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Monday, May 30, 2011

Learning the Business End of Writing

Let me over-simplify the whole publishing business here to say it has two major parts: the craft and the business end. Let’s further simplify by supposing that you have a manuscript (or a drawer full of manuscripts) ready to go. What’s next?

1. Revise and edit. I’ve heard most aspiring writers say this is the “dull” part. It’s interesting to note that most of the published authors I know call this the fun part. One colleague equated knocking out that first draft to dumping the clay on the wheel. The real skill comes in shaping, crafting and polishing.

If you aren’t up to doing that yourself, make certain someone does, since a poorly revised, little edited manuscript isn’t going to serve you well once it leaves your hands. Expect to pay well for professional services. Two companies I can recommend are Precision Editing and Eschler Editing

2. Learn to write a query letter. Young adult author Elana Johnson ( has some excellent tips and instruction on exactly how to do that. Check her out!

3. Learn about book proposals. Literary agent Rachelle Gardner gives you the basics.

4. Practice professional etiquette. Notorious stories have circulated about aspiring authors who follow an editor into the rest room and pass a manuscript under the stall. Folks who pull such brazen stunts can expect to flush their ambitions. Behave like a grown-up, remember the Golden Rule, and you should be fine.

There is so much more to learn! Think of tax rules, how to manage your queries and writing schedule, etc., etc., etc. My hope is these few tips will serve as good reminders for me and will help you get started.

Do you have a “business” tip to share? Please do!

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