AUTHORPRENEUR: Why It’s No Longer Enough To Be Just a Writer

18 06 2012

Oliver Standard Typewriter

*image from Flickr Creative Commons
With the rise in indie publishing and more options available to a writer, you can no longer tell yourself that it’s okay to just write and release your work into the world and it will find an audience. Even if you go with a legacy publisher, the publicity and marketing you feel your book should get and what it actually gets are two very different things, unless you’re one of their stable of bestselling writers that they feel is a sure bet to make them money.

To survive in the publishing landscape, every writer must become a hybrid between creative and marketer, an authorpreneur that both creates and markets their work.

The romanticized notion of a writer in their creative space, laying text on the page for their readers and sending it off when it’s finished, cueing end credits on the process, is over. That image has now pivoted. Where the end credits would have rolled is now the beginning of the harder work, getting the notice of the reading public. No longer is it enough to be able to write well, you must be able to sell yourself as a writer worth noticing and your book as something worth reading.

As more and more mainstream published writers turn to publishing their own works and the whole indie/self published industry grows out of its reputation of vanity and not being good enough for legacy publishers, the landscape is going to change dramatically, making a writer’s skill at marketing themselves and their work not just a necessary skill, but an invaluable one.

Every writer should be working on honing their skill as a marketer right along with their skill as a writer. In pauses between drafts, read up on social media marketing, start following blogs that review work in your genre and start commenting on posts, start your own blog and document your journey of writing your book, network with other authors on twitter, Facebook and Google+.

Most of all, study a writer that you see working social media like a rock star. Look at what they’re doing, what ratio they’re posting social comments to promotion. Every avenue of social media has ways of tracking how many people are reading what you post, whether they’re sharing it or talking about it and what days and times most people read your posts. Use the tools, they’re free and they’ll help make it more a part of the process of getting your book out there and less of a dreaded chore.

This listing has 50 free tools, there’s something in there for everyone.:

http://thenextweb.com/socialmedia/2012/03/18/50-mostly-free-social-media-tools-you-cant-live-without-in-2012/

We all have what it takes to be an authorpreneur. Start now, no matter what phase of your writing journey you’re in, it’s never too late.

The article that inspired this post can be found here:
http://jonfmerz.net/2012/06/14/rise-of-the-authorpreneur/





First Rejection Out of the Way

12 04 2011

Yesterday I heard back from the publisher I’d sent out my novella to and they took a pass on it. I’d like to say I’m surprised, but I’m not. If you’re going to try writing to publish, you’re going to get rejection. And I knew going in that this story may not work on its own as a novella, it’s probably going to work better as part of an anthology, so that’s going to be the next step in its evolution. I had to try to see if it could be published on its own first, just to see if maybe it would work.

Bait is a little creepy and I knew it may not work as a mainstream work, so now I’m looking over Halloween anthology calls for submissions, to see what would be the best fit. We’ll see.

I remember reading in Stephen King’s On Writing, which is one of my favorite books on writing and he describes about impaling his rejection letters on a spike on his wall and when it became full, using another one. So really, one is not a big deal, especially when I figured it was coming.

It doesn’t mean you don’t start questioning yourself, your writing and whether you can actually write well. But, I’ve been writing long enough and been reading books on writing for too many years to let me talk myself out of continuing. Even if I never get published, I’ll still write. This rejection is just one of the milestones when you try to write for more than yourself.

And now, back to work. Because if there is one thing I’ve learned from all the things that have happened in my life, both good and bad, is that you have to keep going to get through it or get it done.

“Successful writers are not the ones who write the best sentences. They are the ones who keep writing.  They are the ones who discover what is most important and strangest and most pleasurable in themselves, and keep believing in the value of their work, despite the difficulties.”- Bonnie Friedman





Do You Pick a Book By Its Cover?

6 04 2011

I was wandering around a bookstore a few days ago and doing what I see a lot of people doing in bookstores. Looking through the aisles, stopping at books that catch my attention by their covers and then turning the book around to read the blurbs and synopsis, reading the first page and seeing if I’m interested from there.

Through one of my twitter feeds, I ran across an article about the same things that we all look at when browsing for books and they asked published authors the following questions:

  • How important are covers in terms of selling a book?
  • Have your publishers asked you for your opinion or “input” on your covers, and to what extent do you think they listened? Did you ever meet with the designer? How important was “marketing” in making decisions about the cover of your book(s)?
  • Did you ever receive a cover that made you unhappy and if so, what did you do about it? Did you ultimately end up with a cover that made you happier?
  • How important are blurbs, particularly for a first-time author?
  • How did you go about getting your blurbs? Did your agent or editor help, or did you rely more on personal connections?
  • Have you ever offered someone else a blurb?
  • It’s an interesting read on how much control, or non-control they have in how their book is presented. Definitely worth a look at it.

    http://www.theawl.com/2011/04/six-writers-tell-all-about-covers-and-blurbs





    Switching Hats.

    9 03 2011

    Now that my novella submission is off to the publisher, it’s time for me to switch hats to editing mode.

    My friend, Shae Connor, has written her first novel length romance.  I’ve been a first reader for it, and now I’m doing one of the last edits. It’s a completely different mindset from writing. I’m finding I have to stop myself from changing word order a lot. There is nothing wrong with the way it’s ordered, it’s fine the way it is, it’s just not the way I’d word it.

    That’s the unsung skill set of the editor isn’t it? Unless it’s going to clarify or add something to the narrative, you can’t impose your phrasing on it. It needs to sound like the author, not me. Now that I’ve acknowledged that, hopefully it will fade to the background in my mind.

    It was  gray, drizzly and dark day today, though brightened considerably by a delivery. Books! Two of the books I ordered online from Indigo/Chapters online came today. Stein on Writing and Story Engineering While I do most of my reading in ebook form these days, I make an exception for books on writing, or reference books in general. There is a comfort in being able to note, flag and highlight the things that speak to me and that’s something that I don’t get from doing those things in digital form yet.

    There is something to be said for being able to hold the physical book in your hand for reference. See Big Name Publishers? I buy actual books too. I’m also not murdering kittens because I consume ebooks.

    It seems the publishers are slooooowly getting up to speed with that. I was watching the iPad 2 announcement last week and one of the first things they announced was the iBooks update and 100 Million books have been downloaded and Random House has finally been added to the iBook store.

    Now if only the publishing industry as a whole would realize that the 100 million ebooks is  great thing.  People are reading and that can only do good things for the publishing industry. Love or hate the iPad, it makes purchasing the ebooks very easy and more of an impulse purchase than having to go to a physical bookstore. It’s something that Apple is very good at, making it an easy end-user experience to purchase content. They did it for music, they’re doing it for books and next up looks to be magazines.

    I’m hoping with the recent release of the subscription model information that we’ll get more magazine content from the iPad from both mainstream and under appreciated zines that are out there and hard to find in the physical world.  You know, once the publishers have another freak out about how Apple is going to kill their industry. Again.

    Speaking as and end user on this, just wake me up when the cat fight is over and I can subscribe to the magazines I want. Until then, all I’m going to hear is the trombone teachers voice from the Peanuts cartoons.

    Reading on the iPad