Thinking Like a Professional

Several years ago, I had the vague dream (and it was a dream, not a goal) of Writing a Book. In last few years I’ve found the writing the book part to actually be pretty easy. It gets easier with every book I write (So far, I’ve written three novels, and I plan to indie publish the third). In that time, I’ve gone from considering writing as a hobby I do for fun to seeing as the activity I’d like to be able to make a living from. While it’s not likely, I would like to be able to say, “I’ve never had a job.”

In that time, I’ve had to do a lot of learning. I’m still learning; making my writing better, learning the truth about New York publishing, learning the indie publishing process, and many other topics related to the business of writing.

The problem with many young writers such as myself (and I mean in skill level, not necessarily physical age) is big publishing has made it appear to writers that what they do is not a business. Based on how publishers treat new writers, it as if they’re saying, “You’re lucky we picked your book up, little writer.” It’s something that comes up on many publishing blogs, how New York essentially holds writers in contempt and gives them exploitative contract terms.

They can get away with this because they know a writer will probably be so enamored with getting a book published they don’t think as a business person with their own interests. Always be ready to walk away from the table is a piece of business advice my father gave me, and it’s a piece of advice I take to heart, especially in publishing.
I wish traditional publishing was a fair business. I would like to live the romantic ideal of living off a good advance and royalties. Unfortunately, I have to think like a professional. Being a working writer is not an easy goal. But if it was easy, anyone could do it.

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