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/

Advertisements




Knee Deep In The Edits

6 02 2012


One thing about editing is that it always takes a bit to talk yourself into starting, but when you get going it turns into a challenge that you give yourself on how much tighter you can make your prose.

I’ve had a good few months away from the intensive writing on the first draft of this and I’m doing an editing pass before doing a second draft. The space away from it has given me a little emotional distance and that makes it easier to find the words that don’t need to be there and the parts that don’t add to the overall story arc. Very few parts are escaping being touched, as you can see from the screenshot below.

I know the font is a little odd, but I find that American Typewriter seems to be easier on my eyes than Helvetica or Times New Roman for long periods of time. The rounded curves and close together letters of them seem to bleed together a lot more the longer I’m staring at the screen.
I also find that I can’t edit if I’ve got music going with words or even a lot of tempo changes. It distracts me from what I’m doing. I’ve found the perfect editing accompaniment for me is….the sound of a spaceship idling. Really. Someone out there on the internet put up a file on you tube of the ambient engine noise off of Star Trek TNG, or as I called it to my friend Shae, a white noise machine for geeks.
I also took part in my first Google+ hangout, with a few other writers, about editing for ourselves and others. It was interesting to see and hear how others do it and I learned a few tips that will help me on my way. If you haven’t already checked out Google+, give it a try. There are a lot of authors, writers and those aspiring to be on there and you can cultivate some great circles on there of people who post great content and take part in some great discussions.




Write What You Know and Other Bad Writing Advice

29 09 2011

Time just keeps flying past, doesn’t it? I’d like to say I’ve been
doing nothing but writing since my last post, but life as a funny way of
looking at your plans and laughing at you.

Oh, I have gotten some writing done, let’s make that clear. Just
not as much as I’d like to have done. That might be the never ending cry of the
writer though. No matter how much you get down on paper or screen, you always
feel like you could have done more. Even with working on a writing focused
course and working full-time in one city and then spending my days off in
another city packing up my house there, I still feel like I could get more
writing done. Not sure where, but there must be some place!

I seem to falling back into education mode easily enough. I guess
with being a writer, you never really leave it. You’re researching parts of
your plot, occupations of your characters and sometimes even the geography and
neighbourhoods that your story takes place in. Sometimes it’s to refresh your
memory of it, or to gain a new understanding of somewhere you’ve never been or
something you’ve never done. To write is to never stop researching and
learning.

Which makes me think of that often pulled out instruction to
writers: “Write what you know.”

My first instinct is to roll my eyes. If all writers wrote what
they knew, the literary landscape would be a pretty damn dull place. I’m sure
that C.S. Lewis has never been to Narnia, never met a talking lion or ever
encountered a witch beyond trick-or-treaters at his door. J.R.R. Tolkien has
never been to Middle Earth, didn’t speak Elvish or ever encountered a Hobbit.
Shakespeare was never a teenaged girl, ripe with emotion and doped up on first
love and had never been cut wide open by that first love falling apart. If they
all wrote what they knew, none of the masterpieces they created would exist.

Why would anyone tell an aspiring fiction writer to ‘write what
you know’? The whole reason someone is called to put something down from their
head onto the page or screen is because in the act of making things up, they’re
escaping what they know into where they want to be. That’s what writers do.
They make things up. Granted, it’s making things up with a lot of research,
creativity, plotting and re-writes, but when you get right down to it, that’s
what we do.

What writing advice have you gotten that you instinctively cringed
at? Conversely, what’s the best advice you’ve ever received?

 

 

*pic by kamikaze fowler, found on weheartit.com*





About Time I Dusted Off My Blogging Boots

27 09 2011

Wow, it’s hard to believe that I haven’t posted on here since the
middle of May.

It’s not that I haven’t been writing. I have. I’ve finished a
60,000 word manuscript in that time and a few smaller pieces as well. The
manuscript is still in its rough form right now, needing rewrite and editing,
but I’m very happy with how the first draft came out. I used the opportunity of
a Big Bang to get the idea out of my head and onto the screen and it was a
great way of exploring what parts of the plot were going to work and what were
not and now when I’m working on my second draft of this, I’ll have a better
idea what things will need to be revised and refined.

In August I accepted a new job and it’s been an interesting month
and a bit learning the ropes and remembering a lot of the technical knowledge
of a computer that I’d not used for a while. It’s been a struggle and at times
overwhelming to say the least, but I’ve finally turned the corner on it and no
longer want to stab things. Now that the major stress of settling into a new
job is ebbing, I’m slowly starting to hear mumblings from different characters
I’d sent running for the hills in all the chaos.

