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The Business of Being a Writer (Chicago Guides to Writing, Editing, and Publishing) Paperback – March 16, 2018
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About the Author
- Item Weight : 15.2 ounces
- Paperback : 368 pages
- ISBN-13 : 978-0226393162
- ISBN-10 : 022639316X
- Dimensions : 8.9 x 6 x 0.8 inches
- Publisher : University of Chicago Press; 1st edition (March 16, 2018)
- Language: : English
- Best Sellers Rank: #153,072 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- Customer Reviews:
Top reviews from the United States
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She explains how to develop a business model for writing. I initially bought the book because of my interest in book publishing, and she covers that in-depth: brand building, social media, pitching, book launches, recommended word counts, how to build an author platform, what to include on your author website, and more.
However, she also goes beyond book publishing and talks about other ways that writers can earn a living with their writing. For instance, she provides a great deal of information on freelance writing, including the most common types of articles and the publications where you can pitch them. She talks about consumer publications, but also trade publications (which are easier to break into and pay reasonably well). She also discusses the differences and similarities between publishing online versus offline.
Jane mentions that it is very difficult to make a living off writing alone, so she also provides additional methods for earning income: teaching, coaching, editing, consulting, etc. She notes that successful artists usually have multiple revenue streams.
At first, I was disappointed that the self-publishing chapter was so short, since I have self-published four books and was especially interested in that topic. However, I realized that much of what she covers in the book is equally applicable to traditional and self-published authors. For instance, book marketing is book marketing regardless of how you publish.
This is a great book that I highly recommend. It’s a resource you can refer to again and again to continue to improve your results (and income) as a writer.
This book is not one of those books.
This book is your older, wiser, best friend who loves you, and sits you down to say,
"Girl, I believe you can do it if you want to--you know I do. But first, let me show you what 'it' really looks like...
"OK, now are you sure you still want in? Yes? Well in that case... [Smiles spreads over her face. Eyes light up]
"Let me tell you how to do this part, then that part and oh! Here's something you might not even have thought about...and if you're going to do that, here's how not to screw it up...
That's the kind of book this is.
It is thoroughly up-to-date and written by someone who has been in and around the writing business for more than 20 years. (This will seem impossible when you bump into her at a writers' conference, but it's true. I know, because I've been following her career for much of that time.)
This is the new, state-of-the-art bible for anyone thinking about writing for a living. It should be required reading for anyone who wants to make fiction a part of that business. (Spoiler Alert: you can, but it probably won't earn you all your money.)
There's likely more information in here than you need right now, but dip in, root around, see what excites you and what you might be willing to try. As you build your business you might need to add a new string to your bow. (Content Marketing? Crowdfunding? Creating an author website?)
When you do, this book will be waiting for you, full of good advice and an encouraging squeeze.
Jane gives broad advice, too, as soothing as it is honest: “Platform…[is] about putting in consistent effort over the course of a career, and making incremental improvements…It’s about making waves that attract other people to you—not begging them to pay attention” (p.175-176). In other words, you guys, we can quit the panic-inducing, neon-flashing GIVEAWAY! posts, and quietly do our best for the long haul instead.
If you’re done getting burned by romantic publishing fantasies; if you’ve got your big-writer panties on and you want to get to work, this book is your new bible. It answers your honest questions—“Chapter 1: Can You Make a Living as a Writer?”; it breaks down the arms of the publishing industry; it prescribes the steps one takes to get published. It gives the God’s-honest truth about how to build a platform; it goes granular in part five, “How Writers Make Money.”
The Business of Being a Writer is a writer’s career instruction manual condensed to 296 pages. With the fluff and empty promises of other book publicity "pros" boiled off, and the industry insider's knowledge added in, Jane Friedman's book is the beef demi-glace of authorhood.
Top reviews from other countries
Creative writing courses are fantastic, but they rarely go into the nitty-gritty of what happens afterwards – how writers survive, build a career (or at least a living), sustain themselves creatively and financially. I’ve met a lot of writers who feel bereft after their MFA studies, possibly because they’ve had unrealistic expectations about the future.
This book is an overview of today’s creative writing ecology, and where you might fit in. It’s for writers with serious chops who want to know about approaching the publishing industry, writing proposals, author platform, residencies, and building a career. It includes advice on the different ways writers make money (including teaching, grants, fellowships) and other kinds of writing such as trade publications and journalism. It’s also bang up-to-date with online, self-publishing and digital developments. If you need to get strategic about where you’re heading as a writer, this is for you.
Jane has a publishing and media industry background, and is a college professor, keynote speaker, author and publisher of the influential Hot Sheet about publishing industry developments. She’s writing from a US perspective, but the principles apply everywhere.
I actually cheered when I read this. Jane bridges the gap between industry, literary and tech (at last!) and is really encouraging and practical. I’m a tutor with the Open University, and I’ve recommended this to my department.
Highly recommended and well worth the money!