International Women’s Writing Guild
Member Author Panel
2015 Spring “Big Apple” Conference
JLH Intro: From roughly 1983 to 2002, I worked as a Healthcare Computer Consultant. So basically this was from the dawn of hospital information systems (when people first started getting computer-generated bills) up until the dot-com/dot bomb era.
At the tail end of my Healthcare Computer Consulting career in 2001–when everyone was wondering what would come after the big Y2K push–the buzz around me was this: “Bandwidth is really cheap, so all the money will be going to go into content.”
I believed this (“Bandwidth is really cheap, so all the money will be going to go into content.”); why wouldn’t I? And that assumption–call it “Conventional Wisdom”–definitely influenced me when I decided to give up my road-warrior life and make the switch to freelance writing.
It made sense to me. I was living in Metropolitan Chicago back then, and every time I turned around, I saw a new Borders bookstore popping up. All these new Borders! All these new Barnes & Nobles! And they all had “content” in them: They were filled with books, magazines, and DVDs with “extras.” I didn’t question it. I just thought: “Well, someone must get paid something for creating all this content…” Right? Of course right!
So how do I answer Question #1: What surprised you?
What surprised me–what continues to surprise me–is how fast the publishing world has changed in the past decade. The market is forcing people en masse from staff positions into freelance roles. As a result, all these people are now pitching their own areas of expertise.
Here are some of the services I have purchased–as a self-publishing author–in the past few years: cover design, photo clearance, writing coach, text editor, text uploader, press kit preparation, press kit pitching (after learning the hard way that press kit preparation and press kit pitching are different areas of expertise), logo design, the development of graphic and collateral materials, etc, etc.
People are pitching their own areas of expertise, meaning they are looking for new ways to use the same skills that they used to provide to publishing companies, newspapers and/or magazines before they were “downsized.” But now all these services have been farmed out, and they are offered “freelance.”
Question #2: What do you wish you had known starting out?
I wish I had known that I was not becoming a writer; I wish I had known that I was becoming an “authorpreneur.”
What is an authorpreneur? “An author who creates a written product, participates in creating their own brand and actively promotes that brand through a variety of outlets.”
Question #3: What advice would you give?
My advice is to stay skeptical when people pitch their “solutions,” and continue to follow your own star. Nobody–nobody!–really has a clue what is going to happen tomorrow, so don’t let anyone convince you otherwise on your own dime.
But most important, do not let all your time be sucked up in authorpreneurship. If you want to be a writer, then you must make sure you keep making time to write!
Top Graphic: IWWG Member Profile for Jan Lisa Huttner. Follow this link to purchase Tevye’s Daughters: No Laughing Matter.
Middle Photo #1: Co-Panelists from left = Sreyashi Ghosh, Maryann D’Agincourt, Helen Leslie Sokolsky, and Jai Maa.
Middle Photo #2: Co-Panelist Jai Maa with Andrene Bonner.
(IWWG Photo Credits: Jan Lisa Huttner)
Bottom Graphic: Click HERE to learn more about IWWG = International Women’s Writing Guild.