Writing as Business.

I never write at night.

I never do anything at night

I feel like this makes me uncool, night owls are such wondrous magical people, working without the sun, into the wee hours of the morning, creating worlds and stories when everyone else is dreaming.

But for me, as soon as six pm rolls on around all I want is a hot shower and a movie. (And tea, and yummy food and a blanket, and minimal people around me.)

But tonight, on this Thursday evening, i’m trying to have the best of both worlds. I have my blanket, tea and I’m even watching Elementary, (yasss) but I’m also writing a blog. It’s only seven thirty and I’m definitely going to go to bed before nine, but I’m writing a blog and it’s dark so i declare,

AMIE IS A NIGHTOWL.

For my first appearance as a night owl, I’m going to discuss the shift between writing my book and publishing my book. I am struggling with the move from creator to business woman.

‘Esther’, (This is what I think i’ll refer to my book as, she doesn’t actually have a title, but Esther is my protagonist, and it’s her story), has been my refuge, my challenge, my love for the last few years. I have invested a thousand hours (more?!) into my manuscript. I live half my life in my story, I spend half my time with my characters. I’ve have written and written and written. I cry about my book. I smile about my story. I feel good about it. I feel proud of it. I hate it and at the same time I really I love it.

I serve the story, and for the last few years the story has been my world.

Now the story is nearly done, and I have done absolutely nothing other than write my book. (and run my beautiful little Instagram community, I cannot forget you), but essentially, all I’ve done is physically write this book.

I know nothing about, nor have I spent much time, thinking about publishing my book. In the last few weeks, I have felt so acutely aware of my ignorance about this matter it’s not funny. I am SUCH a first timer at this. I feel like a child. I honestly just don’t know what the best next step is. Here is a splattering of some of my queries:

  • Where do I want to publish?
  • Do I want to publish in England or Australia?
  • What are the differences in the two countries publishing processes?
  • Do I want to go through an agent or a publisher?
  • How do I make useful connections with people?
  • Can I use my Instagram to help my book?
  • What is a pitch?
  • How do I pitch?
  • What events are important for me to go to?
  • And if I manage to go to one how does one make small talk with important people
  • What if I fucking hate small talk?
  • What is going to give my story the best chance at success?

I don’t know the answer to any of these questions and I know there are questions that I should be asking that I don’t even know.

Over the years I have attended several, quite frankly wonderful, courses at the Australian Writers Centre. The AWC is a hub of creative support and energy and if your’e Australian, and you haven’t already looked into them, do it. I will hyperlink the shit out of this paragraph and you can look at their website. In the midst of one of my panics about my lack of next step knowledge, mid way through a google (I just hyperlinked google for fun)-search that was open ended and badly worded, I decided to reach out to the owner, creator, the mind behind AWC, (Small pat on back to me? Every tiny step counts right?). The Wonder Woman, Valerie Khoo not only replied to me quickly and kindly, but offered to ring me to chat things out. Honestly, I’m so grateful. What a patient woman.

My phone call with Valerie was big for me. I opened the conversation with the question as to how I could use my blog as a means to help me publish my book. But the oh-so-wise Valerie pointed out that this was entirely the wrong question. She asked if I had been to the many different events just down the fucking road from me, the opportunities to meet agents, publishers, other authors. Getting my name out there. I hadn’t even heard of them. I don’t know how I missed it, I guess because I just – wasn’t – looking. She asked me what my pitch was… lololololol i had nada. Valerie was immeasurably patient and kind with me but she wasn’t going to beat around the bush, that’s not her style. She reminded me that I have a lot of work to do, and it’s got nothing to do with editing my manuscript anymore.

I think what it comes down to is this, I haven’t been thinking about my book as a business. I’ve been looking at it and seeing Esther, James, the island of Wisteria, and the pain and love and magic that resides there. I haven’t forgotten that I want others to read it, but I don’t think i’ve realised that my dream to share my story means that my book needs to be treated like A BUSINESS.

EW.

Don’t poop on my magic book with business talk.

But that poop is necessary. Because I really want YOU to read what i’ve written, and I want to hug you and thank you and then read your book and and be two happy authors together, happy authors who have physical, money making manifestations of our writing.

Valerie gave me her time, and I am so thankful for her wise words but now it is my turn to choose what to do with them.

(Update is 9:14pm?! Hoot hoot!)

Not proud about the next paragraph, but this is how I’ve been dealing with my wake up call these past few weeks.

I’ve been completely immobilised . Sitting down and doing nothing felt better, safer and less scary than facing all of this, I don’t even know what ‘this’ is.  This world. This writing world. It seems so big, and I am so foreign to it. Such an unknown. I feel so young. I hate being all of these things. All of those things are so lame. I want to be in control and experienced. But I am not, and so I have spent the last few weeks with my head in a lil hole. It was dark, cozy, warm and it did nothing for me, it did nothing for Esther.

