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Writing vs Awesome (2)

When superblogger Eric Gates invited me to contribute a guest post here, he had only two requests. It had to be about writing, and it had to be “awesome”. Crap. I could think of a lot of awesome stuff, but if I tried to diagram the overlap, it would only have one item. And although my dog IS adorable, I don’t think she’s what Eric had in mind for this post. So with the other 99% of my topic ideas eliminated, I was saved at the last minute when a friend sent me (yet another) Very Serious Discussion about embracing the business side of our craft.

“It’s not personal, Sonny. It’s strictly business.” —The Godfather, 1972

I’m constantly amazed by the way we writers undertake the business of writing. A while ago I started to think about what it would look like if other professions took the same approach to their business goals. With several suggestions for additional business comparisons since then, I decided to add my own updated version of what would happen if other sectors marketed their product the way writers do.

Gynecologist: “The first ten people who ‘like’ me on Facebook get a free pelvic exam.”  [image credit: imgur]

im a lawyer

Lawyer: “I’m not actually charging my clients because I’m building my reputation. Someday I’ll be famous and they’ll all pay.” [image credit: caoazul]

CEO: It's okay if we don't show a profit. I've got some savings and my retirement—we can use that to keep going for a while.

CEO: It’s okay if we don’t show a profit. I’ve got some savings and my retirement—we can use that to keep going for a while. [image credit: movieclips.com]



Accountant: I could get better medical insurance if I worked for Starbucks, but I’m sticking with this because auditing tax returns has always been my dream. [Image credit: irs-funny-gif-1]


Surgeon: I’m giving away free appendectomies so more people can experience my art. I’m working two extra jobs to pay the bills, but it will be worth it when the reviews start rolling in. [image credit: gather ]

Psychiatrist: I’ve spent over twelve years honing my skills, working a day job at Chez Mac’s while exchanging psychotherapy consults with my psychiatry group at night. [image credit: poorwilliam]

 I’ve been having this recurring dream that what I tell you ends up in Barb’s blog


Dentist: “I’m doing a blog tour, and you can enter my rafflecopter giveaway for a free root canal if you send a tweet, leave a comment, and add your email to my mailing list.” [image credit: gurl]


Broker: “I’m sending out free shares in hopes that people give them good reviews on Goodreads.” [image credit: communities.netapp.com ]


Chef: “If I charge more than the food truck, nobody will buy my next dish. I’ll just get a day job at Chez Mac’s so I can keep giving my gourmet dishes away.” [image credit: introhive]


Banker: “I think I’ll just work at home, alone, second-guessing all my decisions while I whine about getting lenders-block.” [image credit: nexusilluminati ]


Human Resources: “Instead of a salary, we’ll pay people a small advance against future profits. Then they’ll get paid in royalties. If they actually sell enough to pay back that advance, that is. And there will be at least a year’s delay before the payments start, of course.” [image credit: wolfngards ]

CIA: Even though you work for an evil empire, we want to keep your leaders on our side so we're going to give you everything you want. Besides, if we don't like what you do with it, we can always come back and kill you off in the sequel. [image credit: ]http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/chat/2996626/posts]

CIA: Even though you work for an evil empire, we want to keep your leaders on our side so we’re going to give you everything you want. Besides, if we don’t like what you do with it, we can always come back and kill you off in the sequel. [image credit: freerepublic ]

Oh…wait. The writer’s business model is already the same as the CIA? Who knew?

[image credit: The Princess Bride ]

I know what you’re going to say. It’s not fair. Some of the best writers in the world are still asking “And would you like fries with that?” at their day jobs. A writer I know was adding up all she’d spent on editing, proofing, formatting, and marketing her book. Her conclusion? “I could probably have done better if I spent it all on lottery tickets.”

But here’s the thing. If you buy every single ticket in a particular lottery, you are guaranteed to lose—because the prize is NEVER more than a fraction of the ticket sales. The trick is to be lucky enough and smart enough to buy just enough tickets. Every word we write is a lottery ticket that we pay for with our time, our imagination, our talent, and our luck. Most of those tickets won’t bring home the big prize. But they can’t bring anything at all if we don’t buy them to start with. So here’s the business model I’m going to work with:

I write to give myself strength. I write to be the characters that I am not. I write to explore all the things I’m afraid of.—Joss Whedon

That seems to be working for Joss, and I’m guessing it will do for me. My publisher, on the other hand, has a more hands-on approach. As I’m finishing up the next book in my Null City series, they have set up earlier books for special deals this weekend only. Book 1, One Way Fare, is FREE from Friday until Sunday. And the most recent book, Round Trip Fare, is down to only 99¢/£.99 until Sunday.

ONE WAY FARE, FREE until Sunday, May 7th

 ROUND TRIP FARE is only 99¢/£.99 until Sunday, May 7th!

NULL CITY: You have to understand that everyone in Null City is a normal human. Most of them just didn’t start out that way. Imagine you’re some superhero with special gifts or abilities that are, frankly, damn awkward. Let’s say, for example, that you are the Man of Steel, but you don’t dare have sex with the Plucky Girl Reporter because your LittleMan of Steel would probably split her in two. (And we’re not even going to discuss the havoc your Swimmers of Steel could wreck on Woman of Pasta…)

The point is that when you think about it, most people with special powers would be lining up to get rid of them and get their normal lives back. That’s where Null City comes in. After one day there, those with extra gifts turn into their closest human counterparts. Dragons, for example, might become realtors. Or imps become baristas. (Of course, those imps are now ex-PhD candidates in literature or classics who claim to be experts on third-world coffee blends and obscure world music groups. But hey — there is only so close to human that hellspawn can get…)

barb_taub_null_city_500x800 (1)

ONE WAY FARE: FREE until Sunday, May 7th!  Superpowers suck? Try Null City. After one day there, imps become baristas, and hellhounds become poodles. But someone should have told them the angels were all on the other side. [Click on image for preview, reviews, and FREE copy link from Amazon]

ROUND TRIP FARE: only 99¢/£.99 until Sunday, May 7th! Warden Carey Parker’s to-do list is already long enough: find her brother and sister, rescue her roommate, save Null City, and castrate her ex-boyfriend. Preferably with a dull-edged garden tool. A rusty one. Click on image for preview, reviews, and buy link from Amazon