Many of the writers we mentor are interested in making children’s book writing their official career. That’s one of the main purposes of this Writers in the World thread here on our blog—to give you some insights into how each of us manages to make this our official “day job.”
Last week Laura shared the fun of attending a major national conference—sometimes being a writer in the world means you get to be a celebrated part of the amazing kidlit community. But sometimes, being a writer in the world means you do a whole lot of things that don’t seem to have much to do with writing. All too often you spend a hunk of your time acting as a small business manager. For example, I found out that the health insurance plan I signed up for just a few months ago is not continuing into 2015. So I laboriously made my way through online forms and spent hours on hold to get my questions answered. Unfortunately, living in the world of the imagination doesn’t get me out of dealing with red tape!
Writers must also spend a hunk of our time doing marketing tasks. For example, my newest book, Get Started in Writing for Children, was originally published in June by a British publisher, and then here in the U.S. in August. I know that the book might be of interest to creative writing instructors. But I also know that publishers’ marketing budgets are extremely limited. So this potential audience might only hear about the book through the marketing I do myself. That means I’ve been spending time packaging up mailings and making trips to the post office to send off review copies.
These business and marketing tasks can be pains in the patootie—but they’re all part of being a working writer in the world. At least while waiting in line at my post office, I always get a laugh out of this sign. Each time I see it, I imagine anew the type of terrifying YA dystopian crisis it must have survived to look like this!