The Business of Writing

Once upon a time, when I was but a wee writer, I had a very naive and skewed view of publishing. I’d watched someone I knew publish a series of books with little effort beyond the writing. It seemed easy. Too easy.

So I gave it a shot, using the now-defunct distributor, Pronoun. Upload a file, add a cover image, and bam, you’re listed on Amazon and other major distributors. Cool, right? Not so much. My attempt had no developmental editing, which meant that although the story made perfect sense to me, that wasn’t always the case with the reader. The book bombed, and pulling my tail between my legs, I retreated.

This time, I took more steps to ensure my success. I invested in a program called Grammarly, which while it won’t ever replace an editor, does catch typos and grammatical errors. I then hired an editor, experienced in my genre, who took on Highside, and gave it the thrice-over. I handled all of the formatting myself, but I used the tool Vellum and tweaked the look of the book. Are you seeing the difference? Money. Quite a bit of money.

What does that mean? It means I realized I needed to spend money if I ever hoped to make money. Invest in myself, my books, my brand, so that someday, people will find my efforts worth their investment.

Now, Highside is out in the wild (more or less – it’ll be completely out there on May 21), and I sit back and wait. I’ve got some advertising set to start on the 21st, and Offsides should be out within a month, if all goes according to plan. Shootout, the second book in the Between the Lines series, has been started.

My final thought? If you want to engage in the business of writing, of publishing, and all that it entails, treat it like a business, not a hobby. Your audience will thank you for that.

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