S2/E6: The Business of Being a Writer by Jane Friedman
Hi everybody welcomed as season two episode six of the rookie writer show today. I'm looking at the business of being a writer by Jane Friedman. It's a two thousand eighteen book. Let me tell you a little bit about Jane Friedman. She's made a name for herself as a publishing expert for starters. She's the founder and Co editor of the hot sheet which is a newsletter monitoring publishing industry trends for aspiring and established authors like While the hot sheet requires an annual subscription of fifty nine bucks. She also has electric speed which is free and focuses on digital tools and resources for mostly for writers. She also speaks at writing events and conferences where I was lucky enough to meet her offers online classes and publishing related consulting and critiques on things like Query letters author websites and more an all these links are in the show notes so go look for him admittedly. I didn't read this whole book. But that's because it's so well organized the only reason you would need to read every word of this book if you're not sure yet what kind of writing you're interested in doing and you're still open to learning about all of them. In my case I know that I WANNA indie publish my novels. So I skipped the sections dealing with traditional book-publishing like queering for an agent for my book things like that and anything to do with nonfiction book publishing because I read fiction so things like submitting a book proposal. I want to submit my stories. Essays to traditional markets like literary journals and contests so I read the relevant sections there and produce a podcast which is essentially an audio blog. So I read that chapter. I plan to occasionally submit articles based on the research. I do for my novels and podcasts. So I read the sections related to publishing to trade journals and commercial magazines in March. Two talented writer friends of mine and I will be launching inkster author services and I'll be offering developmental edits and manuscript critiques. So I read the chapters related to freelance editing and freely And freelancing in general but I completely ignored the corporate media careers chapter because I know not open to that right now. Eventually I'll offer classes focused on productivity and craft for the genres in which I write so I read the chapter on teaching but I skimmed the sections that focused on teaching at the university level. Because I know that's not a good fit for me so you get the picture. This is all by way of saying that. There is a lot of good info in this book. But you probably won't need to read it. All here are my three things related to things that interest me for my writing career number one on the topic of indie versus traditional publishing. Not Too long ago. There simply wasn't a great option for taking the Indy Path in publishing but a couple of huge developments have happened in the industry to change that I print on demand or P. OD technology started producing books of quality rivals that of conventionally printed books. This means that now authors can publish their books without a huge investment for print run on the front end secondly Amazon decided to jump into the ring and like anything that Amazon decides to do it completely has ripple effects and changes everything so in the early twenty tens. They introduced the kindle direct program the Katie P program which allowed authors to directly published their books for free within a matter of hours versus the months or even years that it takes to traditionally published a novel and in turn the authors can also keep up to seventy percent of the sales price of their books. Which is a much higher royalty rate. Then again you get in the traditionally published arena So that's one at the same time. The big five traditional publishers were laying off people and there are now a huge number of experienced and talented editors and proofreaders. Who HAVE GONE FREELANCE? So in the author's can now avail themselves of the same sort of editing process that traditionally published books go through which is a good thing number two not so much has changed however when it comes to publishing your short stories and essays while there might be fewer printed journals than there once was there are more online outlets than ever and there's also more indie published. Short story anthologies. So if you're interested in publishing in this way the main thing to remember is that you are usually submitting the whole manuscript for consideration along with a cover letter. That hasn't changed and the cover letter should introduce your story. Share your relevant experiences and make the case for why you think your piece would be a good fit for this journal or contest. She includes a sampler to there are two developments worth noting in addition I the omnipresent submittal which has now become the standard for most literary journal. Submissions charges the journals for the use of their program so in turn these journals now. Charged writers a few bucks to help cover their expenses so while free. Submissions are still possible. They're not necessarily. The norm and small. Entry fee is no longer a red flag that you are submitting to a scam or Sham or journal. I should note that setting up a submittal. Count is both easy and free for writers. There is no monthly or annual subscription. Cost you'll only incur fees associated with the journals that you submit to okay. The second thing that's developed within this area of publishing to Traditionally publishing short stories and essays to literary journals like is that the days of only submitting a story to one time are mostly behind us. The lion's share of outlets now accept simultaneous submissions. Do Double Check the Journal or contest listings. Just in case you are happing upon one of them that doesn't but for the most part most journals and contests do accept simultaneous submission. So you don't have to wait to hear back on a story before sending it out somewhere else however once it is accepted somewhere. Make sure that you let the other journals no asap so that your name's not mud at that journal going forward okay. Just so that they don't get excited about it. Knife got two offers. And you don't know what to do because you've got you. You'RE GONNA have to disappoint somebody. Okay number three thing for me. The process for submitting articles to magazines and trade journals has probably changed. The least the process remains more or less the same as it's always been so unless you're assigned articles by a particular editor publication that you've developed a relationship with you'll pitch articles with the pitch process. You don't submit the manuscript for consideration but instead outlined the idea usually in an e mail Friedman recommends that your pitch reflect the style of the publication. You're targeting and in addition. She says it's important to leave with a strong short hook. Twenty five words or less demonstrate that you've done some of the key research or at least have access to it highlight any writing credentials. You have and list any expenses you expect will need to be covered for the To create story if any then prepare yourself for inevitable rejections because they are a normal part of freelance life even for in demand freelancers as soon as you get a rejection rework pitch and send it back out to another outlet again reflecting the vibe of that publication. Okay for your hack. I'm sure there was a million little tricks But I decided to go with more of a conceptual hack this time. So it is. I wanted to give you a succinct definition of platform. Because that's really what a lot of this comes to and so here's how she defines. It platform is an ability to secure paid writing opportunities or sell books products and services because of who you are or who you reach more thoughts on that. Here's another quote from. Her platform does not develop overnight. You aren't going to finish reading this book. Follow a three step formula and Presto have platform and be done not raiders platforms are developed in the same way or have exactly the same components. Think of your platform as a fingerprint. Your background education and Network Effect. What your platform looks like. In the beginning luck is also going to play a role but for most writers platform is an organic result of building visibility in their community and developing readership for their work. And that takes time. Okay the book is a very standard three hundred and twenty pages and packed packed full of detailed information on just about every type of writing stream or pursuit that you could think of. I've given you a mostly top view of three things that caught my attention for my career. But she's rate about walking you through the process of getting out there and just about every Writing Arena it's also great about including concrete examples of things like contracts query letters Pitch letters things like that. The thing I like about this week's book is that it gives you a lot to think about in terms of the directions. You WanNa go just putting together. This episode helped me fine tuned and be able to say in sync ways the types of writing interested in and the types that. I'm not the type I WANNA do right now and the types that I'll do later and that includes other products and services like editing or teaching classes and things like that. It's a great book one hundred percent recommended. I don't think you'll be sorry if you love Jane. Friedman another way that you can go is to obviously sign up for her free newsletter. You should absolutely do that. Think about signing up for the hot sheet. She also has a class on great courses called how to publish your book. Which again if you keep an eye on great courses. They have sales on things. If don't pay the full price that would be crazy. I hope this was helpful to you. Come back next week and here my three things and a hack and a quote from Lisa Crumbs how to nail the first pages which is a class on live so until then happy rating people.