Friday, May 3, 2013

You Know This IS A Business

I am not sure why this is, but there's a common portrayal of artists as being devoid of business sense. The stereotypical author is some creative sort who holes up in some garret perfecting his art while ducking calls from his/her long-suffering agent who wants to nag about this or that missed deadline. Likewise people get the impression that an artiste is some elevated form of human who can't be bothered with the mundane.

Good luck with making that work for you.

The first thing the writer should do is write. And the second thing s/he should do is be a reliable business partner. If you promise you'll write something, remember that a promise made is a debt unpaid.

Now, being a reliable business partner does not mean you wear striped pants like Mr. Monopoly or smoke fat cigars. It isn't being J. R. Ewing and stabbing the other guy in the back. Or it shouldn't be. Being a reliable business partner has more to do with character, keeping your promises, and doing your best on a consistent basis.

Henry Cloud wrote a book, Integrity, wherein he says that success in any endeavor is a mix of three things. You have to know your stuff. You have to inspire trust in those you work with. AND you need the character not to screw it all up. People engage in self-sabotaging behavior all the time. If you're young and pretty, your encounters with the legal system can be the source of a lot of free tabloid publicity. These hijinks will give people reasons to look for Someone Else.

Would you put money at risk in any venture whose success depends upon Lindsay Lohan staying out of jail/rehab, or Charlie Sheen not dying of some drug overdose?

When you decide you want to get a book deal, that's the sort of thinking that will be going through potential agents and editors? Will this guy be a pain in the butt? Can this gal deliver a salable manuscript when I need it?

Sorry, but you've got to grow up a little bit in one corner of your life. The New York Times keeps track of the best SELLING authors, not the best WRITING authors. The most successful self-published author (in my opinion) of the Kindle/Nook ebook era is John Locke. He describes how he sold a million ebooks by doing all the things he did while building a successful insurance business. If you don't look too close, you'll see reminders of Amway's multi-level marketing.

The biggest successes in the near future of writing will include those who know how to put together a grass-roots sales organization. And then manage their writing and (perhaps) self-publishing as a business enterprise. Even if you go with a traditional publisher, they'll be looking at your "author's platform" to provide an unpaid adjunct to their own advertising and promotional departments.

So, you'd better set about to minding your business.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Those more worthy than I: