Wednesday, November 15, 2017

When You're An Author, The Squeaky Wheel Gets The Grease

There is a complaint I've fielded many times, and it comes in a pretty wide variety. Sometimes it's, "Why are you always posting your stuff in this group? Why don't you go start your own page?!" Other times it's, "Dude, stop spamming your Patreon. If you've gotta beg for money, maybe you should go get a real job!" Every now and again it's, "Hey, just so you know, I blocked all your ads to be sure you don't get paid when I look at your content."

Boiled down, the most basic form of the complaint is, "Shut up!"

I WILL LOUDLY TELL YOU HOW MUCH I DON'T CARE!!!
Generally speaking, I agree with all the folks who complain about how often I have to get up on a soap box to talk about what I do. Believe me, I would absolutely adore having a career successful enough that there was a legion of fans waiting with bated breath for my latest release so they could run off to social media and tell all their friends about how amazing my work was. Because if I had a following so big that everything I put out got tens of thousands of views, and I had a few thousand bucks rolling in every month from Patreon, believe me, I would just quietly work while the audience did the hard work of marketing for me.

And you know, every now and again that happens. Sometimes I'll write a post, and before I can pop over to a Facebook group to share it, someone else has already started a discussion. One time I woke up, ready to tell folks about a new book release, and I found someone had already tagged me, and there were half a dozen congratulations. But that isn't normal. Most of the time I have to go over to my social media pages, get up on my box, and shout as loud as I can in a digital medium to persuade someone in the crowd to come over and see all this work I'm doing.

Why do I have to do that? Well...

Algorithms Suck, And You Have To Repeat Yourself


Real talk, here. I've got about 665 followers on my Facebook page at time of writing. Not a lot, but not bad for an Internet nobody. Now, this is a group of people who have chosen to follow my page of their own free will. By clicking the follow button, they have told Facebook they are interested in what I have to say. So you'd think that, when I make a post there, my followers would see it.

Ah my sweet Summer child. You know not what lurks in the wastes of social media.
It's possible that's how Facebook worked, in the long ago and far away. But today, if I make a post on my author page, my reach is severely limited. An average post will reach between 74 and 150 people. A popular post, one where my followers actually see, like, comment, and share what I put up, might reach as many as 400 people. Once I even reached 500, but that was an occasion so rare that I can still specifically recall it.

So, despite having a couple hundred followers, an average post from me might show up on 100 of their news feeds. Using the rule of 10 percent, only about ten of those followers will interact with that post. That is a very small drop in a very big bucket. So I have to post to my personal page, to group pages, to Reddit, to Google +, to Tumblr, to Twitter, and to anywhere else I can find.

Unfortunately, if you want to get noticed, you've got to put your message in as many places as you can reach, because only a fraction of the people are going to see it. And of those who see it, only a fraction of them are going to interact with it.

The Squeaky Wheel Really Does Get The Grease, Though


For some people, a post is only spam when the person repeats the same thing every day. For others it's when someone posts more than once a week. And for a rather vocal minority, any time a person posts about their own work at all, it should be labeled as spam.

You can't please everyone, though, and you shouldn't bother trying to. Instead, make sure that you set your speaking platform up in such a way that you're in compliance with a group's promotion rules, and do your best to get noticed. Give a good speech, provide a good product, and if someone wants to start taking shots at you, be professional. If you do that, I promise that you will start to find an audience. Not only that, but if you ask the people interacting with your content to do something, there's a better than average chance they'll do it.

Which, really, is pretty good odds.
Try it. Ask people to share this post if they liked it. Ask them to follow you on Facebook, Tumblr, and Twitter if they like what you're doing. And ask them to become patrons by going to your Patreon page to donate at least $1 a month.

Most importantly, though, you have to keep asking. Because, as I mentioned before, you're going to miss a lot of people on any given sweep. But people who didn't see your first request might see the second, or the third, or the fourth. If you keep squeaking, sooner or later folks are going to grease you up. Especially when it's clear they can't shut you up.

That's all for this week's Business of Writing. Just remember, when people start trying to shout you down, keep your voice raised. Someone's hearing you.

Thursday, November 9, 2017

Just Change One Thing (A Simple Formula For Modern Fantasy)

If you're trying to write a modern fantasy story, you might feel a bit overwhelmed. After all, what do you let in, and what do you keep out? Does your world have vampires? And if you do, are there werewolves as well? What about angels and demons? And if you allow them in, do you keep things old testament, or do you let in all the pagan gods along with their hosts of spirits? Does your world have magic, and if so, what kind? Or do you have several different kinds, each with their own history, philosophy, and requirements?

