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/

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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.




Wordpres Fail

8 01 2012

I just wrote a long blog post about this week and an update on the writing and hit publish and great, WP ate the damn thing. So, this is subbing as my blog post. Now I know to keep a copy in my clipboard before pressing publish.

Word count on writing: 5,545.

Frustration at WP: 100%

New swear words invented in the last five minutes: 3

Hours until I have to gt up for work: 7

I’ll rewrite the post that was supposed to be, but first-sleep.





Can You Send Your Writing For Voice Lessons?

3 10 2011

When you’re starting out as a writer, one of the hardest things to craft is your voice. Going beyond your use of narrative and tense, voice is what digs down deep inside of your writing and is always indicative that you wrote it.

When I think of literary voices that I know instantly, there are a few that come to me. Hemmingway’s machismo and guys guy way of writing. Anthony Bourdain’s unmistakable narrative voice in his shows that carries over to his writing. It’s quick, in your face, and very New York City. Just like the man himself. I have to wonder what it says that I’m having trouble recalling a female writer that has a distinct voice. Most female readers I’ve read tend to let the storyline and characters speak for them and I remember the voices of their characters, but not theirs as a writer.

When you’re first starting out , your voice is informed by what you’ve read, what you love to read and what inspired you to pick up the pen and start writing Your voice is overlaid on top of the voices that you’ve been soaking up and emulating when you decide to start to write. Writing teachers recognize this stage, it would be hard not to when you’re reading submissions that sounds like amateur versions of well known authors. They then urge novice writers to find their voice. They stress the importance of that voice, that you must find it to succeed and you must find it now.

I’m of the mind that your voice develops as your writing does and that for a lot of people, that voice has several different octaves and changes as you go through different stages of learning the craft of writing. Finding your voice can not be forced to come quickly. It comes with time and experience and it also changes with them.

I’m finding that looking over my own writing for the past year that my voice has been undergoing a change. My writing has always been detail-filled and, I’m going to admit it, wordy. Over the last few projects I’ve been working on, I’ve noticed my narrative is tightening up, I’m choosing what I’m revealing in plot points more selectively and finding ways to convey the story I want to tell with fewer words. I’ve learned that sometimes the act of finding your voice is also the act of shutting yourself up.

Have you found your own writing voice has changed over the years? What changes have you noticed?





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.