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Author Nancy J. Cohen discusses the writing process and life as a Florida resident.

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Writing is a Business

Posted by Nancy J. Cohen on October 24, 2011

Writing is a business, but most often lay persons and wannabes have no clue what this involves. They believe that we authors just sit at the computer all day, write our stories, and send them off to our editor or agent. Sometimes we collect rejection letters. Sometimes we make a sale. Then we get royalties along with accolades and starred reviews. Right?

Wrong. Writing is only one part of the process. It’s the creative part, where we slave over our desks and face the blank page day after day, fighting the self-doubt demons that plague our artistry. Once the rough draft is done, revisions come next. We stare at the monitor so much that our eyes dry out. So let’s say our work gets accepted. Then we have editorial revisions, copy edits, and page proofs. At the same time, we are writing the next book and starting research for the third book down the line. How do we keep all these details straight? Through the use of software programs, notebooks, and charts. But amidst the clutter of our writing projects, we have to clear space in our home offices for the next stage in the process.

As in any other small business, we must engage in marketing and promotion. This consumes all the rest of our free time. We cannot allow ourselves the luxury of sitting back and hoping readers will discover us. The hardest work comes at the business end of this career. Don’t like public speaking? Get used to it. Don’t like talking about yourself? Learn the meaning of Blatant Self-Promotion without being obnoxious. Lacking support from your publisher? Create your own bookmarks, flyers, and posters. Set up your own appearances. Offer contests and giveaways. Oh, and did I mention the important tools of website, blog, and social networks?

Speaking of contests, I have just set up giveaways for signed ARCs of Shear Murder on Goodreads and LibraryThing. I will also be sending out an email newsletter soon with more chances to win free books, so if you’re not a subscriber yet, please look for the newsletter form on my Website sidebar and sign up now.

Learning a new career is challenging, and writing isn’t any different in this regard from other professions. Why are people are so surprised by the level of dedication we show and by the hard work we do?

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8 Responses to “Writing is a Business”

  1. Pam Hanson said

    Writing is my full-time job. Just the other day I was really touched when my neighbor said how much he admired the dedication it must take to work from home as a writer. Yes, I have a flexible schedule and can work in sweats; I also have deadlines that must be met, new projects to work on, promotion, etc just as you say, Nancy. Some people get satisfaction out of writing for themselves; I write because it’s my career. Thank you for this!

  2. I wish I had grasped the concept of writing as running a small business sooner. If I had, I would have been better prepared for my first sale. Anyone hoping to be a published author should be educating themselves about marketing and promotion and establishing their web presence long before they get the call!

  3. This is why networking with other writers is so important. You learn from other authors about the business aspects of writing. Whenever I get a wannabe ask me questions about the career, I am careful to explain the mental drive and hours of work it requires. There’s no “magic handshake.” It’s sweat and tears… which is also why it’s wonderful to attend writers conferences, because we understand each other.

  4. Jeanne Meeks - said

    Thank you for this post. Experienced writers all give the same warnings, so it must be true. Your blogs have already helped me gear up for the business end before I sell my first book. Fortunately, I’ve been in the business world for 28 years– how bad can it be? Yikes! I only hope I can manage it as well as you do.

  5. Jeanne, you should be able to employ your business experience in your writing career. Just being aware of this aspect puts you ahead of the game.

  6. rcatalano said

    Nancy, thank you so much for this post! I shared it on my facebook Wall, and wrote a blurb that it is for all my friends who are NOT writers to understand what I do. Also for them to understand that it is NOT as easy to write a book as they seem to think, (so many have jokingly told me over the years they are going to also “write a book”!). Now imagine also being a publisher (a small business owner) and they may have some idea of how hard I do work. Unfortunately, even with your post and me sharing it with them, my non-writer friends may never understand what exactly it is that we do. This is why I agree with you that it is so important to go to Writers Conferences and such, where we network with like-minded individuals! Thanks again for this post! Looking forward to reading more of your posts…

  7. Roseanne, thanks for stoppiing by. I totally agree that non-writer friends really have no concept of what we do. Even family members who see us spending hours at the computer still don’t get it. hat’s why we writers need each other!

  8. business letters…

    […]Writing is a Business « Nancy's Notes From Florida[…]…

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