Take a deep breath... You don't have to make this so complicated.
Stop. If you find yourself in this situation, just stop.

Now, put your gears in reverse, and go back to the beginning. Make one change, and see where that gets you.

Avoiding Kitchen Sink Settings


Let's be real, some authors are perfectly comfortable with a kitchen sink setting. They've got everything in their world, and they can explain it effortlessly to the audience in a way that is easy to digest, and which makes everything seem wondrous and vibrant. However, something a lot of us seem to forget is that not all of us can pull that off. So, if you find yourself getting overwhelmed trying to make your modern fantasy setting vibrant and unique, do yourself a favor and keep the floodgates closed.

Instead, change one thing. Flick one element, and see what sort of ricochets it makes throughout the world.

One change is usually enough for most settings.
Take the standard zombie apocalypse scenario. Whether it's what we see in Night of The Living Dead, or the near-future setting of The Newsflesh Trilogy, there was one change made to the world we know and love; the dead get up, and hunger for the living. Everything else in this setting revolves around that singular difference, and the world's response to it.

If you want to make a setting where you can focus on your story, while also making everything feel unique and surreal without feeling crammed, follow that same logic. Change one thing, and then follow the ripples to see where they go.

As a for-instance, let's say there are people who have learned the secrets of ancient magics, and can wield them from the shadows. Their doings are kept private, and secret, known only to a few, and believed by even fewer. So you have a world where strange, inexplicable instances suddenly take on sinister meanings, and where agents of those learned in the secret ways go forth to do their master's bidding. What you have here is Harry Potter, if it had a baby with Jason Bourne. The intrigue and escape of a secret world where magic is real, but where only a privileged few know about it. Thus you can reveal, or not reveal, as much as you want through those who are in-the-know. Same way spy novels work, giving you access to the world beneath the world where only spies and operatives tend to lurk.

You don't have to throw ancient gods, fairy tale monsters, demons, or vampires into that mix... magic and skullduggery creates a unique enough setting on its own that you don't have to hang twelve lampshades on it to stand out. More importantly, though, there's less stuff for you to keep track of, and for your audience to have to learn. Because you're essentially giving your readers a crash course in your world, its language, and the rules it runs on. The fewer things they have to keep track of, the less chance there is they'll get confused, overwhelmed, or find cracks in the foundation.

It's Not For Everyone


To reiterate, this is just one way of doing things. It isn't inherently better, or worse, than any others. But if you keep finding the disparate elements of your world rising up to overwhelm you, then maybe you should remove some of those elements entirely. After all, if you've got your audience hooked with, "Club DJ necromancer has to survive death threats from fireball gang to uncover what really happened that night in a Brooks Street alley," then adding in vampires or werewolves won't, necessarily, make that better.

It will, though, make it more complicated. That might not be what your story, or your audience, needs.

That's all for this week's Craft of Writing post. It's a day late, for which I apologize, but I'm getting prepped for Windy Con. So, if you find yourself attending, feel free to track me down to say hello! Also, if you want to stay up-to-date on my latest releases, follow me on Facebook, Tumblr, and Twitter. Lastly, if you want to help support me and my work, head over to The Literary Mercenary's Patreon page to toss a little love in my cup. For as little as $1 a month, I'll even send you some free books as a thank you.

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

Getting People's Attention Builds Your Base (And Fills Your Pockets)

Have you ever seen A Nightmare on Elm Street? Even if you haven't, you're probably familiar with the series' villain, the infamous Freddy Krueger. A horribly burned phantom, Krueger haunted the dreams of an entire generation of characters, dispensing brutal, vicious death as they slept. The challenge for the heroes became fighting sleep itself, staying out of the murderous ghost's realm as long as they could.

That setup was a lot of fun on its own, but there was something else that made Krueger unique as a villain; the source of his power. While some spirits drew power from their rage, or from the blood spilled in their haunt, Krueger's power was drawn directly from his own legend. The more people who knew his name, and his story, the stronger he became.

A silly story, maybe, but it still has a hold on your imagination.
While that's an essentially inspired twist on the Don't Say His Name trope, it's also a handy way for me to explain what it's like being an author. Because, for the most part, we tend to be ghoulish creatures with strange gimmicks who play on the emotional sensitivities of a particular brand of victim. Also, our power grows in direct proportion to how many people know who we are, what we do, and who talk about us.

