Is this one of those weird “Why is a Raven like a writing desk?” moments?
No, it’s not.
Okay, so When is a Writer not just a Writer?
When we want to be professional writers. (That means we publish and get paid for our work when people buy it)
I’ve been lurking around the writer scenes online for a while now – whether that’s stalking my favourite authors, keeping my eye on new writers with potential, relentlessly reading other blogs… you get the drift.
During all this lurking, I’ve seen a lot of new writers who seem to focus (solely) on writing.
Is that bad?
No… and yes.
Of course, you should be focusing on writing, we aren’t writers if we aren’t writing. But if this is something that’s more than a hobby for you (or you want it to eventually be more than a hobby for you), you need to start changing hats!
Which hats should I be wearing?
Whether you like it or not, writing is a business and you need to treat it as such. Yes, we may stroll up to our desks in our PJs or hell, write while still in bed or at some over-priced coffee shop… but it’s still a business.
So, you want hats? (is the cat picture not enough?)
Obviously, you need to be a writer, you need to learn from and technique. Mostly this is done by a) practising writing over and over b) reading… LOTS. It’s not enough to just have a great idea, you need to hone that skill.
Whether you are self-publishing or traditionally publishing YOU need to be editing your novel. It needs to go through several “drafts” with you doing the editing.
No, not just for spelling errors (but that needs to be done too), learn how to edit, learn what it takes to structurally edit your work, copy-edit your work, line edit… see, there are so many types of edits!
Yes, you need to also get a professional editor, but give them a decent, polished piece otherwise you will be paying a hefty price.
Whether it’s a detail in your story or gathering info about the publishing industry, you will need to learn how to research (and that doesn’t just mean getting your knowledge from Wikipedia).
Not to mention, information changes and you need to keep up-to-date on how companies like Amazon/Bookbub etc work when it comes to authors/ranking/promos or when they have a policy change that might affect you.
You will be in charge of marketing your book and yourself (yep, ‘You’ the brand is important – check out by Build your brand post).
That means learning what techniques work, how to build that brand, how to reach out to people without a) spamming them or b) coming across like a self-obsessed asshole.
And yes, it takes more than just plastering your Facebook wall with messages saying “buy my book” which some new authors seem intent on doing as the whole market plan.
As I said, this is a business which means you will need to know how to budget, because there will be some costs involved. You will also need to track your sales and stats, keep records, and do taxes.
Start learning now how to do these things so you can be up and running when your novel is published.
While most writers are introverts and we’d love nothing more than to hide in our writing cave and secretly send out work under the cover of darkness. That’s not really viable.
So who are we communicating with?
Well, lots of people.
You need to be able to create a Tribe / Street Team who will promote your book for you. You need to be able to communicate clearly with bloggers and reviewers, beta readers and critique partners.
And let’s not forget the most important, The Readers who are our customers And hopefully our fans, we need to find them, connect with them.
I see too many writers who are “too busy” to reply to messages, even to their own readers who are contacting them. Well, sometimes you have to budget your time for that. These people are important and deserve your time.
When I’m published I will…
Nope! Stop that! Waiting until you finish your novel and publish it is wrong. If you do that you will lose valuable time and momentum. Trying to figure out all these hats later on when the book is published will really make you crazy.
If you can start before you’ve finished the novel, do it!
PS: I couldn’t resist the cat wearing a hat pic! :p
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Hope you enjoyed this, as always if you have any comments or questions do let me know. Thanks for visiting, it’s always fun to hear from readers and followers.