The Business of Being a Writer

There is something so charming about the image of a writer insulated from the world, creating fantasy towns and people in her mind. But if you’ve been a writer for any length of time, you know those charming moments are rare. You may also know that there is more to writing, when you really get serious about publishing your work, than writing.

Submitting my work to editors and agents was the first non-writing hurdle. I had to learn to write non-fiction things like cover letters and synopses. Linda Gardner has a great lecture series on writing a synopsis in her writers’ toolbox. Learning to articulate your story from a one line pitch to a full out proposal is only the beginning. The real work starts when you’re published. Congratulations and get ready.

Now that I am a published writer with two books available, more writing business has been added. In a word: marketing. This blog, which I still think of as a fun way to vent about the non-charming aspects of writing, is a marketing tool. I’ve seen “blogging” listed as the #1 marketing tool for writers. That was happy news since I was already doing it and it is (for me at least) fun.

Although I’m not working on my novel for the next few days, I am still working at the business of being a writer. This weirdly includes grocery shopping and menu planning for my critique group meeting here tomorrow. I was in critique groups before I was published. It’s not always comfortable, but I don’t see how writers do without that feedback, especially indie writers like me.

The other huge business writer thing in my life that you’ll be hearing more about, I’m sure, is the 2012 conference for my writer’s group, Detroit Working Writers. If you live in Michigan consider joining DWW, which has been around for over a hundred years. You will get a great rate at the conference.

I am chairperson of the conference. This turns out to be fun and also intense work but so far only in short spurts. For the past few days the executive board and conference committee members have been finalizing our plans to present to the membership. I kept track of 5o or so emails regarding revisions to be made to early draft of documents.

Not only are we having a conference in September, but we are holding a state-wide writing competition with some pretty nifty cash prizes.  You do not have to be a member to enter the contest or come to the conference. Writing groups are great for networking and conferences even more so. This is marketing 101. Every person at that conference will receive a gift bag with a copy of my writer’s manual (and other good stuff like chocolate) in it. That’s layering marketing on marketing.

So I guess I don’t suck at marketing so much after all. Although I have yet to do a blog tour or post a guest blog, I am active on Twitter and getting comfy on Goodreads. Turns out I adore Twitter and spend way too much time on it. Not marketing, making friends who are also indie writers. But there’s a subtle sort of marketing going on whenever and wherever I post about writing. It’s not in your face BUY MY BOOK but you get to know people and like their blog and before you know it, you’re buying their book. At least that’s what’s happened to me.

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