Spread The Legend


In all seriousness, though, this is how you maintain your career as an author. Publish or perish is not just something we say to sound cool. Because as soon as we stop putting out content, and people stop talking about us, we fall out of the public eye. And in the darkness of obscurity, with no one reading our books, checking out our blogs, or stopping by our channels, we wither and die.

Put another way, being the center of attention is what puts you bucks up.

How many times did they say your name today?
Note that I say attention, but don't qualify it as good attention or bad attention. Because, at the end of the day, there really isn't such a thing as bad press. Especially when you consider that the Internet seems to run on outrage.

So, on the one hand, it's nice to sit down on a popular show to talk with a host who is cooing over your latest release to their thousands of fans. On the other hand, you can get shot to the top ten on Amazon's bestseller list if you're slapped with a viral cease and desist order by Jack Daniels (more on that story in Will Self Publishing Work For You? Maybe... If You're Lucky!).

Because whether you're getting glowing praise, or you're an Internet-wide trash fire, people are going to show up to see what's going on. And if they're already standing there, chances are good they're going to tell their friends about you, and they might buy a tee shirt and a copy of your book while they're at it. Even if it's just to see what all the fuss and hype is about.

Keep The Whisper Stream Going


If you have an author you love, and whom you want to keep coming back time and time again, then take a moment to follow the advice I put out in Care and Feeding of Your Author. You should, of course, buy their books. However, there's other stuff you can do to help keep the legend alive. Follow their social media pages, for example, and like the posts they make. Share their work with family and friends, and leave reviews on all the big websites telling everyone how much you like their books.

Also, feel free to reach out to the authors you like with some words of encouragement. Let them know they aren't just screaming into the void; you're listening, eagerly, for what they put out next.

Seriously, that's more important than we let on a lot of the time.
That's all for this week's Business of Writing. Hopefully it got your attention, and gave you something to think about. If you'd like to stay up-to-date on all my releases, then follow me on Facebook, Tumblr, and Twitter. Lastly, if you want to show some love, head over to The Literary Mercenary's Patreon page to put a few bucks in my tip jar. For as little as $1 a month, I'll even send you some free books as a thank you!

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

5 Tips For Making Character Relationships More Believable

You've created the best possible character for your book. They're deep, rich, full of history and unusual skills, and they immediately intrigue anyone who hears their pitch. The problem you're running into, though, is that whenever this character tries to interact with people who are supposedly important to them things feel forced, stilted, or just silly. In short, even when they're having coffee with a childhood friend, or expressing how much they love their partner, it comes across like a scripted cliche more than a genuine moment.

Tell me, husband, what did you do while I was off fighting space aliens?
You know these issues when you see them. Whether it's in comics, TV, movies, or books, you can tell when the writers just didn't put as much thought into characters' relationships with other people as they did into the characters themselves. They expected the declaration of love, importance, etc. to just be accepted on its face.

If you're looking for shortcuts to make these relationships feel real, though, here are some simple ones to keep in mind.

#1: They Know How Another Characters Likes Their Coffee


You can really use any sort of food preference here, but by showing that one character knows, and considers, another character's preferences, you're showing that they have a pre-existing relationship. One version of this shorthand is when a character's friend has had a hard night, so the character brews up some coffee, and then adds milk, sugar, and a dollop of honey just the way their friend likes it. Or they know what brand of beer their friend likes (doubly important if they're a beer snob), or they remember what food allergies someone has. It shows they've known each other for a while, and that the character cares enough to pay attention, and remember, things that matter to their friend.

#2: They Have A Ritual Just Between Them


If you've known someone for a long time, chances are good you have your own language. You might have pet names for each other, a particular kind of hand jive, or you clasp forearms like the barbarian heroes of old. For a good example, just look at Predator. You know that scene where Dutch and Dillon slap hands, and then arm wrestle to prove how manly they are? While immediately showing us that Arnold Schwarzenegger looks better in his 40s than we will ever look, it also shows us the characters have a history, that they're old friends, and that time has changed them since they last saw each other. All of it contained in that single ritual we never see them go through with any other characters, implying as we go that they were particularly close friends.

#3: They Know Each Other's Tics


We've all had those moments where we thought we were being sly, or keeping a poker face, but as soon as we were out of ear shot of passersby our friend looked at us and says, "All right, what's the matter?" When we protest that nothing's wrong, they fold their arms, and remind us of a tell we have that no one else would pick up on. They way our tone of voice changes slightly, or how we get quiet unless someone is asking us questions, or even how we rub that lucky coin with our thumb when we think no one will notice. If you want to show that characters know each other, make it hard for them to hide their true feelings. You also have to explain how the one character knew. You don't want us to think they're psychic, after all... unless they are.

