Friday, July 21, 2006

Business Management

Yeah...crazy as it sounds, artsy-fartsy types like us hafta dig in our heels and make the business of writing an important part of our daily lives. To do otherwise is career suicide.

Why is savvy thinkin' so critical? Well, consider the fact that there were almost 200,000 different titles published in 2005. The guys and gals who authored those books are your competition.

To succeed--and continue on the road of success--you have to understand readers, publishers, editors, booksellers and buyers, agents, royalty and advance rates, copyrights, and yourSELF.

Do you have what it takes to come up with salable ideas? If so, do you have what it takes to turn those ideas into salable manuscripts? Can you KEEP ON creating salable stuff for publishers by massaging editors with stories so fantastic that they not only trust you, but come to count on you for 'more of the same' as well?

You need a business email address. A web site. A blog...and if you're really savvy, a video blog (vlog). You need to belong to the 'right' writers' groups. Make smart alliances, because networking is important for a dozen different reasons. Get to know booksellers, so you can beg and plead, when your next book is about to hit the shelves, for some 'special handling'.

You need to consider writing a 'break-out book'. Sequels. Series books. Fiction and non-fiction. Teach some classes. Say 'yes' to some speaking engagements. Make yourself 'different', and do it now!

Will you write 'the book of your heart', or the book publishers are clammoring for? (Or will you figure out a way to combine the two?) Will you hire an agent? Change agencies? Work without a net?

I could go on (and on and on), but you get the point: There's waaaaaaaay more to being a multi-published author than writing books. Publishing companies don't have the budget any more to 'hawk' their authors. That's a job we have to do, ourselves. If we aren't willing to dive in, head first, and do the dirty-gritty-shameless self-promotional stuff, we'll end up one trick ponies.


If we're lucky.

(I can name a handful of writers who will ride those ponies to the grave, and be perfectly content with one, very old success. Not me! I don't have the personality to beat a dead horse, over and over, year after year. It'd make me feel like a complete and utter failure, cuz I'm the type who wants RECENT success...the more recent, the better. Why? Well, cuz it's affirmation--not just to my readers and students (that I really AM everything I claim to be), but to editors and publishers, as well. And THAT is what keeps my nose to the grindstone, year after year, series after series.

Sounds hard, doesn't it? Well, it's supposed to be hard. If it was easy, every numbskull would be doing it...and succeeding in your place.

If you haven't already written up a business plan, give it some thought. You'll be pleasantly surprised what a difference it'll make in your mindset...and your success.

So what're ya sittin' here reading for, when you could be writing Your Plan!

Until next time, stay safe and healthy!