This is an extra post that's really just a reprise. When I first started this blog and had about 3 followers, I began a series called "10 commandments for aspiring writers in 2009". Virtually no one read it because virtually no one knew I was here, but some people who did kind of liked it, so I'm reprising with links here. It's also a nice way of leading in to a new series I'm going to be running in the autumn, a 12-step programme to help writers intending to make a serious attempt at a career of it, starting in 2010, hit the ground running with a proper business plan.
So here, goes, my 10 commandmets are:
1.There is no stigma about self-publishing
2.Marketing is something small groups of like-minded writers can in many ways do better than big publishers
3.By the time the recession’s over the publishing houses will be playing catch-up with the new literary business models that emerge in the meanwhile
4.The internet is SOO much more than just another way of getting the same old type of book published
5.Don’t be afraid to give your work away for free.
6.Modern technology cuts out the barriers between readers and writers and brings prose back to life
7.Writing is not a zero-sum game – far from making my success LESS likely, your success makes it MORE likely, so cooperation between writers is a good thing.
8.Money follows innovation
9.Networking is about looking for ways to do something FOR people, not get something FROM them.
10.Writers need to think like musicians and artists; we need to be showmen and women, to work in the public eye.
When I wrote the series I was new at this, and probably too brash, but I think a lot of the points remain valid, and I certainly hope there's at least a bit of useful advice there. Here are the opening lines of, and links to, the separate posts on each commandment.
1. In many ways this debate is already tired. Some writers will never take self-publishing seriously. For others the “stigma of self-publishing” isn’t an issue that figures on the radar. [Read more]
2. Marketing is something small groups of like-minded writers can in many ways do better than big publishersIf there’s one reason writers give more than any other why they don’t want to self-publish, it’s marketing. [Read more]
3. Please note, there are no value judgements in this post. I’m not saying publishing has to change, or ought to change – nor am I saying the current way is bad, or that we are stepping into Utopia. I’m simply saying what I think WILL happen. [read more]
4. Blogs have turned the internet into some kind of noisy Hobbesian nightmare. Twitter has quietened the noise to a series of feint coughs, but the effect is the same – now everyone has something to say and no one has any time to listen. We are all participants; we are all producers; the consumer is dead. [Read more]
5. I’m not going to mention The Pirate Bay in this article. Not once. Except for that, of course. If you want my opinion on the record, it’s this – my only thought as I read the coverage was how sad it was that everything was about file-sharing games, music, videos. [Read more]
6. A lot’s been made of the democratising effect of the Internet. We live in a world where we can all be producers of culture. Anyone with Internet access can set up a blog and pour out their soul. And it takes little more than a mobile phone and to that you can add sound, picture, and film to the “we’re all at it now” package. [Read more]
7. Writing is not a zero-sum game – far from making my success LESS likely, your success makes it MORE likely, so cooperation between writers is a good thing.This column is probably as low on content and high on rhetoric as I intend to get in this series. I want to address an issue that’s vexed me ever since I started participating in online writers’ groups at the very start of 2008, after reading a little snippet in the Writers and Artists Yearbook about youwriteon.com. [Read more]
8. One of the questions I’m most often asked when I explain what I’m doing is “How are you going to make any money doing that?” Actually, it’s not usually phrased quite that way – more “it’s all right for you, but we’ve got bills to pay” or less family-friendly rewordings of the same sentiment. [Read more]
9. This is my favourite commandment of all, and I’m delighted to save it till last in this series. We’re always reading about networking. Anyone who’s part of a writers’ site like Authonomy knows that success has so much to do with spreading your social tentacles, and we’re always being urged to use social media to increase our contacts and improve our chances of success [Read more]
10. Writers need to think like musicians and artists; we need to be showmen and women, to work in the public eye, and to make our money from selling an experience rather than a piece of hardware. [Read more]
When I first started the series, I thought number 9 was the most important commandment by far. Nothing's changed, although I think 7 is pretty high up there. What the past few months have enforcd are the supreme value of cooperation between writers.
Do let me know which you think is most important, and where I'm totally off-beam.