#4: Show Us They Matter


It's easy to put words in your characters' mouths so they tell us their children mean everything to them, or that they love their spouse more than life itself. That's melodramatic, but it's the kind of melodrama we tend to accept. If you want to be more subtle, show us the ways characters have meaning in others' lives (even if the characters are dead). When your protagonist gets advice from her father, does she follow it, or discount it entirely? When there's a shooting reported, do they text their daughter to make sure they're okay? If they lose someone, what things set off that grief? Is it the sight of their spouse's craft box, half rolled out from under a desk? Is it a particular song they always sang? Is it a certain smell? Show us those things, and give us a flash of insight as to why those things are instantly associated with this other character.

#5: Make Sacrifices


When we think of sacrificing for the ones we love in stories, we tend to think of the big, sweeping gestures. Something bad happens, so you drop everything to track down the terrorists who kidnapped your kid, a la Taken. However, the truth of how much you care about someone is often written in small sacrifices, rather than big ones. Does your protagonist cancel dates, or call off work, to go take care of friends or family? Are they willing to show up as moral support when that character is having a tough time? Do they get angry when woken up by a phone call at two in the morning, or are they concerned because their son would only call like that if it was an emergency?

Make Us Believe


If you want us to buy that your character is an ex-special forces soldier, you'd adjust the way they talk, and the skills they possess, to reflect that career. If you want us to believe they're a competent detective, you'd show us how they go about investigating crimes. So, if you want to drive home that these relationships with other characters are genuine, you need to start small. Because it's not always about taking a bullet to save your loved one from getting shot... sometimes it's about reading your kid a bed time story to establish that, yes, you do love them, and they love you back.

That's all for this week's Craft of Writing. Hopefully there are some folks out there who found it helpful. If you enjoyed it, why not follow me on Facebook, Tumblr, and Twitter? And, if you've got a few extra Washingtons you could spare, consider heading over to The Literary Mercenary's Patreon page. All it takes is $1 a month to make a difference, and to get yourself some free books as a thank you.

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

5 Ways Writers Are A Lot Like Prostitutes

They're skilled, glamorous, exotic, and more than a little edgy. You watch them on the Internet, and you listen to interviews with them, and you think that, maybe, you could do what they do. Some day.

I'm technically talking about being a writer, but I suppose the same thing could apply to being a high-class escort.

You want a package deal, or are we going by the word, here?
I've had a long week, and I'm feeling a little ragged round the edges. So I thought I'd do something that's mostly silly, but with a grain of truth lodged in the middle of it to kind of hold the premise together. So, let's get started, shall we?

#1: We Have An "Exotic" Profession


Let's get the low-hanging fruit out of the way first. If you're a writer, and especially if you write some kind of fiction, you're seen as something unusual by people who never venture too far out of the realms of normalcy. People are often impressed, thinking that writers are men and women who live in unusual places, like communes by the sea, or forgotten manor houses in New England. They can't believe that we're people, and we do things like shop for pants, meet for breakfast, or go to the gym.

Sort of the same with prostitutes. People know they exist, but they sort of forget that they take off their work clothes, and go back to being normal people when their job is done.

#2: People Can't Believe We Get Paid For That


Psh, they get paid how much to do that? Well, hell, how hard can it be? I do that for free, and I've never had any complaints.

I'm sure that sex workers will hear this diatribe a lot more often than writers do, but we're no strangers to the spiel. Because a lot of people write in their free time, and they happen to think they're pretty good. But they don't seem to realize there's a big difference between the stories you share with your partner in the privacy of your own home, and the leap it takes to do it full-time. Whether you're in the mood, or not.

#3: We Don't Make Anywhere Near What You Think We Do


I blame TV for this one. The only depictions we ever seem to get on most shows (even on a lot of cop dramas), is writers with literal millions to throw around on whatever whimsical thing they feel like doing. Even in old-fashioned shows like Murder She Wrote, the writer in question never seems to be hurting for resources, despite being independently employed, and a senior citizen, meaning all those health bills are coming out of her pocket.

Prostitutes get a lot of the same rap in our fiction. Because while we see plenty of independents getting booked, or becoming victim of the week, the recurring characters all seem to be madams, high-priced call girls, or similarly glamorous, independent women (never seem to be a lot of men, but I don't watch as much TV as I used to).

