I spend more time on the mechanics of writing than I do the business.
“TW, I just want to write a book and let someone else do the business part, I am a ‘creative.'”
Can anyone of you tell me what is wrong with that statement? I bet many of you can, especially if you have followed me for any length of time.
Stories revolve around ideas. We all have ideas; when we can put them on paper in a way where others want to read them is where the rubber meets the road.
- Writing the story
- Editing the story
- Creating the tagline and logline
- Selling the story
If those four parts are not daunting enough, there are dozens of other steps you must take. The business of writing is not for the faint of heart.
The four generalized bullet points are the tip of the iceberg. Let’s say your strengths are story structure. Maybe you and Robert McKee were roommates in college. One of the things I see writers do is offer up their unique talent as a service to other writers.
If they are Save the Cat, Blake Snyder Credible, that service will not be cheap. If they are not, you might be wasting your money. Be advised this ‘business’ is rife with predators.
One of the aphorisms I live by is, ‘don’t quit your day job.’
I own a company that has little to do with writing. If it involved writing I would not have the passion for it that I do. Writing would be a job and not a hobby.
The trick will be if I reach my destination, how will I keep the passion as it will turn into a job.
Where do you draw the line between the business of writing and keeping it as a hobby?
My background is probably not one that you would find familiar in a crowd of people.
Currently, I am a forensic data miner. Those idiots that send out phishing scams and attempt to extort money from people, I go after them. Since my own site has been attacked, I chuckle when they try it; and then I begin to do my thing. Those people need to be held accountable.
So why write?
The business of writing is another puzzle.
What started as storytelling, was just the outside layer of the onion.
Like Metadata often leads me to my quarry, peeling the onion back, we find yet another layer. Sometimes it is like those Babushka dolls, instead of representing fertility it is more like the next waypoint toward my goal or destination.
If you start out with a ‘story,’ and your end goal is re-occurring revenue from a best-seller, you had best have a damned good GPS. The road is fraught with peril, thieves, misfortune and challenges. I have taken it on as I take on everything in life, as a puzzle.
Many, including me, have tried to shortcut the path by doing that which has already been done. When 50 shades hit the stores I ignored it. Not my cup of tea. I did the same with Vampire stories. As ELJames and Stephenie Meyer were making the big bucks, I could no longer afford to ignore them.
Writing similar stories of the erotic variety, while fun to write, ‘tell a story,’ they were no longer unique.
So, here is the advice part of this blog post.
Write that which you are passionate about. Don’t try and write the next Harry Potter, it has been done to death. Once you write your story, get into a writing group where they critique each other’s work. Make the story the best it can be and then you self-publish it.
Yes, save yourself the months of trying to capture an agent’s attention with your first story. Self-publish it and learn the rest of the business.
Mark Corker of Smashwords tells new authors that most will make about $10 the first year. Ouch! There is a harsh reality. I can craft a book a month; most people take years. While my stories sell, they do not sell with the alacrity that I would like them to have.
Having written over 24 million words in different novels, I have learned a few things.
Your first novel will probably suck; just like a vampire, it will suck big time. Let your sales be your guide.
Feedback from people who spent $3 on your book is invaluable if they are convincing and objective.
Once you face the harsh realities of this world, figure out where your strengths and weaknesses are.
My strengths are I have many ideas, and I write very fast. I love to solve puzzles, and am self-disciplined when it comes to sitting at the keyboard.
The puzzle aspect of this ‘business’ is I don’t have thin skin, and if someone tells me that something sucks, I can take the criticism and consider where the sucky part came from and fix it.
Currently, I am giving away a novel five thousand words at a time. If you follow me, you know it is science fiction. Why?
Once the novel is finished and I have received feedback, I will re-write it and self-publish on Smashwords and Amazon. Now, many I know would not do that. They think that one novel will be their life’s work.
Friends, you cannot be a one-trick pony in this business. I can write five thousand words with a glass of Merlot.
Short stories are a different story structure but an excellent way to improve your writing skills.
Currently, I am re-writing one of my novels‘ Voices from the Past.’
Not only can the story use some help but, the cover, like most of my covers, need help. There is a science to cover design I recently just learned. I am an artist so I designed them artistically. Lots of Expletives later I now have to go back and redo just about every stinking cover.
While my GPS missed a waypoint, I will continue, and I hope that you do as well.
Use this time of few distractions to work on that which you love. Turn off the news, limit Netflix, and find time with you and your keyboard.
I spend very little time on social media as it is pissing my life down the toilette, just like the noise from the mainstream media trashing the president or his opponent. Follow the facts, not the noise. Turn off the sound and don’t let 2020 be a wasted year.
If writing is a passion, then dammit do it!
Seize the day!
Much love -TW