Rebekah Ganiere – a One Woman Show
Imagine you hear about a new movie. You think, wow! I like superhero movies and the premise sounds really cool! I want to see that. So you rush right out to the theater. You happen to see a movie poster just as you are about to buy a ticket at the box office. You stop and look at the poster for a moment. You stare at it for a moment and wonder if it had been done by a six-year-old child. But undeterred, you get your ticket anyway because the premise sounded awesome and again, you love superhero movies.
So you get your popcorn and soda and candy and you pick the most comfortable seat in the theater and you settle in, excited to see the new movie. The lights go down, you turn off your phone and the movie comes up.
The main character comes on screen and he’s handsome and dashing and charismatic but you notice, he flubs his lines a little. You think, well that’s a bit strange, but no biggie. Once again you write it off and keep watching. Minutes tick by and you’re thrown out of the story a bit because the pacing is slow. Then there’s a couple characters you don’t understand, and a plot hole you see coming a mile away- but hey, it’s a superhero movie! You love superhero movies!!
You plow ahead watching it and but soon become aware of other problems. Sometimes the hero is wearing blue and sometimes green. The sound isn’t always matching up to the voices. At one point there is no set at all like they are filming in a black hole. The final straw that makes you get up and walk out is when the camera crashes to the floor and the picture does dark for ten seconds before starting up again.
What does this have to do with writing? Everything. I am a screenwriter as well as an author and my son is a TV and movie actor so I am on movie sets a lot. And what this has to do with writing it – It’s a Business.
Just like movies, writing books is a business. Your business. And to be in business you have to be professional. And to be a professional you have to know your limits.
When you go on a movie or television set there are a million people! You have the director, the producers, the screenwriter, the actors, costumer, hair and make up stylists, the gaffers, camera men, assistants, craft services, set designer, animal handlers, social worker, script supervisor, assistant directors, coordinators, and, and, and, and.
The director of the movie knows that they cannot do all of those jobs themself, even though they might want to. She went to school to train to be a director. She may know how to do all those other jobs because of some experience with them, or reading about them in school, but to have a stellar product, she can’t do them all.
As writers it is the same for us. We are the writers. That is what we’ve studied for, yearned for, bled for. Maybe in our studies we learned a bit about editing, and formatting and book covers and marketing and pitching, but that doesn’t mean we should do it all on our own.
When you self publish it’s tough- and it can be expensive. But we need to remember this is a business and for businesses to succeed you have to invest in them. Just because our twelve-year-old nephew is getting good at using Canva doesn’t mean they should do the cover art. Cover art design requires knowing not only how to use design software, but also what it takes to succeed in that genre. Same with building a website. And making swag items.
Just because we have a degree in English, doesn’t mean we don’t need to hire an editor to review our work. We need someone who is properly trained – there are a lot of folks out there claiming to be professional that aren’t – to look at our work with an objective eye and tell us our problems. Editors, critique partners and beta readers are essential. They are our focus group to test our products and get feedback from.
Now to be honest, anyone who uses Scrivener or Vellum can learn to format. It’s not that hard. But it is time consuming. So figure out if those 2-4 hours are worth it or if you are better off paying a formatter fifty bucks to do it. Same with writing a blurb. There are people out there who will do an amazing job for a small fee. It’s their specialty.
Marketing can be expensive so if you want to do it yourself instead of hiring a company to do it, then study it! Take courses on it. Learn what it takes to do it properly.
It takes all of these skills to publish and we shouldn’t do them all ourselves. There people out there who will barter their skills in exchange for one of your skills- and that is great. Some great cover artists start out by doing covers cheap to work up a portfolio. Some editor start out at a lower price to build their clientele. But make sure they have the necessary skill level! Cheap doesn’t always mean bad quality – but it doesn’t always mean good quality either!
So in the theme of the month – What’s the best piece of advice I have ever gotten? It is this – Writing is a business. Being an author is a business. If you want professional results, you need to be a professional. You need to spend the time and money to play with the big dogs and succeed. Cutting corners to save a few bucks isn’t worth it.
Remember my superhero movie? Think about this. If you went to that movie, even if you got a refund on your ticket because it was so bad, would you ever go see a movie by that director again? Most likely not. It’s the same with readers. You have one chance to make a bad impression. That impression can get you not only a bad review but burn the bridge of even your one time avid reader.
With word of mouth being the best form of marketing there is today, you need to put the best you can out there. So be professional.
More About Rebekah Ganiere
Rebekah is an Award Winning Bestselling Author and Screenwriter. Her debut novel Dead Awakenings, hit the bestseller list on release day. Her Fairelle Series, released in 2014 and has won several awards in both writing and screenwriting, including the Golden Palm and a finalist for Rone Award as well as Best Fantasy Series of 2014 from the Paranormal Romance Guild. Her trilogy The Society was released by Kensington and her new series Shifter Rising is released in 2016. Rebekah is a prolific author releasing upwards of five books a year and is currently working on six different series.
Rebekah is the President Elect of the Fantasy, Futuristic & Paranormal Chapter of RWA as well as a member of several local and online chapters. In her spare time when she isn’t writing, you can find her teaching on SavvyAuthors.com or at RWA. Rebekah is also known for her elaborate cosplays with her family and has been a guest speaker and panelist at San Diego Comic Con, Wondercon, Salt Lake Comic Con, Long Beach Comic Con, Comikaze and several other Comic Cons on the west coast as well as LTUE, Romantic Times Convention, RWA, InD’Scribe, Genre LA and Authors After Dark.
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