Even the best of us aren't making that much cash. And those who are, man, they know how to hustle.

#4: People Can't Believe We Expect Them To Pay For Service


What do you mean you're gonna charge me? Come on, we're friends, aren't we? Really? Seriously, it will take you, like, half an hour!

If you're good at something, never do it for free. While that might be how the saying goes, the world seems to think the exact opposite most of the time. People are more than willing to acknowledge your skill, and that you are the best they know at the trade... but they will still pitch a fit if you expect them to pay rates like some kind of client!

#5: Clients Don't Want To Hear No


Now, this one is a serious issue, and I wanted to take a moment to point that out. People who are not willing to take no for an answer is one of the primary ways sex workers are put in danger by their clients, and it's also one of the primary causes of sexual harassment.

With that said, I've lost track of the number of clients who seem to develop selective deafness when it comes to things I won't do. Whether it's genres I don't work in, being vague about when and how I'll be paid, or me pointing out that what they're asking for is way beyond the scope of what I'm willing to do, they've settled in their minds that it's my job to make their vision into a reality. They just seem to forget that I have to agree to take the job for that to happen.

While this might have been a silly Business of Writing entry, hopefully some folks found it amusing. Next week we're back to Craft, and I'll be talking about much more serious subjects. If you enjoyed this post, and you want to keep up to date on my work, follow me on Facebook, Tumblr, and Twitter. Lastly, if you want to toss some support my way, head over to The Literary Mercenary's Patreon page.

Monday, October 9, 2017

Want To Be A Better Writer? Make A Lot of Pots!

There is a story that makes the rounds from time to time on social media. You can find the full version in The Best Way To Learn Something? Makes Lots of Pots, but I've included a paraphrased version of the story for those who don't like to click exterior links.

One semester, a pottery teacher cut her class in half. She said that students in the first half would be given the entire semester to make a single pot, and that pot would be the entirety of their grade. Students in the second half of the class, though, would be judged purely by how many completed pots they made. The first half of the class threw themselves into their research, reading about method, and studying those who'd come before. They experimented with different techniques, but rarely for very long. The second half of the class, by comparison, got out their clay, and got to work. Good, bad, pretty, ugly, didn't matter to them. The question was whether the pot was done, and if it was, if they had the time and energy to start another one.

Yeah, you pretty much know where this one's going.
Since you are all very intelligent readers (as evidenced by your choice to patronize this blog), you probably guessed that the students who made a great deal of pots were better at the craft than the students who tried forever, laboring over the one, perfect pot.

The lesson, translated for writers, is that you're better off writing a lot, than trying to write perfectly. Even if it's bad. Even if it's ugly. Even if you know you can do better. You're better off learning how to go from A to B, and actually completing something than you are striving for months to do it once, and to do it perfectly.

Practice Makes Permanent


It's an old saw, but it's one that plays the right tune. If you want to be a better writer, you have to write. Yes you need to understand story structure, pacing, character building, world building, evocative language, dialogue, and the thousands of other things, but the best way to get an understanding of all that is to sit down, and bleed all over your keyboard a time or twelve. As I said in If You Write One Story, It May Be Bad. If You Write A Hundred, The Odds Are In Your Favor, the best way to become a better writer is through strain, sweat, and work.

Hello, my old razor. Shall we get started?
There are no shortcuts. Just as there is no magic pill you can swallow, or miracle device you can strap to your stomach to give you 6-pack abs, there is no guide you can read, or technique you can follow, that will make you a better author. The only way you're going to look like an action hero is to get off the couch, eat your protein, and work out like a mad bastard. The only way you're going to become a better writer is if you sit down in front of your device, and start putting words on the page.

Even if they aren't the best words, or you're pretty sure other people could do it better, put them on the page. Keep putting them on the page until you reach the end. Edit it, and when it's complete, set it aside, and start on a new one.

You've got a lot of pots to make.

That's all for this week's Craft of Writing installment. Second verse same as the first, but what was true the first time is just as true the second time. If you want to keep up on my updates, follow me on FacebookTumblr, and Twitter. And if you want to help support my work, head over to The Literary Mercenary's Patreon Page. If you pledge at least $1 a month, I'll make sure to send some free books your way as a thank you!

