Friday, August 11, 2006

The Business of Writing

Because of the internet, there’s a lot of information out there about who’s selling, which genre’s are popular and what is not selling. It’s taken a lot of the mystery out of the publishing process, which is a very good thing.
There’s no longer any excuse for author’s to plead ignorance. My take on this is if you want a career as a writer, understand at least the fundamentals about the business. Take an interest.
I know I’ve made some stupid mistakes out of ignorance. Mistakes that have at a minimum cost me time. Mistakes I intend to learn from. And the problem is, I SHOULD have known better.
What do I know now?
Understand the different publishing houses at a minimum. Who the editors are, if you plan to submit to those houses, better still , what are their preferences, and which books have they bought recently.
You don’t have to attend Nationals to know this. It’s all available over the internet. A great resource is Karen Fox’s website, or subscribe to Publisher’s Weekly.
There are a lot of authors out there who very generously publish all they know on their blogs.
If you plan on being agented, know the different agents in the marketplace. What they’ve sold recently, who they represent. BEFORE submitting to them. Everyone’s heard that a bad agent is worse than no agent at all. It’s true.
Simple stuff, but I’m sometimes surprised the questions I see asked on loops, at chapter meetings.
As writers we have so little power over our books once they’re written. We stand on the sidelines, fingers crossed, hoping someone will take an interest in our work, and by extension, us.
Knowing what’s going on out there, career planning before we sell, making educated decisions, this is how we reclaim some of that power.


Simon said...

Good advice.

Maureen McGowan said...

Great post Sinead... And when I started on this writers journey you were the most informed about the industry of anyone I know.

Molly O'Keefe said...

She's still the most informed person I know...I think it's a hard thing to do for most writers. We want to pretend that it doesn't matter or that we don't care but the power of being informed is a good point Sinead. Thank God I found you two.

Sara Hantz said...

Crcking post Sinead! I've learned a lot about the industry from people like you - as well as making my own mistakes.

Sinead M said...


I wish I hadn't had to make the mistakes...but I can safely say, I've learnt from them.

And there are some smart people in this business who are really generous about sharing their knowledge, and have taught me a lot.

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