Jane Friedman: The Business of Being a Writer
Book 93 for the year. Less than two weeks to go and a long ways from my goal of 100. Going to be really close.
My goal each year is not only to read a lot of books, but a fairly wide variety of books. I love fiction and, like most people, have my collection of go-to authors whose books I will read as soon as they are out. I peruse reading list of recommended books to find fiction authors I have not read before (and have found some good ones this year). And, of course, I love receiving suggestions on this website from readers who want me to try something they have enjoyed.
On the other end of the spectrum, I reach out for two types of non-fiction books. I enjoy reading books that attempt to explain why we act the way we act in today’s society, especially the great—and widening—political thought divide. And, of course, I read books about the craft of writing.
Jane Friedman’s The Business of Being a Writer is one of the most thorough analysis of the side of being an author most don’t want to talk about—business. The sad fact is that a career as a writer—like a career in most of the arts—is a quite difficult and seldom lucrative journey. Sure, the exceptions are easy to name because they make so much money, but the vast majority of authors labor in relative obscurity and earn little.
For many, that’s ok. Their primary goal in writing is simply to have their voice heard. If so, great.
But for others, a reasonable income makes writing the next thing possible. Friedman’s goals are to share all the possible ways a writer can earn money other than the unrelated day job as well as walk writers through the business side of the penultimate writer goal, publishing books. This is not about craft, but about business.
This is a highly recommend book, but for a niche group. If you want to write AND you want to make at least a partial living from writing, read the book.
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