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/





Tempus Fugit

28 01 2012

I had the urge to write and no real desire to work on something already in progress. Instead, I looked at my surroundings and took in the sound of the town clock chiming and this is what came out.

Tempus Fugit

It’s funny how time flies.

Moving back to the city I grew up in is in equal measures familiar and alien. As much as this city changes, its core stays the same. There are reminders on every street of my past, the ghosts of remembered actions and conversations pushing themselves forward in my mind for their short moment in the forefront. Then the next street or building comes into focus and forces the ghosts back as others take their place.

I’m seated in a cafe across the street from the closest thing this city has to a central square. It’s a brick paved open area in front of the local mall, raised planter boxes sporting evergreen bushes trimmed into cotton ball shapes, tufts of wheat coloured grasses ascending with swaying stalks like tentative bursts of agricultural fireworks. Trees rise in the middle of the planters, their limbs bare and weeping towards the ground. The wind rustles them and their tips brush the ground, searching fruitlessly for the leaves they have lost

In them middle of the open, a clock is raised on a brick and concrete platform.  The centennial clock. Green and gold, it echoes the Robert frost poem. Green as the city it is celebrating, a hundred years not even a blink of an eye to the senescent cities of Europe and Asia. Gold like the years this city is heading into, the population ever aging and the city itself hemorrhaging jobs and with it the green that this city needs to renew itself.

The square’s clock is one of my ghosts. The low and mournful tones of its chimes, ringing out, carrying on the wind, making its reach arc out further than the silent sentinels of schools and theatres and playgrounds. The sound of the clock carries with it pieces of the ghost of my father.

He was involved with community groups and those have seasonal ghosts that come with them, fading as the heritage weekend, or historical re-enactment passes by in the waning days of autumn. The clock remains, a year-round reminder of both him and the time that pushes me forward on my journey and further away from the moment when his journey stopped.

Time does fly and even though the seconds, minutes,  hours, days, months, and years have stayed the same measurement of time that they always were, I’m finding as I collect more of them, the faster they, and the ghosts that live in between one measure of time and the next, come.

The ghosts used to be grudgingly accommodated, but now I find that as i collect more of them, they have lost their potency. The memories the ghosts carry with them no longer pull up regrets of past decisions, friends grown away from, or thoughts of paths not taken. Instead they serve to remind me of the journey that I’ve already travelled down and how those decisions have made me into the person, and more importantly, the writer that I am.

The writer in me is the curator of my collection of ghosts, separating those with stories to tell, from those that only serve as a milestone, remembering that point in my past, but offering nothing towards my future. The ones with stories to tell wait for me to give them away, covered in words and dressed up in names that are not their own. I will call them fiction, but my ghosts and I, we will know the truth.





Adventures in Networking

1 12 2011

One thing about working and living  in one city and having a house in another is almost every time I’ve come back to the house I own for a few days of packing and organizing and fixing, I almost always have to reset my entire network here. The one utility I’ve kept here at the house, besides the essentials like water, gas and electricity, is the internet. It may seem a little odd, seeing as Im hardly ever here for more than a few days, but it’s the only way I have any sort of entertainment at night.

Tonight was the mother of all resetting though. Firmware update, removing a router from the ip phone service I disconnected and then resetting my modem, the wifi router and reconfiguring the connection on everything that was connected to it, since it only wanted to give an I.P. address to one device at a time.  All that practice at walking other people through things like this for the last four months has come in handy.

Now that I’ve gotten everything back up and going, I’m hoping I can get some writing time in along with the packing and fixing and organizing. Although.. I probably should have kept it down if I really wanted to get a lot done. I would have gone crazy, but a lot would have gotten done.





Six Word Stories – The Graphic Edition

14 04 2011

For sale: baby shoes, never used.—Ernest Hemingway


The above is the  original short short story that was written by Hemingway in the 1920’s after colleagues bet him he couldn’t write a complete story in just six words. He did and won the bet. Hemingway is said to have considered it his best work. 

I ran across a site today that took a visual spin on this concept. They pair up writers with graphic designers and deliver one story a day. Check it out, there is some great work that’s been done. 

http://www.buzzfeed.com/sly/six-word-story-every-day?awesm=awe.sm_5I9m0&utm_content=awesm-tweet-button-horizontal&utm_medium=awe.sm-twitter&utm_source=direct-awe.sm

My favourite, by far, is the one with the carrot. You just want to know how in the world that happened. 





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





    The Pleasures of Imagination

    3 03 2011

    I stumbled upon an article from the Chronicle for Higher Learning while doing research on a character. It goes into the imagination and how it’s a uniquely human thing and something that most of us spend more time in than our thoughts about sex.

    It was very enlightening and a great read.
    “How do Americans spend their leisure time? The answer might surprise you. The most common voluntary activity is not eating, drinking alcohol, or taking drugs. It is not socializing with friends, participating in sports, or relaxing with the family. While people sometimes describe sex as their most pleasurable act, time-management studies find that the average American adult devotes just four minutes per day to sex.

    Our main leisure activity is, by a long shot, participating in experiences that we know are not real. When we are free to do whatever we want, we retreat to the imagination—to worlds created by others, as with books, movies, video games, and television (over four hours a day for the average American), or to worlds we ourselves create, as when daydreaming and fantasizing. While citizens of other countries might watch less television, studies in England and the rest of Europe find a similar obsession with the unreal.”

    If you’d like to read the full text of the article, you can find it here:

    The Pleasures of Imagination