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Treat Your Writing as a Business

By Charles Hopkins Published 05/24/2007 | Entrepreneur

Writing is more than just a creative process. It's a business that can create a substantial income for you. First, however, you may need to change your entire mindset.

The dream of almost any unpublished writer is one day getting published. To have their material read by the masses of people who love to read. Then, secondary to that is the desire to even get paid for their work.

Writing is one of those passions that seem to rise up from deep within and whether money is involved or not, the writer is compelled to write. Words become a living entity that breathes life into the reader who consumes them.

This is fine except that when a writer needs to make a living, the business and financial end tend to land on the back cover of the entire publishing process.

It is important for any writer to realize that once they have completed a writing project, it is then time to stop being a writer and begin being a businessperson.

Time spent creating your work is time that should be charged to your company. If you're not sure what to charge as an hourly rate, ask yourself what it would cost you to hire someone to write it for you.

Publishing contracts and processes take on many faces and all are negotiable. Having your book tied up at a publisher who will take upwards of a year to evaluate your work, and possibly reject it, is like trying to buy a car while you wait for the salesman to decide if he wants your business or not. Besides, you wouldn't give someone a year to try out your couch before they decided if they wanted to buy it or not, so why would you do it with your livelihood?

A partnership with a publisher is essentially a joint venture between two companies - yours and theirs. Your mandate as a business owner is not to just hope that they will like your writing and decide to publish. Your job is to decide if your product and their company is a good match and to allow them to do the same. Whether you actually got paid or not, if you have billed your research and writing time to your company, then you are coming to the table with a major financial investment in your hands. If you couple that together with your talent and your ability to view the world in a way that others want to explore it then you have a valuable commodity to do business with. Never feel inferior.

Are you very creative? Can see things that others might not? Do you think that you can list and expand on all the benefits of a soup bowl? If so, then copywriting may be a style of writing you wish to consider as a business venture.

Copywriters write compelling advertisement copy for companies.

Have you ever bought a meal at a quality restaurant based solely on the succulent description you read in their menu? Or did you buy a product somewhere because of what you read in a magazine ad? What about the letters you read in your mail advertising everything from credit cards to antique grandfather clocks? Those are all the works of a copywriter.

This is a very lucrative field and copywriters can make thousands of dollars, if not tens of thousands of dollars, writing about just one product. Why? Because a seller knows that a good copywriter will generate far more money in product sales than what the seller paid for the copywriting itself.

If you want to see who is looking for writers, then go to elance.com online, or buy "The Writers Market" in your bookstore.

By changing how you view your writing, you can be both creative and financially rewarded.

Keep writing!