Friday, May 12, 2023

Writer's Business

Most of the time, we writers labor in isolation whether writing or working the business side of publishing. Taxes, contracts, negotiations (if you don't have an agent doing that for you), covers, marketing copy, and hiring subcontractors - it can be a lot. But there are times where one lonely writer's business is every writers' business. The WGA strike is the perfect example. An entire class of writers aren't being compensated fairly for their work and that matters to all of us. If it doesn't, it should. What impacts one part of the publishing world eventually escapes containment to infect the entire industry. Writers who stick together to fight for fair wages and workers rights continue writing into the future without having to sell a kidney to keep food on the table.

Another way one writer's business becomes every writers business is via tell-all blogs and databases that call out the so called 'professionals' who take advantage of writers. Witness the SFWA Writers Beware website. This is a resource that exists solely to call out bad actors in the industry - those who prey upon writers with less than ethical practices. Other authors offer in-depth blogs, classes, communities, or mentorships around the best business practices for writers. Some focus on traditional publishing, others on indie publishing. There's information out there for just about every writer and, in some cases, the Writer Beware website can help route out those of dubious value.

While you don't want to be glued incessantly to the dramas engulfing the publishing business, you do want to remain aware. Supporting a writers' strike in one sector of the business has a net positive ripple effect on your own business. If nothing else, it teaches us to never work without a contract or complete control of our intellectual property. Writing and the business of writing can be isolating pursuits. Keeping a finger on the pulse of the industry, however, pulls you out of isolation a little bit. It gives us the opportunity to engage in the larger body of writers, leaning on each others' business experience and expertise.