C h a z z W r i t e s . c o m

Write and publish with love and fury.

“Real” writers don’t just write.

Listening to a podcast on best publishing practices, I felt the urge to grind my teeth. The topic was about getting paid for our work. This comes up from time to time when numbers don’t appear to add up. Did you get all the money Amazon owes you for reads within Select? Is Pronoun’s reporting of book sales up to speed and robust? Those were concerns I’ve heard before but that’s not really what this post is about. You and I are what this post is about.

The podcast guru scolded writers who are also worriers. In essence, the advice was not to worry about such piddly details as addition. Just write your next book. A “real” writer, so the wisdom went, doesn’t have time to complain or track sales or look at spreadsheets. Trying to hold Amazon accountable for what may or may not be a banking, software or reporting issue is a “waste of precious writing time.” Get back to work.

Thus, the grinding of my teeth. Despite wearing several hats, I have plenty of time to think about business concerns. After I write two to four hours a day, my brain meats are tired and the prose starts sliding toward the goofy. Words become poorly chosen. I can’t write all day and be effective. After the writing, there’s still time to look at numbers and think about how I might change them from red to black (or in the case of Amazon’s dashboard, from red down arrows to green up arrows. Bless the green arrows.)

We are not only writers but also businesses. A publisher keeps a wary eye on the income and outgo. I am both a writer and a publisher. As soon as we wonder if there’s a chance numbers don’t add up, someone will spring up to defend the force of futility. “Don’t worry your pretty little head. Just dance, monkey, dance!”

Don’t tell me to get back to work. Words and numbers are all my work.

I’m working my ass off. Taking care of business and watching the numbers is part of the work. Don’t tell me to shut up and write. I do write. I also fight. That’s how positive change is made. Writers throughout history are among the artists that society depends upon to stand up for righteous causes, big and small. We’ve contributed to combatting racism and freed the imaginations of children who became astronauts. Dictators see us as such a threat of revolution that we’re put on lists and imprisoned.* You don’t think we’re up to fixing a financial reporting glitch by doing battle with Keith, a hipster software engineer sporting a neckbeard and a man-bun? You think we’re weaker than a self-hating fat guy from the Accounting Department named Mort? 

Think again.

Whether you are a traditional, indie or hybrid author, you are a business. It falls to you to make sure you are getting what you are owed. Read the contracts and terms of service. Consult an IP lawyer when necessary. Don’t take what your agent says at face value. Negotiate. Track. Analyze. Do businesslike things.

We don’t have to be the suckers at the bottom of the food chain. We supply the words. We’re the engine that runs this whole brain tickle business. Standing up and being an adult does not make you “less of an artist” or “difficult” or “lazy.” Acting like a business acknowledges that, in a field where most of us don’t make a ton of money, crumbs count. And we’re doing the counting, too.

We are writers. We count.

*I’m not messing around with hyperbole, either. Pen International defends freedom of expression and imprisoned writers. Find out more about their important work at this link.

~ Robert Chazz Chute’s author page is AllThatChazz.com. He’s got suspenseful books, a Patreon page link with featured rewards, podcasts and more. His latest podcast includes a bit about the benefits of floating out of gravity with She Who Must Be Obeyed, naked. So there’s that.

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Filed under: publishing

3 Responses

  1. acflory says:

    Well said. Writing may be a vocation, but publishing is a business, and businesses must be managed. Or they fail.

  2. Reblogged this on ARMAND ROSAMILIA and commented:
    Reblog: “Real” writers don’t just write.

  3. […] For more on the importance of financial tracking, check out my article at ChazzWrites.com: “Re… […]

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