The writing industry has been feeling some shakeups as of late – from companies closing their doors to cutbacks to one side declaring the other “an insult to the written word.” It has not been pretty out there. Even local writing conferences and author events have been announcing cutbacks or a complete “no show” for 2017.
During these times of change, the Mountain Valley Writers are determined to help you develop the tools you need to build your writing success.
Setting the Foundation for Writing Success
1. Get your own real estate. Social Media can be valuable for engaging with others, but it is not a solid foundation. The site controls the rules and can change them at any time – not good for you if that means that you get blocked or locked out from using a tool that was working. Set up a website you control and also begin building your own email list. It might be interesting to also have a snail mail list – because who doesn’t still enjoy getting fun things in the mail.
2. ALWAYS read the fine print. Know your rights and know how to execute your rights. Keep a copy of your rights with your files so they are easy to access. It might be a good idea to highlight your rights so that you can find them with ease when scanning the pages (those contracts can be LONG and very wordy). The more educated you are about what rights you have the easier it becomes to stand up for them.
3. Never expect someone else to be your answer or your source. They can be a tool in your journey to success, but you hold your answer. If you know that you hold your answer then you will not be as devastated when they disappoint.
4. Two words – due diligence. It is up to you to find out what, who, or how. I queried an “agent” once and she responded with a quick affirmative about my WIP. Something in her wording, or maybe her response time, made me curious. I invested some time to learn more about her and her agency. It became apparent that she was out to get money for fees – reading, editing, even promotional – and not out to build a relationship with clients. I passed on her offer. It wasn’t up to her to tell me what was the normal and customary way of doing business. The responsibility for my journey is mine. Research as much as you can, and when you have exhausted all those outlets ask others.
5. Be wary but willing. The writing industry can be a tough battlefield. Instant information and publishing opportunities served only to increase the intensity. It also has made it easier to create a trap for unsuspecting authors. Step out there, but stay alert as to where you are stepping and why you are stepping.
6. Ask the expert. Take paperwork to a lawyer BEFORE you sign – preferably one experienced in the publishing industry. Things happen and you want to be sure you are covered if things happen. “In the event agent/company goes out of business, all rights revert back to author.” Have the lawyer insure that your rights will remain yours.
There are no guarantees – but if you invest your own efforts then you can create a foundation for you and your words that will protect you when things do come up.
How do you set a solid foundation for your writing protection? Share your thoughts in the comments below.
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