misha_mcg (misha_mcg) wrote,

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Know Thy Biz

Know Thy Biz

There are a lot of people who write fiction. It's not that uncommon a hobby. What is uncommon, unfortunately, is finding people who know the business as well as the art.

The writer friends I have are split about equally between people who write and know the business inside and out, and people who write and have no clue how to get published, even though they want to get published. This latter group sort of astounds me. If you really are serious about getting your stuff published, knowing the icky details of the business is part of your job.

And it's not a particularly hard job, either.

Start at Duotrope. If you want to publish short fiction, Duotrope has everything you need to begin getting submissions out there.
When you reach the next step, it's time to look at sites like Writer Beware.

And in between, read authors' blogs or sites and forums about writing. Learn about copyright, about agents, about sales figures and how much of a cut an agent should take and who some good independent publishers are. Go to a workshop or a convention - or both.

The point is, no matter how talented you are, this shit doesn't happen by magic. There's no one out there who's going to propel you into writing stardom just because you're good (and even if you are good, there's probably no such thing as writing stardom in store). Bottom line: You have to educate yourself. This is a business like any other. It's fine to love the art for the art's sake. But if you want to sell your fiction, you have to know the market you're selling it to.

Besides those listed above, here are some additional helpful links for learning about the business side of things:

The basics on how a book gets published

SWFA's website has a lot of great information, even if you're not a genre writer

The Gotham Writer's Workshop is constantly running classes (in NYC) and contests (everywhere)

Published fantasy author Jim Hines has arguably the best blog on LJ. He posts his real, actual sales numbers. He talks in depth about his experiences with the business. And he's not afraid to try both traditional publishing and web-based, newer things. Along with being an all around cool guy (yes, he'll respond to your comments on his blog), he's also very honest and up front about the business.

These are just some places to start. If any of you have more suggestions, please do chime in with them. I won't pretend I'm an expert, but I've done some of my homework.
Tags: business, publishing, writing
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