Sunday, April 04, 2010

Is Writing Your Art or Your Business?

I’ve been reading an interesting book about how to achieve great success in business. I’ve read a couple of books like this before and the theme and strategies are pretty much the same in all of the books. The authors state that through techniques like setting goals, visualizing same, applying affirmations and other things, you can achieve the success you want. The authors of the book I’m reading even go into the science that explains how programming your brain to think this way works. These authors take the techniques, science and strategies behind successful lives a few steps further than I’ve read elsewhere, and if the steps are diligently followed they probably could produce positive results. But here’s the thing: can it be applied to writers, especially fiction writers who write novels rather than nonfiction authors who compose articles, brochures, flyers, and newsletters, for instance? Is writing, regardless the material you write, a business?

In my opinion, the answer is yes. But it’s also your art. Obviously, writing a novel or short story is an enormously creative act that comes from imagination, life experience and research, to varying degrees. You can’t and probably shouldn’t rush it. Ideas, plots, characters, subplots, pacing, twists and turns need time to develop and blend together in a seamless, compelling story. But once that work is published and the promotion and marketing begins, your writing life becomes your business life. And this is where business books can be useful.

For example, do you know who your target market is, specifically? Answering with something like readers between 20 and 75 isn’t good enough. Do you know the most efficient way to reach your target market? How will you find them? How will you entice them to buy your product? How many books do you plan to sell? Where? How?

If you want to sell what you write, it might not be a bad idea to put down the how-to write books for a bit and pick up some business books.

NOTE: Now that it’s tax season, you might need a fun, quirky break from all those pesky tax forms. To help you with that, my mystery Taxed to Death is now on sale in ebook form for only $3.98 until April 30th. Also, the sequel Fatal Encryption will also be on sale at the same low price. Check them out at:

Fatal Encryption at
Taxed to Death at

1 comment:

Julie H. Ferguson said...

I completely agree about the art and then the business of writing. As you so wisely say, writers need to have a mind to their book buyers as they write their books and series.

As a nonfiction writer, I would like to add, that identifying one's book buyers is absolutely crucial, BEFORE you write the ms.

And for all aspiring authors, whatever stage you're at, save your receipts from the get-go.