Writing as a Business

Laptop and PrinterWhen I decided to go full time self-employed, I completed the Exploring Enterprise Program run by Prince’s Trust, and following that I attended various business seminars and meetings. A lot of the things talked about at these events applied to me, but a lot didn’t, as well.

Setting myself up as a freelance writer has not followed the standard business model (if there even is such a thing) and because of that there’s a lot I’ve had to find out for myself, by simply going out there and doing it.

Many mentors I’ve come across did not have advice directly applicable to my field, and there’s a wealth of guidance all over the internet to do with the actual writing process (not all good, mind you), but I found very little information to do with the background work to having your writing as a business, and even less about the balance between that background work and the actual writing. In light of that, I’m filling that ‘gap in the market’ and writing this post about it.

Being a writer, or artist, photographer, or designer, is different from running a warehouse, or a restaurant. You’re not only emotionally attached to your work but, in a very real sense, you are your work, and that complicates things.

Often I find that what’s best for my writing career in the long run is not what’s best for me business wise, and I have to find a way to reconcile those two things.

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Upon a Flight to Vegas

This evening at Belfast Writer’s Group we rolled a dice, which decided story prompts for us to run with. So, the fates decided we were to write a coming of age tale that included an invisibility device, set on a plane, with a main character who an alcoholic carpenter, and another character who was an unsuccessful salesman. The following is what I came up with, in the space of a half-hour:

Alex was a carpenter from Minnesota, on his way to Vegas to celebrate his most recent divorce. With him was his best friend, Jack, an unsuccessful salesperson of no fixed address. Together they would conquer the world, or get drunk trying.

“I’m telling you,” Jack insisted, as he leaned over the sleeping lady sat in between him and Alex, to yell in Alex’s ear, “It makes you invisible. Amazing technology! You should invest before it goes big.”

Alex gave a dismissive wave of his hand, consequently knocking both of his drinks over the lady in the middle seat. She didn’t stir.

“Now look what you made me do!” he slurred, before pressing the button for the hostess, then looking up and down the aisle. “Where is she? What are we paying her for? People here need drinks!”

“Alex, no. Alex, listen, you have to here this. Invisibility, it’s the future!” Continue reading

Thoughts on Kindle Worlds

As I said in a previous post, I write a fair bit of fan fiction. I also said I had no intentions of publishing it for profit, mainly because doing so wasn’t really an option. The copyright issues are unclear to say the least, and making money off fanfic is not why I write it. That said, I recently was reading about Kindle Worlds, and it changes things, slightly.

Now, Kindle Worlds has existed for about two years, and apparently there was a big uproar about it in the fanfic community in general, and on Tumblr in particular, when it was first announced. Don’t ask me why I’ve never heard about it before, because I’m as baffled as you.

For those who, like me, don’t know what it is, basically Amazon have a branch of the Kindle store specifically dedicated to paid, legal fan fiction. The catch is they only have permission to do this within certain “worlds” (i.e. fictional universes, or fandoms). Oh, and you also need a bank account in the US.

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