Wednesday, February 17, 2016

It's Easy To Write Stories. It's Tough To Be An Author

Over the years, I have seen a ton of writers just not make it in this business. It isn't so much that the can't write stories, but more of the fact that they just don't have the head for this business. They often don't understand why they were so successful writing that 80,000 word manuscript and yet, can't make it in this business.

When I go and speak at writing groups, one thing I try to push time and time again is the permission just to be someone who likes to write stories. There is nothing wrong with this. Hang out with those other writers. Critique each other's work. In fact, I celebrate authors who do this. But, if you want to be a published author, there is a lot more that you are going to have to be prepared for. This is what makes it tough. Let's look at a few of the challenges.

OPEN TO CRITICISM - I do think a lot of writers think they are really good at this, but the criticism you received in your writing group is far from the level you will likely experience when you become a published author. People will hate your books. People will say you suck. And yes, there are times when those people are right. But you have to maintain a thick skin, listen to what they have to say, learn and grow from that information.

GIVING UP WRITING TIME TO MARKET - I have talked about this one in the past. You now have an added task to your writing day. You have to market those books. You have to become a business person taking care of the accounting, the marketing, the public relations and so forth. This requires a different type of thinking and a lot more time than many expect.

GETTING OUT THERE IN PUBLIC AND TALKING TO PEOPLE - We get it. Writing is a solitary life. But, as a professional writer, you have to break out of that shell and get talking to people. There should not be a day that goes by that you aren't talking about your latest release. Every chance to market is important. Along the same lines, those conferences that you used to go to just for some creative inspiration are now requirements. Your books will not sell themselves. It is up to you.

WORKING WITH FIXED DEADLINES - We have talked about this one in the past as well. You now have deadlines that you have to stick to. Editors are expecting material from you and you have to have it there on time. NO EXCEPTIONS!

SEEING THE PUBLISHING BUSINESS AS A BUSINESS - We all have our images of what we would love to see in the publishing world. We want the luxury to write and we want to be paid a lot of money for our words. But that is not always going to happen. This is a business that depends on readers and if your book doesn't sell, you will not make money. Along the same lines, this is a business that is constantly shifting and changing. Suck it up. Get used to it.

The point is, this is not going to be easy. If you are a new writer and you are not sure if you want to make this jump, take the time to think. Are you really ready to make this commitment. It is always easy to say you want to. But can you?

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