Head’s Up! 10 Wake-up Calls for Writers in 2012

by @thewritermama on January 3, 2012 · 12 comments

1. All writers are publishers now. If you are an author, tap into your backlist now. If you are an aspiring author, plan on it before, during, and after you are published.

2. Publishers are leveraging their backlists to the hilt. Watch for it, authors, if you have not seen it already. Check your contracts to make sure you get paid what you are due. If your publishers are not leveraging your best work, you should be.

3. Indie publishing is over. It was over last year. See #1 if you are unclear. In a world where publishing exists on such a long spectrum, there is no longer any room for black and white thinking.

4. It’s still great to be a published author. However, you want to understand the differences between old-world traditionally published and new world traditionally published before you start climbing this particularly steep mountain. Get informed before you get your hopes up.

5. Not only has publishing changed; the entire economy has changed. We are now living in a new gig economy. This is great news for writers. This is by far the best news on this entire list.

6. You probably still need an agent. Publishing industry contracts are more complicated and rights-grabbing than ever. But don’t be surprised if your publisher is less flexible to your agent’s requests more than they would have been in the past. Hopefully this will change as more authors leave publishers and refuse to grant all rights. Bestselling authors, we’re counting on you!

7. Just because publishing has evolved so dramatically does not mean you don’t still need skills. You need more skills than ever. Learn them from reputable individuals, who are genuinely interested in helping you cultivate and grow your unique strengths. But don’t be in an unholy rush. It won’t help you learn any faster.

8. Consider each dollar you invest in your career the equivalent of a vote. As always, you need to steadily invest in your writing career if you want it to grow. But in an economy like this one where most budgets are tight, it’s important to invest according to your values. Each dollar you spend is a vote of support. Support the folks who have earned your respect and take your eyeballs away from folks you do not or no longer trust.

9. Blogging is a tool, not a career choice. I’d rather see you become an expert in something specific and blog in an effort to support your mission than spend all your money trying to learn and leverage “insider blogging secrets” that put you right back where you are now a year from now. And always have your own home base online before you call another blog your home away from home.

10. Think ebook. Used to be, most writers first big goal used to be working their way up to a traditionally published book deal. Today, the first big finish line has become a successful ebook. This means learning the skills you need to have to write an ebook that will sell itself (not as easy as it sounds) so you can compete in the new economy.

And if your ebooks are not up to professional snuff, you’d better take ’em down and take ’em down fast. You’re best career move is to get them up to snuff before you re-post them. Otherwise your reputation is going to suffer in comparison to all the quality content that is coming down the pipe in 2012.

Need help navigating all the changes in the publishing industry?

Check out my new book, The Writer’s Workout, for an idea for every day of the upcoming Leap Year.

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