Friday, June 6, 2008

This is a business

Writing is an interesting profession. This, like art and music, blends together the creative with the business - especially in the cases when we want to make money for what we do. Unfortunatley, I do believe that many in this business forget that element. I should also say that this includes not just the writers but editors and agents.

We always talk about being professional out there, but for some reason, I see a lot of "do as I say, not as I do." Needless to say, it is this attitude that I believe ruins the business for everyone.

As a writer, remember that you are selling not just your writing, but you. It is a package deal and I don't care how good the writing is, or how hard you plan to market, or how great your website is, unless you are someone that can be liked and seen as a professional out there, you will fail. Sure, you may sell books and sure you may win awards, but the longevity of your career will simply not be there.

It is important as a writer to really sit down and examine how you want to be seen in this business. I'm not just talking about the name on the top of a NY Times best seller list, I'm talking about who people really talk about. What do they walk away with in their head.

This is especially true for the writers doing book signings.

I bring this all up as we approach the serious conference season. Remember that you are being watched at these conferences. People are taking note of everything you do or say and they will form opinions of you. Make sure it is the image you want.


  1.'s like when I told an author how much I liked her work, and she patted me on the hand and said, "Don't worry, dear. If you keep on trying, one day you can be just like me."

    I never bought another one of her books. I can't separate the patronizing tone from the writing.

  2. Jodi,

    That is the attitude I am definitely talking about. Now, in defense of the author, in all likelyhood, this person was not out to make you feel like dirt or to assume that she was better than you. It was just a poor choice of words.

    I will have to say though, I have seen far too many "established authors" move away from the newer writers because they "just aren't at their level. Hmmm, were they once?