Author (not Writer) Skills – A Request for Opinions

“It seems that new authors need to learn how to shift from being an artist that wants to share their work with the world and into a business person that’s selling a product.”

I wish that I could remember where I got that quote.  I collect quotes, and that has been sitting as a draft in wordpress for some time, waiting for me to come along and write an entry about it.  Now is that time!

There was a guest post on Chuck Wendig’s blog by Robert Brockway that is well worth reading.  He talks about everything there is to being an author besides the writing part.  It’s well worth a read, and wow, was it eye-opening.

I haven’t been thinking about that stuff much, but from what I’m gathering, it’s really important.  The ability to market yourself, to reach your audience, to competently edit your own work, and all the others things that authors need to know how to do.  It only gets more complicated when you talk about self-publishing.

And honestly, I’m not even sure what all skills would be included here, but I’d like to know.  I’m trying to be more serious as an author, not just a writer, so I really ought to work on these things.

A few things, off the top of my head, that I will for sure consider important:

  • The ability to maintain a blog, including whatever light web-page design that goes into that
  • The ability to maintain an active social media presence to be able to reach out to readers
  • The ability to edit your own work with an objective eye

If we wanted to talk about self-publishing, then I would add manuscript formatting and cover design in there as well.  For traditional publishing, I’d add how to write a query letter.

I am a complete novice about how to market books, down to what you do for book blurbs (I don’t read them, so I’m critically bad at them).  I don’t know how  to build or reach an audience, and I likely have blind spots a mile wide about what else is important (financial stuff has to be, at least at some point).

So!  Oh wonderful readers in readerland, what do you think, in your experience or imagination, are important skills for authors to have besides the ability to write a good story?

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