When we decided to become professional writers, and I use the word professional to determine a difference between those of us who write without receiving any sort of compensation, and those of us who do regardless of how many zeros follow that first number ;-)
From whenever you made that decision to submit your work to a publisher to when you received that first sales phone call…did you ever stop and think about the business side of writing?
Where did you expect to fit within your publishing house? How important do you rank yourself on a scale of 1 to 10 to your publisher?
I am a member of so many different writing groups, and I read so many boards that it still continues to amaze me when I read things that lead me to believe that the answer to the questions above is 1 (where 1 is the most important).
We as authors have stories that we want to tell. We hope (although there may not be) that there is an audience, and a publisher that cares about those stories.
But, what I think authors forget is that writing is a business. Publishers are in the business of selling books for money. You might have the best agent in the world, but that agent won’t be able to sell your book on the streets out of the back of his/her car if he/she can’t convince a publisher to pick it up because it will appeal to a certain audience. If that audience doesn’t buy in…you can bet your next book will be holding up the legs of a coffee table near you.
In your writing career, how many publishers have you had? How many contracts have you lost or broken? If you took emotion out of it: they didn’t return my calls, they didn’t answer my emails, is your publisher a good business? Do they have good editors, graphic designers, public relations, etc.?
Can writers handle the business side of writing?