Wednesday, May 13, 2015

My Guest: Barb Taub

When I first read the post by this week's Guest, I had tears in my eyes... initially from laughing so hard, then through the realisation she had hit the nail on the head. Intrigued? Ladies and Gentlemen...

Barb Taub

The Write Biz

When Eric invited me to contribute a guest post, he had only two requests. It should be about writing, and it should be "awesome". Well, damn. I could think of a lot of awesome stuff, but if I tried to diagram the overlap with writing stuff, it would look like this:

Unfortunately, (although she is awesome), I don't think my dog is what Eric had in mind for this post. So with the other 99% of my topic ideas eliminated, I was saved at the last minute when a friend sent me (yet another) Very Serious Discussion about embracing the business side of our craft. One of the things that never ceases to amaze me is the way we writers undertake the business of writing. I wondered what it might look like if other professions marketed their product the way writers do.
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    ·     Gynecologist: The first ten people who 'like' me on Facebook get a free pelvic exam.
    ·         Lawyer: I'm not actually charging my clients because I'm building my reputation. Someday I'll be famous and they'll line up to pay.
    ·         CEO: It's okay if we don't show a profit. I've got some savings and my retirement—we can use that to keep going for a while.
    ·    Accountant: I could get better medical insurance if I worked for Starbucks, but I'm sticking with this because all my life I've dreamed of auditing tax returns.    

    ·      Surgeon: I'm giving away free
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appendectomies so more people can experience my art. I'm working two extra jobs to pay the bills, but it will be worth it when the reviews start rolling in.
     ·         Psychiatrist: I've spent over twelve years honing my skills, working a day job at Chez Mac's while exchanging free psychotherapy consults with my psychiatry group at night.
    ·       Dentist: I'm doing a blog tour, and you can enter my rafflecopter giveaway if you send a tweet, leave a comment, and add your email to my mailing list. Winner gets a free root canal.
    ·    Broker: I'm sending out free shares in hopes that people give them good reviews on Goodreads.
     ·        Chef: If I charge more than the food truck at Amazon, nobody will buy my next dish. Instead, I'll get a day job at Chez Mac's so I can keep giving my gourmet dishes away.
    ·       Banker: I think I'll just work from my dining table at home, alone, second-guessing all my decisions while I whine about getting lenders-block.
     ·      Human Resources: Instead of a salary, we'll pay people a small advance against future profits. Then they'll get paid in
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royalties. If they actually sell enough to pay back that advance, that is. And there will be at least a year's delay before the payments start, of course.
    ·        CIA: Even though you work for an evil empire, we want to keep your leaders on our side so we're going to give you everything you want. Besides, if we don't like what you do with it, we can always come back and kill you off in the sequel. [Oh...wait. The writer's business model is already the same as the CIA? Who knew?]
I know what you're going to say. It's not fair, especially when some of the best writers in the world are still asking, "And would you like fries with that?" at their day jobs. A writer I know was adding up all she spent on editing, proofing, formatting, and marketing her book. Her conclusion? "I could probably have done better if I spent it all on lottery tickets."
But here's the thing. If you buy every single ticket in a particular lottery, you are guaranteed to lose—because the prize is NEVER more than a fraction of the ticket sales. The trick is to be lucky enough and smart enough to buy just enough tickets. Every word we write is a lottery ticket that we pay for with our time, our imagination, our talent, and our luck. Most of those tickets won't bring home the big prize. But they can't bring anything at all if we don't buy them to start with. So here's the business model I'm going to work with:
“I write to give myself strength.
I write to be the characters that I am not.
I write to explore all the things I'm afraid of.”

That seems to be working for Joss Whedon. I'm guessing it will do for me.

But just in case — I've got this pile of free bookmarks if anyone's interested...


In halcyon days BC (before children), Barb Taub wrote a humor column for several Midwest newspapers. With the arrival of Child #4, she veered toward the dark side and an HR career. Following a daring daytime escape to England, she's lived in a medieval castle and a hobbit house with her prince-of-a-guy and the World’s Most Spoiled Aussie Dog. Now all her days are Saturdays, and she spends them consulting with her occasional co-author/daughter on Marvel heroes, Null City, and translating from British to American. 

Just a word about her 'Null City' Series: Superpowers suck. If you just want to live a normal life, Null City is only a Metro ride away. After one day there, imps become baristas, and hellhounds become poodles. Demons settle down, become parents, join the PTA, and worry about their taxes. But outside of Null City, now that the century-long secret Nonwars between Gifts and Haven are over and the Accords Treaty is signed, an uneasy peace is policed by Wardens under the command of the Accords Agency. 

When Barb is not entertaining us with her keen wit or writing superb novels, she can be found here:

Amazon Author page:

Thank you, Barb, for such an incisive and humourous disection of one of the aspects of an Indie writer's life that often goes unnoticed by our readers.

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