I feel privileged to invite talented non-fiction and fiction writer Elizabeth Ducie over as my Tuesday guest. I became acquainted with Elizabeth through Swanwick Writers’ Summer School. Today she’s come along to discuss the importance of asking questions when setting up as an Indie Writer. So without further ado, it’s over to Elizabeth.
Why Asking Questions Is An Important Part Of Setting Out To Be An Indie Writer
I started writing fiction in 2006. But I have been writing non-fiction for forty years. My first independently-published book was my doctoral thesis, and glancing at it recently for the first time in ages, I was struck by how much things have changed since 1979. The text was prepared on a typewriter by my mother; the illustrations were photographs stuck in with glue. And the graphs were constructed using Letraset. The whole process was laborious and took weeks. And for a ‘proper’ book, the route was pretty much always going to be via a traditional publisher, which once again took a long time, a lot of effort, and an element of luck.
These days, I am a competent touch-typist who prepares her text directly on the laptop. Illustrations are jpeg files imported at the touch of a button. And graphs are constructed from a spreadsheet. I can set up and publish a book within a matter of days, should I wish to. Technology has changed; the barriers to publication are lower; and for many writers, the goal is to leave behind the ‘day job’ and write full-time. And that means taking the step towards being a small business owner.
But before ourselves out into the great unknown, there are a few questions we need to consider:
- What do I write, or what could I write? Are there more lucrative areas, like copy writing, which I could use part-time while working on my novel or collection of short stories? Is there an area in which I am an expert, about which I could write a text book?
- Is there anything else I could offer, such as editing services or training courses that I could fit around my writing, but which would keep me in the writing world?
- Who will buy my writing? Am I only aiming to sell direct to readers, or will I be aiming for magazines, purchasers of website copy, or other users of my words?
- How will I market my writing? If no-one knows about me, how will they learn about my writing? Am I up to date with social media, or will I be concentrating on face to face promotional activities?
- What are the financial implications of my plans? Do I have reserves that I can use? Do I need to keep a ‘day job’ for the moment? Can I switch to part time working in the interim?
To answer all these questions, we need to think, not with our creative hat on, but with our business one. I have always believed in keeping things simple. Simple goals; simple business systems; and simple approach to business. With a clear and honest view of our options and opportunities, we have a much better chance of making a success of our goal to be a self-employed writer. It just takes a bit of planning.
Thank you, Elizabeth. I am sure my readers will agree that the above article was very informative.
Find out more about Elizabeth’s non-fiction and fiction writing by visiting her website and social media pages on the links below.
But first, let’s find out a bit more about Elizabeth.
About Elizabeth Ducie
Elizabeth Ducie gave up the day job after thirty years as an international technical writer and consultant to write full-time. She has published four novels and three collections of short stories since 2011. She has run her own small business since 1992 and started writing and lecturing about The Business of Writing when she realised that few independent authors were fully prepared for the requirements of being a small business owner. She believes in simple business systems that free up maximum time for writing. She has an MBA from Cranfield and regularly presents workshops on The Business of Writing at conferences and literary festivals. Parts 1, 2 and 3 of the series deal with business start-up; finance systems; and improving effectiveness.
There is a workbook associated with these volumes, allowing writers to work through the process for themselves. Part 4 Independent Publishing was launched in August 2019.
All material is available in ebook format or as paperbacks.
Elizabeth’s fiction writing consists of a trilogy in the Suzanne Jones series as well as a standalone book, Gorgito’s Ice Rink.
You can find out more about Elizabeth’s books and how to order them on this link here.