It seems easy at the start
One day you wake up and think “I’m going to write a book/poem/short story…” and off you toddle to your computer (I know some people still use typewriters and/or pen and paper, but for the purposes of this blog post, we’re going to use a computer). Some time later* you emerge, fingers worn, nerves shredded and eyes blinking against the cruel light, your masterpiece saved to hard drive, pen drive, burnt to CD, emailed to yourself and several friends and back-up on your external storage device. YOU ARE A WRITER!
Or – are you?
Not long after the initial jubilation has worn off, the doubts set in. Are you a writer now, or do you need to be published first? And how will you find a way to be published? And is it okay to self-publish? And what if….a- hundred-other-reasons-to-doubt?
First rule – finish it!
Believe me, when I was writing my first book the last thing on my mind was how I was going to sell it. I wanted to finished the thing before even starting to worry about that. I had already decided I wanted to have a Literary Agent, so I deferred thinking more clearly about the whole “selling” bit until after I’d finished, done the edits and redrafts and was finally in a position to think clearly. Joss Whedon‘s first rule of writing is “Finish it” and I’m not going to argue with the master. So, what happens when you have that book ready – edited, proof-read, ripe for selling?
If only there was a road-map
The publishing industry is going through tremendous changes at the moment, ones that will have profound effects on writers, agents, editors and readers alike. And guess what? There is no magic formula that says ‘writing a book’ + ‘these magic steps’ = ‘getting your book published’ + “you earn some money’. Really. Even if you knew what ‘these magic steps’ were, you would not be guaranteed to sell your book and/or receive any return on you not-insubstantial investment. But – there is help out there.
Someone I’ve been following on Twitter for a little while is Joanna Penn (who goes by the name @thecreativepenn). If you want to know what’s hot for writers then you would do well to follow her because her Twitter is full of the latest information. Joanna is also an interviewer and writer, and she has just launched a new venture, Author 2.0. The free document lays out some of the many choices you have and the factors at work when trying to manage your writing career.
I would recommend the Author 2.0 PDF to anyone who wants to know more about publishing their work. And there is also a private, members program for those people who need help putting things in place.
Back to the grindstone
For me, I am busy getting the next podcasts ready for the “Turning Left at Albuquerque” audiobook and working on a new query to send out to some new Lit Agents, but I’m not just doing that.
Have you read Author 2.0 yet? Are you going to change what you are going to do?