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The Business of Being a Writer by Jane Friedman

The Business of Being a Writer by Jane Friedman

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Writers talk about their work in many ways: as an art, as a calling, as a lifestyle. Too often missing from these conversations is the fact that writing is also a business. The reality is, those who want to make a full- or part-time job out of writing are going to have a more positive and productive career if they understand the basic business principles underlying the industry.

The Business of Being a Writer offers the business education writers need but so rarely receive. It is meant for early-career writers looking to develop a realistic set of expectations about making money from their work or for working writers who want a better understanding of the industry. Writers will gain a comprehensive picture of how the publishing world works—from queries and agents to blogging and advertising—and will learn how they can best position themselves for success over the long term.

Jane Friedman: I've worked for 20 years in the publishing industry and have a special interest in how the digital age is transforming writing careers, publishing, and storytelling. Rather than taking a dark view of how the Internet era has affected writers' livelihoods, I'm more interested in how revolutionary change can inspire new business models, and how authorship will ultimately evolve. I believe history is on the writers' side: they've been sustaining their careers in ever more innovative ways since the era of Gutenberg. Furthermore, I don't think that business and art must be at odds—I believe they can inform and push each other to flourish.

I sit at the intersection of several communities, which gives me a 360-degree view of the changes now shaping writing and publishing. People working inside the industry see me as an expert in digital and self-publishing, while independent authors see me as a traditional publishing figure. The university and MFA community see me as very commercially minded, while the business people see me as literary and academic. I would have it no other way; I prefer to serve as a bridge.

I earn my living as a freelancer, and my income is driven largely by my own writing and teaching, as well as consulting services for writers. Thus, I consider my interests to be aligned with writers' interests.