Business Musings: Blogging the Business Master Class

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Clockwise from back: Lauryn Christopher, J.F. Penn, Dean Wesley Smith, Mark Leslie, Eric Kent Edstrom, T. Thorn Coyle, Dayle A. Dermatis, David Stier, Michael Warren Lucas, Allyson Longuiera, Kristine Kathryn Rusch, Michael Kowal


Every year, we hold a Business Master Class at the Oregon Coast. We gather a lot of knowledge and boot-strap information. All of us are indie or hybrid, and we’re looking for ways to improve our careers. And some of this is for me, since traveling to a big conference like NINC is exceedingly difficult for me (I can’t fly any more) and I’d miss parts of it due to other people’s perfume (which makes me gravely ill).

One of our hard and fast rules about any coast workshop is that we do not allow blogging during the workshop. By that, we mean no comments online while the workshop is happening. We want everyone to experience the totality of the workshop before making comments.

This year, I’m not heavily scheduled in the morning, and I requested that morning topics wouldn’t be ones I’m interested in. I need time to do some health things for me, including my daily run, and I didn’t want to set those entirely aside for the workshop itself.

Which means that I get about 45 minutes every day to write—well, except Tuesday, when I’m on stage in the morning, and Thursday, which has some can’t-miss morning panels.



Sunday, October 22, 11:55 am

The workshop started last night. Saw some old friends, but didn’t get too much of a chance to talk, because everyone is tired from traveling. Did manage to learn that everyone else in this business—all 60 of us in attendance—are as stressed about time management as we are here in Lincoln City.

This morning, I’m tired. I got up earlier than usual, and although I adjusted my schedule, I didn’t adjust it far enough.

Planning the workshop has been beneficial for me because it caused me to get all of my scattered notes on my various TV/film deals in order. Also, my notes from all the folks I consulted with about TV/film deals since late 2016. I reminded myself of some important information, realized that one deal I thought was crummy wasn’t as bad as I remembered, and figured out just how much I’ve learned in 2017. So I feel a lot more solid in what I’m doing.

Although not entirely solid, since my alarm woke me out of a dream in which we substituted a panel after my 2-hour lecture on TV/film negotiations, a panel to augment that lecture. The panel included an old screenwriter friend of mine, Seth McFarlane (Dean and I argued about The Orville just last night), and Carrie Fisher (in one of her younger incarnations). The panel was about to start when the alarm went off. So…still feeling like I need some back-up, even if it’s of the undead kind.

Now, I’m off to finish my first lecture for Tuesday. Already have the slides. Just must put the information in an order I can share.


Monday, October 23, 12:03 pm.

We’re well underway. Panels and a sea of faces. Impossible to know if anything is interesting people, but good questions. Audience participation, at least for what I’ve been around, has been good. I got some links I might use in future blogs, and some great book recommendations.

But Sunday was productivity day, and my habits are baked in. I also couldn’t listen to one of our panelists (and I knew that in advance) because his methods are the exact opposite of mine, and they freak me out. My methods freak him out, so we’re even.

I didn’t go to the after-hours session, taking time instead to talk with one of my oldest friends, Kevin J. Anderson. After the year I’ve had of losing friends, I’m not going to miss an opportunity to talk privately to someone I hold very, very, very dear. The networking can wait until tonight. I’ll still see Kevin all week, but I wanted some dedicated Kevin Time, and I got it.

Tomorrow, I’m on stage from noon until 9:30 pm (dinner & lunch breaks), so I won’t blog. (It’s my longest day of the workshop.) So whatever I learn today better show up in my handy-dandy notebook, or I’ll forget everything…


Wednesday, October 23, 11:41 am.

Just freaked myself out. Realized I wrote my schedule down wrong for Friday. I’m getting up early that day too (I thought I wasn’t starting until 3:30). Yikes.

I’m exhausted. Yesterday was my longest day—11:30 am to 10:30 pm (with breaks) 3+ hours of lecture, 3+ hours of panels. Today, not as bad. But still complicated.

The last two days…wow. Great stuff. I have three pages of notes on Virtual Assistants, Comic Books and finding artists for projects (can be applied to other projects), translation ideas—rehiring and repaying the old translators whose books have gone OP—and a great panel last night on cash streams. Those of us on the panel opened it to the audience, who knew of tons and tons of things that we hadn’t tried yet. (We did things they hadn’t tried.) I will be dealing with a lot of this in the next few blog posts (I hope), but this is a start.

Great resources here, great folks. Lots to learn. Doubt I will have time until Saturday to blog the workshop again, but wowza, wow, wow. Even better than I expected and I expected a lot.

I’m just going to be even shorter on sleep than I had hoped. (Pout)


Saturday, October 28, 1:45 PM




Sunday, October 29, 4:04 pm.

Not as tired as yesterday. We wound everything up last night, and it was a great conference. I have very little voice, but I have more energy than last year.

My notes from the workshop run 24 pages, with lots of circles and exclamation points. We did a few things that will really help me and my planning for my writing in the future.

In many of the panels, we asked the audience what tools they use or what we’ve missed, and oh, man, the suggestions and recommendations flew. There were dozens of them, which I hope will show up clearly in my notes.

Everything from time savers on social media to ad recommendations to programs that will help with various side things that all indies do to up and coming ways of reading online emerging from overseas markets.