Wednesday, October 4, 2017

Professional Writers Know How To Monetize Their Work (That's What Makes Them Professionals)

I've met a lot of folks over the years who have told me they want to be professional writers. Some wanted to be bloggers, some wanted to write novels, others wanted to write comics, and a few wanted to contribute to roleplaying games, but all of them wanted to quit their day jobs and write full-time. In my limited observation, there was a major factor between those who saw at least some success, and in those who never even got onto their tiptoes.

It was, what I like to call, the Rumpelstiltskin factor.

Let go of the Benjamin, or I will destroy everything you've ever loved!
You see, most of the folks I talked to had ideas. Some of them had outlines, and a few of them actually had words on the page. One or two of them had complete projects just laying around. Out of that "most" group, people seemed to lack the understanding that all the straw they'd made wasn't going to spin itself into gold. They understood the writing part, but either didn't know (or didn't want to know) how to monetize their work once it was done.

That is, when you get down to the brass tacks, the only difference between the professional and the amateur.

Wanting To Do Something Is More Important Than Knowing How


Quick aside here. Have you ever known anyone who smoked? I mean a couple of packs a day, does a decent impression of a Mack truck smoking? You have, good. Well, if you wanted to make that person quit smoking, what do you think would be a better solution? A gross ad campaign showing diseased lungs and all kinds of raw tumors? Or short vignettes explaining how to actually quit?

If you guessed the second one, you're tragically wrong.

Well, shit.
Motivation to do something is often more important than knowing how to do it, as Cracked pointed out in 5 Ways You're Sabotaging Your Own Life (Without Knowing It). If you want to lose weight and get in shape, you will figure out how to make that a reality. Even if you can't afford a gym membership, and have limited resources to cut out in your diet. If you want to quit smoking, you will do your own research, and figure out what you need to do. As long as you have someone pointing a mental gun at you to get it done.

I point this out because a lot of folks who want to write professionally claim they don't know how to take their talent, and turn it into money. That's a fair point, especially if you're just starting out. However, if you have access to the Internet, you should have a pretty firm grasp on your options with about a month's worth of research (and that's being generous). Figuring out how Amazon's Create Space works only takes about half an hour (with an hour or two tacked on if you read the entire manual, cover to cover). There are places on Facebook, Tumblr, Reddit, and god only knows how many other social media sites where you can pop up, and ask the community to throw how-to resources at you. Resources like Questions Beginning Writers Ask (That Experienced Writers Are Tired of Hearing), or 5 Signs You're Dealing With A Vanity Publisher.

A week of dedicated reading will make you as expert as you can get. Without actually doing the job, that is.

Go In, Guns Blazing


Something that isn't often touched on, I think, is that being a professional writer is more than just getting paid to indulge yourself all the time. You aren't writing a story, and only when it's complete asking how you're going to turn it into a rent check.

That's something you need to know (or at least have an idea about) before you put a single word on the page.

It's an easier habit to get into than you think.
As an example, let's say you're writing a hard sci-fi novel. By the time you finish the pre-writing/outline phase (everyone's got their own process), you should already know where you're going to send this manuscript once it's ready for print. If you're going for traditional publishers, you should already know which ones will accept your genre and estimated word count, and you should have at least three or four back-ups in case the first one says no. You should also be familiar with your self-publishing options, and how those options work, in case you choose to go that route instead.

You can swap out the variables here, but it's pretty much the same process. If you're writing an article for a website, you should know how it will be categorized, and have some idea of the popularity of the search terms and subject matter you're touching on. If you're putting together a comic pitch, you need to know who you're going to reach out to for an attempted sale. If you've got a script for a film, you need to have a list of people you're going to call once it's ready for a reading.

This gets a lot easier once you've got some published pieces under your belt, and you start getting a feel for the publishing world's rhythms. But that experience is a lot easier to get when you sit down at your desk, not as an auteur, but as someone who is here to do a job, and sell a product. Because, at the end of the day, that's what you're doing. Standing on the side of the information superhighway, with your hat on the ground, trying to tell people a story.

The Job Is Never Over


Some folks say that they don't want to write anymore as soon as they think of it as a job. Once it's something they have to do, rather than something they want to do, it's just work. That's an important thing to know about yourself before you take a swing at this industry.

Because, as the song says, it's a fun job, but it's still a job. And if you come to work, you're going to get much better results than if you come to play.

That's all for this week's Business of Writing post. If you like it, and you want to keep up on my latest, then follow me on Facebook, Tumblr, and Twitter. Lastly, if you want to toss a little coin in my cup, check out The Literary Mercenary's Patreon page. All it takes is a post of at least $1 a month, and I'll be sure to send some swag your way as a thank you!