A Writer Has To Be Both Creative and Business Savvy

Right and left hemispheres, creative and analytical thinking concept with businesswoman holding book on background divided into colorful and mathematical formula walls

For the last year, I’ve been reading books and attending events about writing technique, how to market one’s book, what to look for in a contract, how to work with an agent and much more. After a whirlwind week at ThrillerFest 2016 during which many of these topics were addressed, I’ve decided that a writer has to do it all, especially if one is contemplating self-publishing one or more books. Even if an individual has an agent and/or is publishing with a traditional firm, my view is that it is still smart to inform yourself about topics such as intellectual property rights, cost-effective ways to market, the composition of your audience and time management.

The good news is that there are ample resources for any writer who is predisposed to constant learning and improvement. Having been a financial education start-up entrepreneur in a different life, I see lots of similarities. When you visit venture capitalists and angel investors, you are seeking to convince them that your story is solid and you have done sufficient homework to know that your product can fill a market want or need. You must have a good sense as to how consumers buy and what will compel them to open their wallets for your work. You must demonstrate the ability to stay on deadline and then promote the final product with passion and motivating others to enthusiastically do likewise.

While commonplace to think of writers as creative and right-brain dominant, a key question is whether they can monetize their ideas on the fly or need to exercise their left-brain “muscles.” Most experts would quickly say “no” and encourage a writer to craft a comprehensive business plan.

I hesitate to repurpose content from my two business blogs but I can’t resist sharing this quote by Ray Bradbury here. “Living at risk is jumping off the cliff and building your wings on the way down.” Yes, an artist can create in a garret and count on Lady Luck or purposely architect a path to move ideas from paper/celluloid into the hands of readers/viewers.