Friday, May 11, 2018

Writing: Just Write?

There's an old joke about employing people with small hands to screw in a stubborn lightbulb, because "mini hands make light work." There are times when I'd like to have some of those hands working for me. I had no idea when I first began writing that this is a business, not a hobby--and there's a lot more to it than just choosing words and putting them on paper.

When I was under contract with a traditional publisher, they did a great deal of the marketing, although I found that quite often the things I lined up were more effective than an outside publicity entity. I had some input into cover design, but the final product was--at best--a joint effort in which I didn't make the final decision. And the editing of my manuscript was often "farmed out" to an independent editor--but I still had to respond to those edits and later check the galley proofs for errors. In other words, I still had to do things in addition to writing.

As an indie author, I can pay for a professional cover designer (well worth it) and an independent editor (also a valid expense, although some indie authors choose to skip that step). But I have to approve a cover, and as an editor once told me, it's my name that goes on the book, so how I respond to edits is up to me. In summary, the details of publication, including the how and when, fall to me. And that's when I long for those additional hands.

The trade-off? Better royalty payments for indie authors and more true independence. Is it worth it? Sometimes. Would I change? It varies from day to day. Is there more to writing than crafting a plot that holds the reader's attention? Definitely.

Unfortunately, along with the "Love your books" comments that come our way, authors sometimes get the question, "When's the next one coming out?" Do you now realize what goes on behind the scenes? I'd like to know.

Tweet with a single click. "Is there more to being a writer than putting the words down?"


Myra Johnson said...

Oh, I so relate! The "behind the scenes" stuff takes more time and thought than I ever imagined when I signed my first book contract! Even more so after taking some titles the indie route!

Richard Mabry said...

If we knew before that first book contract, some of us might have turned around and run the other way. Thanks for your comment.

Paula Shreckhise said...

I’m glad you are still writing and have found your niche. Blessings and continued success.

Priscilla Bettis said...

Do I know what goes on behind the scenes? Nope, wish I did. Some day!

Patricia Bradley said...

Then there are those days when you're working on edits and you're 40 pages to the end and realize you've been working on the wrong file...but I wouldn't rather do anything else, even like now when I've made sure the manuscript matches the original and I have to rewrite the whole ending because my editor said it sounded Hawaii 50ish. lol

Richard Mabry said...

Thanks to each of you for stopping by and commenting. Patricia, I'm glad to know that someone else has trouble keeping up with which story goes where--I had to look up a spreadsheet I keep on my computer to make certain the locale is right. Ah, there's so much more than just writing, isn't there?