Archive | January, 2013

What it means to be an author in 2013

It’s hard out here for a pimp.

It’s also hard for a writer. In fact, sometimes I feel like a pimp. Occasionally, I feel like a whore. Let me explain.

When I quit my publishing job to pursue a freelance career, I had a vision of sitting around coffee shops, schmoozing and writing and living off massive royalty checks.

That didn’t happen.

Instead, I’ve cobbled together a pastiche of projects that keep me gainfully employed. In an ideal world, I’d be able to just focus on writing projects I’m passionate about. Again, didn’t happen. Working for yourself is hard, harder than most people can imagine. Not only do I have to produce around the clock, I also have to act as business manager and entrepreneur (enter The E Myth). An accomplished author, I still have to hustle like the rent is due.

Because it is.

While I have done many ignominious jobs that have kept me humble and solvent, these days I focus on the following:

  • Writing (and subsequently promoting) books that blow my skirt up
  • Taking on random freelance articles for beauty sites, travel magazines and a pupu platter of media outlets
  • Writing columns for today.com’s book page
  • College lectures based on my books (more on that at Samara Lectures)
  • A part-time job at THAT large Redmond tech company

In addition to the above (and I’m probably forgetting a couple of things), I have the good fortune to help other writers develop book proposals that will get serious consideration from publishers or agents. With my business partner Kerry Colburn, a close friend and fellow author and publishing professional who I met on the job 17 years ago, we started The Business of Books to share our knowledge of publishing and experience reviewing and writing countless proposals.

It’s as gratifying as anything I’ve ever done. I’ve never had much of a desire to teach, but man, is it addictive. Watching our workshop attendees be inspired and motivated has been a joy. Hearing that they landed a book deal, well, we feel like proud parents. Don’t get me wrong—they did it themselves. They polished their proposal, sent out submissions, and soldiered on through rejections.

My heart is full thinking of all of these newly published authors. And while it can be hard out here for a writer, sometimes it doesn’t feel like work.