Saturday, February 23, 2013

Authorpreneurship is Hard

"There is nothing to writing.  All you do is sit down at a typewriter and bleed." - Ernest Hemingway

"I'm writing a book.  I've got the page numbers done." - Steven Wright

"Substitute 'damn' every time you're inclined to write 'very'; your editor will delete it and the writing will be just as it should be." - Mark Twain


Yeah, so writing is hard, right?  Nah, not really, at least not to me; writing is actually both quite easy and quite fun once you spend a little bit of time building up those keyboard fingie muscles.  Writing well, though--now that's hard.  Believe me if you're willing, or take Hemingway's word for it.

See, it's not just about writing.  The process of creative storytelling, I've found, is nothing more than a prolonged orgasm of right-brained imaginative production.  I sit, and I put myself into the story, and I write.  As I do so I'm constantly searching out the best way to express the next thing that needs expressing.  But it all just kind of tumbles out, really.  It amounts to pure forceful creativity.

Revising and editing, though?  That's another thing entirely.  All of a sudden my brain jumps out of creation mode and into critical mode.  Yes, there are creative periods during the revision process; typically I'm filling in the storyline and, in the past few books, I've added ten to twenty thousand words to the work as I've gone through.  But it's not the same, this examining versus inventing.

Selling?  Now that's a whole different animal entirely.

I was about to explain that traditionally-published authors get to stop at the creating and the evaluating while we authorpreneurs have to branch out into marketing plans.  That's not correct, though.  From what I know, they have to transition into selling mode in order to either secure an agent's services or get their existing agent to push the new work.  I've done that, and to me, writing a one-page query letter is far scarier than writing a 250-page novel.  It's hard to do.

We authorpreneurs, though, have even more to be done.  I've been working on my craft all day and have only written (besides this post, of course) a few paragraphs of new prose.  What have I been doing?  Well, I've been gathering images to use in cover design, and then putting the covers together.  Yes, graphic design is as much of an exercise in creativity as writing is, but--well, it's different.  It's pixels and fills and color triads rather than adjectives and verbs and punctuation.  Same, but different.

And trust me, there's nothing scarier (to me, anyway) than putting my cover designs out there on the web for the pros to hammer on.

See, Konrath pays for the services of a professional cover designer.  Most of the people in my publishing group do, too.  There's an incredibly good cover designer, in fact, in the group itself.  I--well, I don't.  I'd love to hide behind "I can't afford it," but that's not entirely true.  Fact is, I get great pleasure in seeing the finished work go out and knowing it's my own. 

But that's not all; there's also the task of building the book itself.  That part really did surprise me at first.  It's not enough, see, to write a great book with chapters and everything.  There's actually a science to the order in which you put the story into the file to be uploaded, in addition to all the other front and back matter.  Konrath wrote a blog about the order in which he puts stuff and it really kind of makes sense when he tells it.  It's not something I ever thought of while I read ebooks.  Fact is, if a book is put together well, you don't think of it.  You don't notice it.

So.  Word processing.  Graphic design.  Marketing strategy planning.  Oh, and writing.  If you want to be an authorpreneur, you need to know them all.  It's a challenge, but it's worth it.


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