Friday, March 29, 2013

The Many Roles of an Author

Authors wear many hats (a term I learned from watching the show Scandal with Kerry Washington.) This is especially true when you're a self-published author. These are the roles I've been forced to adopt.

1. Writer

This one is obvious-to be an author, you need to write. Unfortunately, most self-published authors feel that because of our other roles, we don't get to dedicate the amount of time to our writing that we'd like to. We need to write faster than other authors to keep up and in this day and age, we need to write even more.

After all, right now, I'm writing non-fiction. While most fiction writers in the past didn't spend their time writing non-fiction, I usually do so at least once a week for my blog.

2. Editor

No, I'm not saying that self-published authors can depend on their own skills as an editor and bypass hiring one.

What I am saying is that I spend a lot of time critiquing other people's books. Generally, they're helping me by critiquing my book as well. But since I usually have five critique partners looking over my story, I have to take a month or two off from writing to read their five novels as well.

I spent hours for months on end correcting run-on sentences, crossing out the word "just", and discussing how to make plots stronger. You know what though? I love it. I love reading other people's stories and helping their stories become stronger. It's fun and I learn a lot about my own writing mistakes from it.

3. Marketing/Social Media Expert

Authors do a lot of their own marketing. I have a facebook, twitter, blog, and pinterest account. I socialize with other people. It is fun (and it makes you feel quite lazy spending hours on it), but it takes large chunks out of your life sometimes.

I also do a lot of things behind the scenes like filling out forms and sending e-mails, so I can get reviews for my books, interviews, guest blogs, or my book featured on various sites. When Medusa's Desire came out, I took a month off of writing and critiquing to hire a publicist for a book tour and get my book on as many sites as possible. It's a lot of endless work and even though I'm back in writing mode right now, I haven't been able to ignore marketing my novel completely.

I go through a cycle-I write quickly for up to six months (but I try to be quicker than that), get critique partners and take a few months off of writing, publish my stories and take a month off to market. Then I start all over again.

4. Website Designer

Hiring someone to design a web-site for you can costs thousands of dollars. Luckily, I've been able to find web-sites that help make the process much easier.

But that doesn't mean I get out of using HTML completely. I formatted Medusa's Desire in HTML and have to use it occasionally to get the desired posts on my blog. I have certain basic codes memorized and am learning new ones all the time.

I have to design lay-outs and banners, searching through stock images from hours to days for the right picture, doing the same for the font, and paying money for all of it. I have to edit it and organize it all in a way that's pleasing to the eyes.

I'm constantly updating and working on my web-site. Whenever I release a new novel, I have to spend the first day making sure my blog, website, goodreads, and all other social media reflect that fact.

5. Accountant

As self-published authors, we fund ourselves and our own endeavors. This means keeping careful track of our money, what we can afford and what we can't. We need to keep records for taxes of our expenses and .


T.J. said...

Yup. Learning all the hats now...

Robin Breyer said...

That sounds so familiar. Hiring an editor is very dependent on budget.

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