Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Writing is a Business

There once was a time when all an author had to do was worry about their writing. They stayed holed up in their office, chain smoking, frantically bent over an IBM Stylus II (that's a typewriter for all of you born after 1982). At least that's the image I have in my head, a type of Truman Capote-ish wonderland where the work was all that mattered. I'm sure that is all a part of my own feverish imagination. But it's nice to have a dream.

That was a long time ago. These days authors have more on their plates than just churning out engaging stories. They also have to worry about promotions and websites and blogs and all manner of non-writing activities. That can be hard to balance. Especially of you're like me and you have a full time job and a life. Okay, okay, I exaggerated about the whole 'having a life' thing.

Now some people, like La Nora, either don't do a lot of promotion or they can afford to hire people to do the job for them. But promotion is a HUGE part of a contemporary author's life. Whatever the genre you're in.

This mean making bookmarks and magnets and ordering pens and creating book trailers. In my opinion, part of the reason for this is Americans are reading less. According to some study that I read last year, less than 50% of us even read a novel last year. In fact, I think it was closer to 25%. Another reason is the rise of e-pubs. Now don't get me wrong. I love e-pubs. They are the main source for the erotica that I read. But there is something about the feel of a book in your hand, the smell of a bookstore or a library. It brings such a sense of contentment, it's indescribable. But we'll get to that later.

Even agents want to know that you're serious about your craft. They look for people who have websites and blogs and are members of their genre-specific writer's associations (Like RWA). They want you in critique groups.

This is a delicate balancing act that all authors are coping with. It's why I have this blog. And why I'm working on a website. It's par for the course. And I've never played golf.

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