At the request of a colleague, I'm spending some time talking to some writers far, far away that she's working with, and I thought it would be useful to collect the presentation in a blog post for them, and for anyone else who might be interested. You can find all the posts in this series here.
I can't possibly touch on more than a handful of topics in a single session, so I'll just mention a few that I think are important:
* The dubious romance of being a starving artist
* Your first million words
* Read like a writer
As question/answers are added during the talk, I'll update this.
I'm Karen Myers, and I've been a writer of fantasy and science fiction books for five years. I came to this late, after an official career building computer software and services companies that lasted four decades.
Today I have nine novels in three series and several shorts stories and bundles for a total of twenty-three titles. I produce three or four novels most years, when I'm not concentrating on other aspects of the publishing business. (This year, I'm producing my first translated title, into German.
I'm an independent author — all my books are available worldwide, in ebook, paperback, and audiobook formats. I expect to bring most of the audiobook editions out next year (only one is currently available).
As an independent author, I'm in charge of all aspects of publishing, from writing and editing, to layout and formatting, covers, audio recording and production, distribution, marketing, and all the finances of the business. Almost the only thing I don't do myself are translations and the cover backgrounds and titles (though I do the Photoshop work that adds my author name, imprint, and blurb to the work from my cover artist and I make all the output formats). Independents work with various third parties for those parts of the publishing business that they can't or won't do themselves, and different authors have different needs for those services. My publishing business is evolving, too — I've started publishing other authors in 2018.
This is not the only time I've taken on serious work in the arts. I picked up a violin for the first time in my 30s, and a camera in my 50s, so I know what it's like to go from nothing to reasonably competent. I'm finding it's no different for writing fiction, now that I'm a few years into it. You can see some of my other interests here.
Just about all the best advice I've ever gotten came to me from people just a little further along on the same path, and I'm grateful to have the opportunity to do the same in my turn.
The romance of being a starving artist
Look, I get it. You'll do anything to get your first short story or novel or poem into print. We all understand. “Maybe if I give it away for free, someone will enjoy it and look for other things I've written. It'll be great publicity.”
It's much more satisfying to be a paid professional than a starving artist, as any starving artist will tell you.