By Phyllis Cannon
At one time, it was possible to lock yourself alone with your inspiration in a dusty garret and emerge as an author of renown. That concept of isolated effort triggering success is due for revision.
These days, writers manage more than their vision of literary greatness. They manage their careers as a business.
Cathy Langer is the head book buyer at Tattered Cover, a wonderful chain of independent bookstores in the greater Denver area. Cathy, who is a regular contributor to B. Unconventional, gathered three scribes, the CEOs of their own writing careers, for the February 26, 2012, edition of Business Unconventional, the weekly radio business newsmagazine airing at 8 a.m. on 710 KNUS AM in Denver. The interviews are also available to download from the Apple iTunes store by clicking here.
Nick Arvin, already a prize-winning novelist, has a third book just coming out. It’s called The Reconstructionist and focuses on a forensic engineer who investigates accidents to reconstruct how they occurred. Nick, a forensic engineer who still works part time at his profession, uses the same painstaking attention to detail and discipline in creating, assembling and revising his creative writing.
To help him produce and sell that work, Nick has a devoted team of friends and professionals. It begins with his wife and others who read the many drafts and provide feedback. The first professional that Nick brings onboard is his agent to makes the deals. Then there’s his editor, the graphic designers and marketers all the way up to the head of the publishing company. Nick devises and sets the project in motion but it’s the team he heads that help weave it into success.
Social networking is another business support system available to writers. Erin Blakemore of Boulder is the author of The Heroine's Book Shelf, a nonfiction volume about female authors and their protagonists. Erin knows a thing or two about making networking pay off. She’s a fulltime marketer in her day job. At night, she’s a book author, connecting with fellow writers and others in publishing on Twitter and Facebook. Erin believes social networking had been the single most important factor contributing to the success of her book.
Erin has also met some of those people in person for coffee and at gatherings. A writers group, such as those at Denver’s own Lighthouse Writers Workshop, provides a community of knowledgeable colleagues, to provide a sounding board, advice and economic tips of the trade.
Eli Gotlieb, a former editor at Denver magazine 5280, belonged to Lighthouse Writers Workshop. Eli’s now moved to Brooklyn, New York, but stays in touch and stokes his career through online networking and his own website at http://www.eligottlieb.com. Eli’s current novel is The Face Thief. His previous books The Boy Who Went Away and Now You See Him, won a number of awards including the Rome Prize and the McKitterick Prize. Eli attributes much of his undoubted success as an author to his agent, Betsy Lerner, who he calls his “most vigilant defender”.
Erin similarly credits her agent Larry Weissman as her “champion.” Nick roundly praises his “wonderful” agent Eric Simonoff, too.
Have mastered the Business 101 of authorship, these successful writers know the value of having a good team behind them.
Business Unconventional on 710 KNUS AM is Colorado’s most popular radio business newsmagazine. Previous guests have included: Diana Nelson, owner, Kazoo & Company; John Peer, owner, High Plateau Truss; Jason Gold, founder and owner, Justin’s Nut Butter; Fred Baker, president and co-owner, Heritage Cleaners; Harvey Hirsch, founder and owner, Digital Dimensions3; and Myrna Mirow and Cheryl Kattan, co-owners, Skinny Crisps.
The program is co-hosted by business veterans David Biondo and Dean Rotbart. They invite Colorado-area business owners who would like to be featured on Business Unconventional to contact them at 855-768-2278.