Writing has two components, the creative one and the business one. A faculty member at a past SCWW conference said the difference between an author and a writer is the author has something published.
For most of us, the creative part of writing comes naturally and we find it exciting and energizing. I don't know about you, but those aren't always the same feelings I get when researching agents or writing a query letter.
Part II of this series touched on The Method, the nuts and bolts of craft. This post, The Market, is its counter-balance, the nuts and bolts of the industry. The industry encompasses everything of how the publishing world works to get your story into the right hands - agents', editors' and readers'.
A quick search of articles in The Writer and The Writer's Digest illustrates the wide range of topics under 'market.' Getting your foot in the door - Do you know how to find the right agent for you? Do you know which pitches and query letters work? Changes in publishing - Are you familiar with and know the pros and cons of traditional publishing, self-publishing, e-publishing? Rights and responsibilities of authors - Did you know if you blog it might be considered a business and you could be liable for fees or licenses? Changes/trends in genres - Do you know the difference between literary fiction, women's fiction and upfiction? Do you know what editors are looking for or what has already saturated the market? Readings, signings, websites, blogs, webcasts - Are you familiar and savvy with all the ways to promote your book?
I follow several agent blogs and even though they represent different genres, one common thread throughout is the reminder to writers that publishing is a business. The people best-suited for helping us learn the business are agents, editors and authors.
One of the reasons for the success of the SCWW annual conferences is the faculty we bring in each year. This year we have eleven agents and five editors representing as many agencies and publishers. We have six authors who bring their own experience of being where we are and getting to where we want to be.
The Market sessions at the conference offer behind the scene glimpses of trends in the industry and what catches an agent's or editor's eye. As I mentioned in my previous post, some of the sessions listed can fit in more than one area. The ones here are those I think generally fit in the The Market.
Book Promotion: For Writers, Introverts and Other Reluctant Marketers.
Legal Issues Every Writer Should Know
Panel: What Are We Doing Here? Why Authors, Editors and Agents Attend Conferences
Tips and Trends for the Children and Young Adult Markets
She Said, She Said: The Dueling Prospective of Agent vs Author
Agents' Panel: What Gets Our Attention
It's easy for us to navigate and enjoy the worlds we create, but there is another real world to writing that can be just as fascinating if we listen and follow the guidelines. It doesn't matter if our manuscript is polished and ready to go, or still finding its way onto the page, if we want to be authors, we need to know the business.