them in front of other people. In other words, they do more than sit behind a desk and write all day.

Even if you sign with a traditional publisher, the reality is, everyone is making budget cuts. And those cuts often affect marketing. Which means you might not have the support writers once had in that area. So, it is a good idea to know how to market yourself. It also shows the publisher that you are a professional and you are willing to “get your hands dirty” and put in the work. This will help your publisher decide whether they want to work with you on future books.

The writers I know who are successful and tend to sell a lot of their books and nurture connections in the community are ones who do physical legwork.

Dogwood tree

Investing in our ourselves and our business

As a business owner, you need to invest in yourself and your business. How do we do that?

We get better as writers, not because we sit behind a desk all day and punch out words, but because we study our craft. We read. We network with other writers. We participate in critiques. We attend conferences or participate in workshops and classes to improve our writing.

Yes, all this requires time and money, so we do need to be reasonable with what we can afford in both areas. Education and training are good, but we can become so caught up in it that it pulls us away from our work and even drains our bank account if we are not careful. Be diligent and balanced. Figure out what you need and what you can afford and stick to your constraints.

I have heard other writers say: “I just want to write.” That would be great if you had another source of income, nor care if anyone reads your work. Writing is a lot of intense emotion, a sacrifice of time, a drain on our energy. Why would you put yourself through that to have your work sit on your computer to only ever be seen by your own eyes?

If you want other people to read your work, you must put in at least the same amount of time and effort to market it. That is an investment. It shows your readers and publisher you are serious about your work. This builds trust and a loyal following. They know you are going to stick around because you value your own work.

White daffodil

How we view our writing

Writing is more than just a craft. It is a business, and a competitive one at that. The market is saturated with publications that come and go as swiftly as the crisp spring breeze. AI, which can write a novel in a few hours by stealing someone else’s brilliant words, adds to the fierce competitive strain. You, as the genuine writer, have to face the competition and run the race.

And it is a race. You are fighting to rise above the noise to get your work in the public eye.

If you want other people to read your work, you must put in at least the same amount of time and effort to market it.

So, ask yourself: How much labor and late nights and emotional toil did you pour into your work? Don’t you think it deserves the extra effort to get it into the world?

If you value your writing, you will give it the attention it deserves.

Dogwood tree blossoms

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