With September rolling around, I’ve also started taking some
classes online to get certification as a Technical Writer. I’ve been doing
various forms of it in my previous jobs for years, but I’m finally making the
time to get myself the paper that documents the skills I already have. It’s
been busy trying to fit that in with working full time in a city an hour and a
half away from my house. I stay with my mother when I’m working and on my days off
I’ve been going back into my house and packing it up. Once it’s emptied, I’ll
go through and do all the fixing that’s needed to sell and hopefully will have
more free time.

It’s been so long since I’ve had some that I practically forget
what it looks like.

Luckily my first course finishes at the end of October, so I’ll be
able to participate in NaNoWriMo again this year. It was a great exercise in perseverance
and discipline last year and I’m hoping to use the month to finish up a lot of
projects that I have out there that need finishing, so I can work on new things
from here on out.

If you’ve never heard of NaNoWriMo before, you can check it out at
www.nanowrimo.org they have great
resources and are a great cheerleading team to help you reach your goal during
the month.

*picture from nanowrimo website*





What do you mean it’s the middle of May?

19 05 2011

Ever have one of those months that just seem to be slipping by? May is that month for me. I’m glad it’s going quickly though. May is usually not a good month for me. Bad things happen in May, like people dying and people being diagnosed with brain tumors bad. I usually call this month Aprune in my head, an extension of April and an early June, so I can avoid this month all together.

On the writing front, I’m at about 12,500 words on the Rome story that I’m working on. I had originally thought it would be about 15k, but I’m thinking that half of it will be at the 15k mark. I’ll have to see what it turns out to be when it’s all done and edited. I’m liking the way it’s turning out so far, but we’ll see how my first readers like it when it’s done.

Here in Canada we have this channel called Book Television, which is pretty much my favourite channel right now. They don’t have a lot of new programming, whic

h sucks, but they’ve been running a series where they picked 12 people in 2009 to do the 3-day novel contest and they did it in the middle of a book store, where they lived and slept there while doing their novels. They had challenges and penalties if they lost and it’s been fun to watch. Has anyone ever done the 3-day novel contest? It’s tempting to try it, but I’d have to see if I’m  working at that point or not, because that would make a difference in whether I could attempt it or not.

I’m definitely going to do Nanowrimo though. I found the goal of 30 days and the word count of 50k really gave me a push in my writing and made me sit down and do it every day. Gave me the kick in the ass I needed.

Speaking of kicks in the ass, I better get back to it. I’m in a Starbucks right now inside a book store. Needed to be around humans for a bit. I’m sure every writer has those moments when they need to not be in a room writing alone. Thank goodness for cafes with free wifi.





A Change of Scenery to Stop Chewing It.

21 04 2011

It’s been a bit since my last update about writing. Even though I did my best to not let my first rejection rattle me, even though I knew what I submitted was dark and probably not going to be an easy sell to a publisher, the email was enough to make me start second guessing what I’ve written on the story I’m working on now.

Even though I had every intention of getting back to work on the new novella right away, when I found myself staring at what I’d written and contemplating deleting half of my word count, I knew I needed to lift my hands off the keyboard and walk away for a bit.

I took some time off to be a reader for a bit. I finished two books Room, by Emma Donoghue who is actually living in the same city as me, which gave me a little hope. And Saving Rachel by John Locke. They were both complete mind bender books, one told from the point of view of a 5 year old boy who has spent his entire life in one room, being held there by, along with his mother, by a man he calls Old Nick, and the other being the type of story that loops back and twists and even at the end you still weren’t sure exactly what had happened.

I’m firmly of the belief that writers need to be readers as well. If you don’t read, it’s like saying you’re going to be a pilot but being never having flown because you’re afraid to fly. I also find it inspires and informs my own writing and like it has before, it definitely did that now. It blows a fresh air on where you’re stuck and helps you find the trail of your own voice again, because as you read you start thinking of how you’d word something differently, what plot twist would have been something you would have done, or not done. You start believing you can do this again.

Writing is a solitary thing and usually I’m fine with doing it at at home in the writing space I’ve created or anywhere else in my house, but delving back into my novella, I found that I couldn’t do this in a solitary space. I needed movement and voices around me, maybe to drown out the overly critical one inside of me that wanted to slash and burn as it went. So I went out to a bookstore and situated myself at a small table by a window in the Starbucks located inside. Armed with caffeine and pastry, I took a deep breath, opened my file and dove in.

When I was able to finally look at my own work again, without wanting to start over or take away half of my word count, I read over the 5,000 words I already had with a critical, but not masochistic eye. I edited as I went and only had to lose 1100 words and some of the exposition in those words has since been worked back in.

The voice of criticism that had leapt to the forefront was now being beaten back by the slightly sullen voice of Matthew, who hates the feeling of being ignored more than any other thing and then followed by Jonah who was used to being noticed in public and fading into the background and towing the family line in private, both of them bending my ear with what they’d been up to while the other voice had taken over. The reading and consuming of others words had given mine back to me.

This is why a writer is always, first and foremost, a reader. You find your own words from the words of others.





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.