Monday, October 29, 2012

Getting the Hang of the Business End of Things

by Elizabeth S. Craig, @elizabethscraig

I’m not going to say that all writers are a little foggy when it comes to the business side of writing. But I will say that many writers are tentative when it comes to business.

I’m one of those writers. I read a lot (a lot) of articles on the business end of publishing. If there’s a post on taxes and writers, I’m reading it. A series on decoding contracts and royalty statements? I’m all over it.

Still…it’s tough. One reason it’s tough is because I have an agent that handles the business end. And that’s a poor excuse for me not to follow what’s going on, so I’ve been trying to bring myself up to speed.

Every few months, I’ve gotten notices from my agent about different things that have happened with editions of my books—last week I heard that one of my books was selected for a book-of-the month club. I hear about audio editions being made, about large-print editions, and foreign editions of some titles.

What do I have to do with any of these deals? Absolutely nothing. I did have to approve of the book-of-the-month club arrangement (not sure why my okay was needed). I wasn’t even aware these deals were in the works until they were all arranged.

Now I’m branching off and doing self-publishing as well as traditional, and I’m realizing I need to pay more attention. I started by asking myself some questions:

Why haven’t I arranged any print editions for my self-published books?

Why haven’t I checked into creating audio books?

Why do I have one of my books available solely on Nook and Kindle?

What can I do to broaden my exposure on Amazon UK and into other overseas markets? Why haven’t I addressed this so far?

The answer to most of the questions is: because I don’t have any time. :) This is compounded by the fact that I’m not sure what I’m doing—and it will take a little time to figure out how to approach these different areas.

I think if I put this stuff down on my to-do list, break it down into manageable steps, and lump it in with my promo time each day I can start branching out a little bit more.

And there are resources available to learn more. (And you can find many more by searching on the Writer’s Knowledge Base.)

Audio book info:

On “The Writing Bomb” blog: “Creating Audio Books is Easy Peasy Lemon Squeezy”

On “Writer’s Fun Zone” : Making Audio Books From Your Novels

On “The Writer’s Guide to E-Publishing”: How Does Audio Book Narration Work?

Multiple Sources of Writing Income (Expanding our Markets)

Dean Wesley Smith’s blog: Killing the Sacred Cows of Publishing: You Can’t Make Money Writing Fiction

The Tribal Writer blog: How a writer (or other creative) can develop multiple sources of revenue, part two

Print On Demand (Print Copies of Our Ebooks):

Dean Wesley Smith’s blog: The New World of Publishing: Reasons for a Trade Paper Edition

Bob Mayer’s blog: Why is Cool Gus Publishing switching from Lightning Source to CreateSpace?

Let’s Get Digital: Making Money From Paperbacks

Blood Red Pencil: Which is Right for You - Lightning Source, CreateSpace, or Both?

What’s on your to-do list that isn’t particularly creative or is completely business-related? How do you make time to knock them out?