I carried my notes into my office this afternoon, feeling a bit overwhelmed at the sheer size of everything. Joanna Penn of the Creative Penn recommended some things that will improve shares on this site, and I was thinking, as I wandered in here, that I regretted not using my laptop to take notes, because then my notes would have been easily searchable.

I took notes by hand, because I knew that by Friday, I would be exhausted and I was terrified that I would leave my laptop somewhere. By Friday, I was exhausted and silly and giddy (you can tell that from the photo above—more on that below), and by yesterday, I was damn near incoherent. So leaving the laptop home was a great decision until…searchable!

Turns out, though, I found the information really, really fast, just by going back to the panel notes on social media. Now I have to see if I’m awake enough to implement the plugin. I want to do it, but hmmm, I think I should wait a day or two until the best of my brain returns.


We have a meeting on Wednesday at WMG. The game plan is simple: All three of us who attended (and ran) the workshop will have gone through our notes and made a list of everything that caught our attention. On Wednesday, we’re combining the lists…and that’s it.

Seriously. Nothing more than that. Because otherwise we’ll be overwhelmed. At the meeting the following week, we’ll see what we think is “actionable” (to use one panelist’s term) for the next year or so.

As I go through the notes, I’ll add to the list I started of blog topics that are going to come out of the workshop. I have that separate list and another of ways to promote various projects and a few story notes. I have a plan for organizing all of that.

Thank heavens.

You see, the thing we focused on the most during the workshop and really focused on during Saturday’s programming was time management. There’s too much stuff for all of us to do in this new world of publishing, even those of us with 9 employees. (How we ended up with 9 employees, I don’t want to think about at the moment.)

So the key is figuring out the best use of our time.

Right now, the best use of my time is threefold: organization, rest, and writing just a tiny bit. Rest really is the most important, but the thing I want to do the least.

I really want to implement everything, write every single one of my series all at once, get into the nitty-gritty of all of this…and watch a few movies, read a few books, and…okay. Just typing this makes me tired, so yeah, looks like I need to go slowly, even though I don’t want to.

(Even getting my 11,000 steps today will be a push.)

So, back to the workshop, just briefly. We did and talked a lot about promotion things, and one of them was how to promote various projects in a variety of ways.

We knew going in that about half the people involved in the fear Storybundle would be at the workshop, not including a goodly portion of the authors who have stories in Fiction River: Feel The Fear edited by Mark Leslie. We decided ahead of time to do a photo that we could all share on social media.

We finally took the photos on Friday night. By then, we were all punchy. So we have a very serious photo

and some not so serious photos. Plus Gwyneth Gibby of WMG took a bit of video of us goofing off to use in future Fiction River promotions.

That’s why that motley crew is at the top of this blog post. (And by the time it goes live on the website, maybe I will have enough of a brain to figure out the plug-in.)

As of this afternoon, I have yet to share on social media because—well, social media is social and right now, I barely want to talk to the cats. But I will share, maybe before this goes live, and then, I’ll do some other stuff.

Yes, I’m getting vague because I really really really need a nap…

This is the place where I usually remind everyone that this blog is reader-sponsored. Which I’m doing right now. I usually do something longer, but for obvious reasons, that’s all I’ll say.

Thanks, everyone, who have or are supporting the blog. Much appreciated!

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“Business Musings: Blogging the Business Master Class,” copyright © 2017 by Kristine Kathryn Rusch. Image at the top of the blog copyright © 2017 by Mark Leslie.


10 thoughts on “Business Musings: Blogging the Business Master Class

  1. Sounds like a productive time for all. I really empathize with your statement: ” really want to implement everything, write every single one of my series all at once, get into the nitty-gritty of all of this…and watch a few movies, read a few books, and…okay. Just typing this makes me tired, so yeah, looks like I need to go slowly, even though I don’t want to.” It seems that, except for about three years in the mid 2000s when everything clicked and nothing drastic happened in life, I am constantly trying to find balance in my career. Software tools and VAs do help. However, in the end, I still have to make all the decisions and guide the tools and VA. Once again, I am telling myself “Next year I’ll have finally figured it out.” Yes, not only do I write fiction. I believe it. 🙂

  2. Thanks for a great time! I learned so much. I’m letting it all settle, but I have a 7 page to do list! I’m sure I’ll condense it down over the next few weeks, but WOW what a lot of amazing information. Thanks for being so honest and informed (and for having a process so similar to mine).

    1. You’re welcome. We went over our “this is cool” list at WMG yesterday, and will develop a to-do list next week, after it all settles. (Although we already ruled out some things that sounded great in the moment, but would be too much work.) The workshop is fun and informative, and we’re already discussing next year.

      Thanks for coming! Glad it was helpful to you as well.

  3. It’s probably just as well that you took notes by hand as opposed to using the laptop. I’ve heard of studies that show that people who take notes traditionally retain the information better than people who just type every word spoken into their computer.

    Too bad you didn’t get to attend that panel with Carrie Fischer.

  4. I was the newbie at the workshop and learned so much to put into play as I proceed in my career. Highlight of the workshop? Meeting Kristine Kathryn Rusch and Dean Wesley Smith!!!!

  5. Oooh, really excited about the time management stuff. I’ve tried so many systems and none of them quite work for me. I’m always just doing triage with what’s screaming the loudest. I’d really like to plan and execute more of the publishing/marketing stuff. So far behind.

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