My head in the hole choice has also left me feeling angry at myself. I may be knew to the game but I’m not a fucking idiot, I need to get going, move, start researching publishing houses, agents etc, keep my ear to the ground for events, get my pitch ready. I may not have experience, but i’m a bright woman and the internet exists… ya know?

This blog is a part of my process I think. A regrouping of my thoughts, connecting to you all as my community, confessing my past few week’s sins, and announcing to you, to me, to Esther, that even though I dick around for a really long time, eventually I do my best.

We may not be experienced, we might feel too young, we might even feel too old, we might have no connections, we might hate meeting strangers, but we want this. We are not defeated. We cannot lose, because we have not quit.

 

 

 

 

 

8 Comments

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  1. Hi Amie! Long time Instagram follower here. You should join Twitter if you haven’t already! A lot of people in the publishing community, from authors to editors to agents to publishers, are super accessable, and often share bits about the industry. When I was first looking at going to graduate school for Publishing, Twitter was the first place I went to learn about the industry. Also, Youtube! There’s booktube, obviously, but did you know there is also a wonderous thing known as authortube? You might, because you vlog, but who knows! A lot of people, off the top of my head -Lindsay Cummings, VE Schwab, and Kristen Martin – all share videos on topics ranging from outlining to securing and agent. Lots and lots of resources that are accessable without leaving your house (or your blanket and tea!).

    Good Luck! I can’t wait to read your book someday!

    -Amanda
    @Amanda_HHC

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  2. Hi Amie. I feel a similar way to you regarding the blog. It is slowly becoming a part of my writing process! Sounds like you have a big job ahead but as you’ve poured a lot of hours into Esther this next step will seem harder but it’ll pay off in the long run. Good luck with it, you can do it👍👍👍

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  3. Hi Amie!

    I’ve been following your instagram for quite a long time, and I think you’re doing a great job. I know that we writers don’t get told this very often, but: I’m proud of you! Just keep putting one foot (or pen, or conversation) in front of the other and you’ll get there. I know it feels icky talking about making a business from your writing but from someone who does that errrday (I’m a copywriter) – it does get better and then it feels amazing! You got this, girl.

    Ps – ill definitely read your book when it’s ready for me – it sounds right up my alley! So jealous you spoke with Valerie, I’m such a fan girl and have done a few courses through AWC too.

    Have a great weekend! Laura

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  4. I can 100% sympathise with how you’re feeling. I went through a similar crisis a little while ago (despite not even having anything ready to publish 😂) and I also found it so super overwhelming to try and understand the whole industry. (Self publish or traditional?? Both have pros and cons, how can I choose 😓) I would recommend writing some to do lists for yourself and break everything you want to do into tiny little steps so it seems more manageable. I know you’ll get there Amie. We’re all here for you (and Esther), and we always will be 💖💘

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Hi there! I love your Instagram account, it literally has helped me so much. Here’s my suggestion to you: Make yourself take small steps. Maybe something like, “I will spend 20 minutes each day researching the business of writing.” And once you’ve put in your daily time, you’re not allowed to stress about it. I also suggest following some writing blogs! The WordPress community of writers is super helpful, and a lot of them talk about agents and editors and pitches and all that. Remember that you didn’t write your novel in one day – it was a process. The business side is a process too. Be kind to yourself, but also try to take some small steps.

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  6. Your words truly speak to me. As soon as I saw your post on instagram (I am a HUGE fan by the way) I instantly read your entry.
    Congratulations of being a nightowl for this night! I am a night owl myself and the best time for me to write is from about ten pm to three am – but you ca be happy to be a day person as it is almost impossible to be a night owl and still happy with a nine to five job…

    I already made a pitch and sent it away and now I am waiting…
    As Amanda in the first comment said – social media is great for research! Lindsay Cummings is great (as Amanda already mentioned) and I would also watch videos from my personal Number one: Jenna Morecy. I hope I spelled it right XD She makes YT Videos and is able to live from writing alone 🙂

    All the best for you! I cannot wait to read your and Ethers Story one day ^^

    Lots of love and greetings from Germany,

    Eileen

    Liked by 1 person

  7. I honestly don’t know if this sounds bizzare, coming from an eighteen-year-old who’s barely halfway through her story, (one that needs a lot of planning and rewriting), but I think about the business aspect of publishing a book a lot and whether or not it was going to ruin the magic of my words in my eyes, and whether it’s worth taking the risk anyway. I’d love to hear more about your experience once you go further into this and I really wish you all the luck. 💕

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  8. Hi Amie!

    First time reading your blog.

    You are a precious gem that should be protected at all costs. At the same time, I feel that (based on nothing since I hardly know you but I’ve fallen in love with your spirit) you are up to this task.

    Can’t wait to read your book when it comes out. Sounds like my kind of world.

    I’m also a writer (fledgling, green, tiptoeing). Thanks for your inspiration.

    Like

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