The business of writing

Tuva Tovslid (19)

The opposite of business

The writing carrier can sometimes seem just as mythical as Huldra, the pretty girl with a cow tail, but there is actually living evidence of paid writers, and someone has taken the time to gather, analyse and present it. Here are some articles I have found useful. There are links within links on these pages. So if you are looking for some hours immersing in the subject, there you go.

Chuck Wendig, novelist, screenwriter, and game designer, has gathered a lot of business advise for writers in this article: A hot steaming sack of business advice for writers. It isn’t a pep talk, but contains realistic and important advice to be aware of.  I hadn’t read this before I signed my own contract, but I was confronted with several of the same issues that he warns about. Like keeping as many rights as possible and signing with a small press. Still in the middle of it, I still have to wait and see how it plays out.

For nine years, another author, Jim C. Hines, has been doing an annual blog post about his writing income, with the purpose of putting the data out there to help build a more realistic picture of life as a working writer. This year, he went bigger, collecting data from novelists who had at least one book published. There were a total of 386 responses. The survey asked questions about the number of novels published, how they were published (large publisher/small press/self-pub), income and expenses, genre, whether or not they used an agent, which country the novelist was in, and more. And that is just Part 1.

Rachel Aaron is another author who has written a lot about the business side of publishing. Like how to build a writing career, how to promote your books most efficiently, marketing, career planning and so on. Her archive on posts on business is extensive. 

In Norway we have several writer associations. One of them are Forfattersentrum. They have an overview of what their members should get paid for literary jobs like readings, lectures, writing courses etc. They even have minimum rates for extended travels and much more. This list is available to non-members as well, and is very useful to avoid selling your work short. A full overview (in Norwegian), can be found on this page.

The Norwegian writer association have a standard contract that they propose as a basis for authors. My own contract was mainly build on this one, with some deviations from the standard royalties and some specifics on marketing. It is worth knowing about if you are to publish a book in Norway.

I find it very inspiring to read about the practicalities around writing. It just makes it seem possible. And it goes to show that there are other ways to go about a career in writing, than to be discovered as a genius with your debut book.

There is of course a lot more out there, and if you know of some great posts or articles, please leave a link in the comments.

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