It’s A Business, People

Two things happened in the last 12 hours to get this post twirling about in my head.

The first was last night talking to Roomie who didn’t understand the amount of money I was considering slapping down to begin the next project (It’s not Ben & Jenna LOL – but please feel free to keep asking!)

The new project is a Super Secret I’d hoped to announce next month, but because of my own incorrect expectations about how long it would take to find a cover designer and formatter, it might be the month after that. One word: I’m so freaking excited about the Super Secret project that it sometimes makes me panic a bit. I’m really hoping to create somethings readers will fall in love with.

But, back to the business at hand: BUSINESS.

So, you want to be a writer/editor/designer/artist/formatter/PR rep/etc? You want to go out on your own and have people either hire you to create/run something or create something people will buy?

Then you want to run a business. Period. End of sentence. Don’t even argue with me on this. If you want my money, it’s not a hobby.

If you want me to work with you, I have some minimum requirements as a business woman:

Give Your Business a ‘Storefront’

Facebook is not a storefront. Facebook moves. Give me something static. Something that’s easily negotiable.

I should be able to click on tabs (or even links) to see samples of your work, your business model/timeline set up, requirements for jobs, an “About” section, and preferably a pricing structure.

Your pricing structure could have a clause saying something like, “Extras may create additional charges that will be discussed before finalized.”

Separate Your Life

No one likes going into a store where you get a dose of TMI from the sales girl.

Remember this. Remember that for most people, their storefront needs to be strictly about work.

Of course there are cross-over situations. Tawna Fenske is a perfect example of a writer who ties her personal life into her blog about writing. It works for her. It’s a great blog, Tawna’s a great writer, and her fans love it.  If you’ve followed her though, you’ll see she has the magic touch of making you feel as if she’s 100% transparent while keeping what needs to be private private.

I don’t want to check out a cover artist only to have to weed through pictures of her kids and recipes and stories about her cat. Don’t get me wrong. I’m not judging people who post that stuff. I post enough personal stuff on my personal areas that that would be kettle/pot. But, I want to know what she’s going to do for me — how we’ll work together as business partners.

Make the line clear enough that people don’t have to HUNT to get what they want.

Hunting typically equals giving up and going to someone else.

Professionalism

You’d think this was a no-brainer. You’d think wrong.

I have seen a run of people giving poor reviews to books they worked on.

If you touch a book, you do not review it.

Usually people complain about positive reviews coming from people involved, but just is bad is the “I did this cover, but the book is horrible” or the “I edited this book and she ignored my marks. Please don’t judge me by this book” or the “I knew this book was bad when I started formatting it, but had already agreed to do it” reviews.

Yes, we’re all readers too – but there are enough other books out there to review that there’s no reason to review ones you’ve worked on.

My personal policy: If I have given you notes on your book OR if you are a good friend, I do not review your book. Period.

This extends beyond reviews. Everytime you’re about to post something, ask yourself, “How will my clients view this? Will it harm any of my working relationships or reflect on them in a negative way?”

Golden Rule this puppy.

Expect Clients To Talk About You

Any second now (if there isn’t already one up I don’t know about) there will be a Yelp version of product/services review for the Indie world.

If there isn’t, you should know that there are forums (opened and closed) and loops where the main purpose is to discuss working relationships with publishing partners.

I have a running list of names who have been recommended and a second list of people to never contact. I’m sorry to say the second list is growing too quickly (also, no, you can’t have the list. I won’t be responsible for making that call for others based on recommendations of others.)

Some things typically discussed:

    • Timeliness
    • Communication style/ability
    • Product
    • Willingness to listen and give us what we need/want
    • Your process
    • Easy of ability to work with
    • Cost

I can’t stress this enough –> If you are charging a cost for goods or services, you are a BUSINESS.

This goes for authors as well. This whole gig is divided into two parts: Being a writer and publishing your work.

You’ve seen over my last few posts what I think of that and where I think our standards should be, so I won’t bore you — but create a book/art doesn’t make you except from respecting the process and the purchasers.

So, before you slap up a shingle and call yourself a fill-in-the-blank, make sure you’re business ready.

~~Caitie~~

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