Tuesday, September 8, 2015
Writing is a career
If a writer wants to be taken seriously, they have to treat the job seriously. That means that the comments they make in public need to be professional. Of course, they can talk about their children, and their pets, and their garden, exactly as you might talk about such topics at work. But just as being rude to the boss at your day job may see you unemployed fairly quickly, so too being rude about your cover or your publisher may see you not getting any more covers or contracts.
Publishing is a small world. Everyone knows someone who knows someone. So switch off the internet before raving about how your heroine has long blonde hair and is overweight, and the cover model is a size zero with a bob cut. Spell check your blog posts. Answer emails from your publisher and their staff in a timely manner. In other words, you’re at work, so act in a professional manner.
And most of all keep writing.
Some days it’s natural to want to come home, sink into a comfortable chair, and relax. Do that. For half an hour. Then get your butt in front of the computer and start writing. Every page is one page closer to the end of the book. Even one paragraph is better than nothing.
I’ve been able to write a large number of books because I write shorter books. Mine are all under 45,000 words. This means fewer characters, less complicated plots, and the book as a whole is faster to write. The shorter length suits me. But that’s a matter of personal choice. The only rule is to keep writing. Every day if you possibly can.
I write for several different publishers as well as indi publishing. Because I write across different genres, I send each different genre to a different publisher. Writing several different genres helps me stay fresh and different, and writing for several different houses means I can have more books released than might be the situation at just one publisher. Of course, it also means that sometimes I have edits for several different books at once, which can be a headache. But overall, the system works for me.
Promotion can be a big drain on time. I have a blog and a website. I try to update my blog every week. I update Facebook and Twitter most days, sometimes twice a day. With chat loops, I read and respond to two loops I like, that have a mix of authors and readers. I go to at least one chat a month but these can vary from a special chat day that’s so busy it’s almost impossible to keep up with the posts, to ones where it’s like you’re talking to an empty room. I know often people lurk on loops but I really don’t know how helpful such chats are, either the incredibly busy ones or the almost silent ones.
I also guest blog from time to time, and enjoy visiting other people’s blogs and talking to the commenters. But again, it’s a big time commitment, first to write the blog, then to keep coming back and commenting. My hope is that every now and then someone will enjoy my blurbs and excerpts and be prepared to try one of my books.
Do I have the best plan to make my writing a successful career? I don’t know. All I know is that I’m doing my best to treat this seriously as my profession, to learn all I can, and to keep researching, keep learning and keep writing.