Thursday, February 2, 2023

Simon Says: Don't be Trouble (or Strife), by Catriona

Now that 2022 is well and truly in the books (!), did you learn any business tips you can pass on?

You know how tins of food used to have "serving suggestions" depicted on the labels? (Maybe they still do.) And it was always stuff like "Why not serve this Spam on a plate with some side vegetables?" or "Why not serve this soup in a bowl with a bit of parsley on top?" 

Well, asking me for business tips is like looking at soup tins for recipes, instead of reading a cookbook. Seriously, Cathy, Gabriel and Susan are your best bet till Josh weighs in tomorrow.

But I'll try. 

The KJV has a quote for everything!

1. Last year, I hit on the brilliant idea of writing down in a wee book how many payments I was due in a two-book deal or whatever, along with the rough dates to expect them, so I could cross them off when the money arrived. That's the level I'm starting from, folks.

2. If your books are issued in large print, always give the spare copies to a public library. Large print books are really expensive and library budgets are tight. If you save them the money on your LPs they might spend some on your ordinary hardbacks. Even if not, they will spend it on books, which keeps people reading, which is good business for writers.

My favourite large print edition

3. Trick yourself into dealing with your admin however you have to do it. Set aside an evening every week; clear your inbox every morning; deal with receipts on the last day of the month; email yourself a note of everything you have to do and keep a TO DO tab that you check regularly . . . It doesn't matter how you organise yourself, but get organised.

It's an extension of the old "write drunk; edit sober". We could call it "write drunk; edit sober; admin anal." But let's not. Apart from anything else, you can't have two semi-colons in a sentence without a colon to introduce the list.

It's a sub-tip of my main tip which is:

4. Be like Simon Wood. Simon is a Brit in NorCal, like me, whom I've known for years and who has the best business advice for traditionally published authors I've ever heard. We share nothing about process when it comes to the craft of writing, but Simon's approach to the business of being a writer in the world of publishing is gold. Basically, he says never blow a deadline, never ignore an email, never flake on a commitment, never be obnoxious at an event (and know if drinking makes that likely), and always treat everyone at the publisher with unfailing respect and professionalism. make sure that if your book is good but the publisher is swithering, nothing about working with you tips the scales the wrong way.

Keep reading for a giveaway!

It's the other thing we're in control of in this wild world: we can write our best books and we can make sure we're not a heartsink of myopic entitlement artistic temperament for the people who're in charge of the rest.

Are there multiple examples of writers who wrote solid enough stuff but ensured that no one would want to work with them? Oh yes. Find me in the bar at Left Coast Crime or Malice Domestic and I'll tell you.

5. A bit of promotion never hurts. So I'm offering a copy of Simon's short story anthology, with contributions from Steve Brewer, Susanna Calkins, Colin Campbell, Angel Luis Colon, Robert Dugoni, Paul Finch, Travis Richardson, Johnny Shaw, Jay Stringer, Sam Wiebe, Simon and me. Just comment here or on Facebook or Twitter to enter.

6. A bit of topical bragging is okay sometimes too.

This is up for a Lefty!

7.  As long as you don't overdo it.

This is up for a Lefty and an Agatha!



Catriona McPherson said...

Andrew Jetarski on Twitter

Catriona McPherson said...

Lori Rader Day on Fb

Anonymous said...

Teresa Wilder on Facebook

Ann Mason said...

Excellent advice for everyone everywhere all at once, not to plegerize

Catriona McPherson said...

Fran Devlin on Fb

Josh Stallings said...

As a young lad a librarian gave me large print books, it changed my world, the extra space around the words help my dyslexic brain hugely. So yes that a great tip.

And… "write drunk; edit sober; admin anal." is worthy of a milk up the noes spit take.

Catriona McPherson said...

Andrew Jetarski won the giveaway. So says random dot org.