Wednesday, June 1, 2016
The Business of Writing: What are Your Core Values?
It is the first Wednesday of the month. Time to address the business side of writing. I realize a few readers hold onto the notion that their writing is purely an art form. The idea that we need to look at writing as our work or business is offensive. I think of it as the “if you build it they will come” syndrome.
“Write it and publishers will flock to your door.” Not likely. Not unless you are an extremely important or influential public figure. Then they may approach you with the idea of writing your story or making a movie of your life.
I’m not there. So if I want my voice heard –if I want my writing published, I need to know how to sell my concept to an acquisitions editor, my book to the publishing committee, and how to help market my work. I need a business plan.
I first wrote about developing a business plan on this blog in 2014 It was called "Getting Those Crazy Ducks in a Row." You can click HERE to read that post.
I published a piece about it in Southern Christian Writers Magazine, held an on-line discussion with a writers group on Facebook called 10 Minute Novelists (you can check that group out HERE), and presented the topic at a few writing groups in my geographic area.
The topic has been so well received, I began drafting what I call a writers handbook on how to write a business plan. I have an up and coming writer using the handbook to develop her own business plan. She is helping me see those areas that might need to be tweaked. These next few weeks I will share some of the elements in the plan. I’m counting on you to tell me when this works for you or if you need more examples and so forth.
Let’s get started. An important first step as a writer is to know yourself. To know your core values. When I first presented this concept to my beta reader, she was uncertain about what I meant by “core values.”
Core values are those principles that tend to guide your decision-making. They determine your actions. There are a few beliefs/standards you hold onto no matter what. There is a line you will not cross.
For example, one author I know writes very popular light romance novels. She was once told she could make a pile of money if she would write steamy sex scenes. Writing to make a pile of money or become famous is tempting. This author, however, decided such writing went against what she valued. She wanted to write something she would never be ashamed to show her parents or let her children read. She believed good writing need not have graphic sex in it and good literature can be a clean read, void of vulgarities.
Here is another example. Another writer I know has a story that would blow an entire community apart. It would likely be a best seller and spawn a TV miniseries. He is a published author with a big publisher. So why doesn’t he write this story? It would hurt members of his family. He values his family and protects them at all costs. It is a line he will never cross.
So here are the questions: What are your core values? How are those values reflected in your writing? and....Does this make sense?