Hip, hip, hooray! The winner of yesterday’s contest is Jody Schwoerer. Jody, please email Jessie at jessiecrockett.com to make arrangements to collect your prize!
Jessie: In New Hampshire, plugging away on another novel
We all know writing is a job as well as a passion. There are a lot of skills that go into the crafting of a novel or a short story. But there are a lot of skills that go into the business side of the job as well. Wickeds, which new skills have challenged you? Delighted you? Still leave you stumped?
Liz: I don’t know if it’s a skill, but reading royalty statements makes my eyes bleed a little. I keep telling myself I’ll make an effort to really dig in and understand it better. If I have a burning question, I call my agent, but otherwise I try to muddle through it.
Edith: Oh, shoot. I thought this topic was going to be about balancing spoons on our noses or being able to pronounce Xhosa clicks. I’m delighted that I’m not nervous about speaking in public, and I wasn’t even when I started this gig. I’m not much of a clothes horse, though, so owning several sets of professional outfits that fit well and comfortably, travel without wrinkling, and work for all seasons continues to be a challenge. And let’s not even talk shoes (short, wide, nice-looking, comfortable shoes)…
Sherry: Whew, I like Edith, thought we were talking about party tricks — I don’t have any. Interesting topic, Jessie! I love interacting with people whether it’s face to face or through social media. However, public speaking makes me nervous. The two minute pitch, the one minute new author breakfast pitch (and really couldn’t we change this to the new author cocktail party pitch?), speaking to groups, it all terrifies me. However, I found a way to deal with the group situations. Taking someone along to interview me, relaxes me. Honestly, after the first couple of questions, I’m off and running and don’t really need them anymore. That person by my side is like my security blanket. I got the idea from Ray Daniel’s first launch party when Hank Phillippi Ryan interviewed him.
Barb: I’ve learned countless new skills from being an author, and from being a former editor at Level Best Books. I’ve created websites, e-mail newsletters, ads and so on. Actually, that’s one thing I love about being an author. You’re always learning, both on the writing and promotion sides. The Wickeds know I love tracking down numbers and data, and speculating about what it means. I have a strong business background in technology, where I even partnered with textbook publishers, but with my bits and bites of information, trying to understand the book publishing business is like the blind man trying to describe the elephant. I’ll never completely get it, but keeps me endlessly entertained.
Jessie: I agree with Barb that the range of skills is really interesting. But the one thing I’ve learned which I believe for me has made the biggest difference is better time management and organization. I am still tweaking and improving my process but I am much more adept at keeping all the balls in the air than I was before I got published.
Julie: Writing deploys a lot of skills that I might have known I needed intellectually, but I’m not sure I understood how important they were to be proficient. I agree with what everyone says. I would also add self criticism. I write with my heart, but I edit with my head. If something needs to go, doesn’t work, or is unclear, I need to fix it. I have had to get rid of entire subplots. But it must be done. I need to weigh that with self confidence. The Wickeds have been helpful in developing both.
Readers, have you learned a new skill lately? By choice or by necessity?