We started working on income taxes this past weekend, and the process reminded me that it’s time to talk a bit more about the business of writing. Do you consider your writing a business? Should you? What difference does it make? Let’s start by having you answer a few questions –honestly, mind you, not what you think polite society expects you to say. Then we’ll look at what your answers say about you as a writer.
Here are your questions. Remember, I don’t want to see the answers, and no one else will see them, either. This is just you, the writer, talking to your honest self.
1. What kind of writing are you doing right now?
· A secret diary or journal that no one else will ever see.
· Absent-minded ramblings, in the hope that one of them will send you off chasing a new idea.
· Little vignettes that could become short stories.
· A recipe collection or family stories or local touristy notes.
· A “How-To” book.
· A scholarly study of an important topic.
· The Great American Novel.
2. Why are you writing?
· Because I can’t help it.
· Because I have something to say that no one else has said.
· Because I am trying to sort out my own feelings about a problem or issue.
· Because I want to save other people from making the same mistakes I did.
· Because I have a skill that I want to share.
· Because I love telling stories.
3. If you could choose your audience, who would your readers be?
· No one. This is private.
· Only my family and closest friends
· A local audience of people who are interested in the same subject.
· People who think like me.
· People who need my help and advice.
4. If your writing became a book, what format do you think it would take take?
· Just a copy of my dog-eared manuscript
· A glossy coffee table book with lots of pictures
· A professionally-published hardback (case-bound) book
· A paperback book sized to make it easy to carry around
· An ebook
· All of the above
5. What publishing services would you be willing to pay for?
· Nothing. I want to do it all myself, because it is my book.
· Substantive editing, with suggestions on how to improve the content
· Copy-editing to catch all the spelling and grammatical errors
· Help with layout and cover design
· Publicity and marketing assistance
· Guidance and hand-holding at every step of the way.
6. What is your ultimate goal?
· The satisfaction of completing the book(or essay, or poem, or collection)
· A book I can pass on to my friends, my family, and my neighbors.
· A publishing contract with a well-known publisher
· A published volume sitting on the shelf of my local library and/or bookstore
· A review of my book published in the local newspaper
· Best-seller status on Amazon
· Making the best-seller list in The New York Times
· Royalty checks coming in every month
7. What would you be willing to do to help sell your book?
· Increase your presence in social media outlets (Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, etc.)
· Write a blog several times a week to try to attract readers
· Join a writing group
· Send out press releases about your activities as a writer
· Go on a book tour, stopping in bookstores across the country to sell and sign your book (at your own expense).
· Volunteer to give talks at all sorts of civic organizations, libraries, and schools
· Pay for reviews
· Give your books away in hopes of increasing readership