Business Musings: Taste (or Blaming The Writer)

When I teach craft workshops, one of the things I work on the hardest is teaching writers the difference between taste and “good fiction.” I put “good fiction” in quotes, because there seems to be this belief among most writers and readers that “good fiction” is something quantifiable. Certain books are “good” because they have elements that professors approve of, or elements that the culture […]

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Business Musings: Blip or New Reality?

A lot of times on this blog, I deal with the problems in publishing. Bad problems, like agents embezzling, traditional publishers not paying royalties, income going down, or sales not up to expectations. In the early days of indie publishing, I would also blog about the problems of success. In our workshops and classes, we call them problems you trade up for. Just because a […]

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Business Musings: Own It

It took me a long time to learn that negotiation is all about strength. If you say, My agent or my lawyer too many times in the middle of a negotiation, the person on the other side of that negotiation won’t want to talk to you. You’re not the one with power.

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Business Musings: Outside The Box

While Dean was running one of our webinars on the morning I wrote this post, I decided to work in one of the nearby cafes. As I came in, a beautiful little girl wearing a flower in her hair and a sparkly unicorn t-shirt with pink shorts ran up to the counter. She tried to peer over it, failed, and then looked at her parents, […]

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Business Musings: Licensing Opportunities

I think the moment writers dream of being published, they have the same wish. They want to write the books of their heart. They want those books to reach a vast audience, and they want someone else to worry about doing all the things that turn a book from a rectangular object on a shelf into a vast global empire a la Harry Potter. Most […]

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Business Musings: Learned Helplessness

I was in the middle of a long blog post about writers licensing the rights to their work when the news broke about Donadio & Olson embezzling from their clients. I stopped what I was working on and wrote a different post, because I finally had public proof of something I’d been saying for years: that important, well-known literary agents mismanage and/or embezzle the monies […]

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Business Musings: What It Feels Like To Have An Agent

If your agent is stealing from you and still paying some of the money, then you might be making a small boatload and to you it feels like a ton of money. If the agent wasn’t there, you would be making a fleet-of-yachts money. But to most writers, most of whom have been poor, a small boatload is a great deal.

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Business Musings: An Agent Nightmare Revealed

The news broke publicly over the holiday weekend. If you blinked, you missed it. The bookkeeper for a prestigious New York literary agency pled guilty to embezzling millions from the agency, leaving the agency “on the brink of bankruptcy.” Donadio & Olson has existed for 49 years. Started by legendary agent Candida Donadio, the agency has represented some of the biggest names in fiction for […]

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Business Musings: The Books We Want To Write

I had an odd little experience recently. I found a book that I wanted to write. Which sounds weird, I know. But what I mean by that is that someone wrote a book that’s tailored just for me. Usually I’m the only one who does that. In fact, that impulse to write a book that I want to read is what gets me to the […]

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Business Musings: Workshop Excitement

Recently, someone asked me why Dean and I continue to teach writing workshops. Most established writers don’t, unless they’re asked to address a college class or spend a week at Clarion. Even then, they’re following someone else’s format, and simply putting their spin on it. Dean and I have developed an entire curriculum, both online and in-person, and we continue to add to it. We […]

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