Talking shop

On an earlier post, I mentioned my plan to institute a business/marketing session to my writing schedule and Sunday I made my first attempt. I found myself doing this in order to try to get some momentum going to what has been an otherwise erratic publishing schedule over which it felt I had minimum control and instinctively felt wrong.

What’s it all about then…?

I found in producing new material that the submission process took a long time, as did doing all the associated activity that goes with trying to market yourself seriously and grow an audience. At the same time it was often more analytical in nature and really didn’t sit well with a writing session where you’re trying to be creative. There aren’t a massive amount of useful tips on how to structure this activity for writers with most of the emphasis (for logical reasons) on getting you to produce. It seemed to me the most useful piece of advice I heard was to zone this activity seperately to your writing as it provides focus and allows you to focus on the business side of things more readily.

What’s the process?

I’m zoning out an entire Sunday morning every two weeks. During this time I:

– send off submissions
– produce any promotional material for forthcoming stories
– review the metrics I am starting to use to measure my progress on things like my blog, submissions (pitches, submission packages and so on), free content, etc…
– Research new markets
– check on my progress relative to my writing schedule
– brainstorm changes to any plans or supporting activity

How did it go…?

Pretty good actually. Thanks for asking. Timeboxing it provided a sense of purpose that aided decision making and having it planned meant it didn’t feel like it was eating into my writing time. Placing it on the weekend when I typically do a great deal of writing also helped as it meant it wasn’t curtailing an already short amount of writing time or feeling like it extended my working day.

So you’re selling out…?

Marketing is not a dirty word, neither is selling, if you want your art seen and to get paid for it I reckon we all need to get over this. Personally, my appetite for doing this side of it has been low because it overlaps so much with my dayjob.

My marketing and business approach do not dictate what I write: that’s the creative side of me. However, they do dictate where I send that work and, to a lesser extent, when I write it. For example, at the moment finishing my novel is more important than finishing the short story I have on my hard drive because the potential upside of a novel sale is much greater.

So I should do it too…?

No idea. I can tell you that in one morning I achieved more in terms of getting stuff in order and out the door than I did in the last five months. I plan to continue as long as it helps me move forward: if it work for you great but, equally, if you have no problem getting stuff out the door the minute your final draft is saved…well: you do what works for you.

Good luck…

The idea in taking a moment to talk shop is in the hope this is of use to someone else. It also helps me gather my own thoughts and keep track of what’s working for me. Whatever you’re doing, I hope this helps.

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