“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.
I’ve been having this recurring dream that what I tell you ends up in Barb’s blog
- Oh…wait. The writer’s business model is already the same as the CIA? Who knew? 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…)