“If you want to be a successful professional writer, you need to learn business.”

Kristine Katherine Rusch

THE PURSUIT OF PERFECTION, And How It Harms Writers, WMG Publishing, 2013.


Rusch makes a strong argument for writers to take control of their own careers in her book THE PURSUIT OF PERFECTION.

She points out that the business side of what we do is not a part of an MFA degree. We are often told that most writers can’t make a living. Writing is a labor of the heart, and we’re reminded that very few authors reach the level of earning potential that we all dream of. We pour our hearts and souls into our stories, and then we willingly hand over our creations and financial control to complete strangers without a second thought.

There’s no doubt that writing is hard work and long hours, and it is a business after all. All industries experience cycles of downturn. Smart business owners know how to survive through the lean times and make smart investments during the surplus years.

A writer needs to understand the publishing world and that sometimes sales slack off. If you understand your chosen profession, it might be a tweak of your writing or a new cover design is the answer. Or not. Maybe you’ve signed a bad contract.

The main point that I learned from Rusch’s book is that writers must have a grasp of the options and take control. For a new perspective on the business side of publishing, you might give this book a try. I found it to be an interesting read and an eye-opener.


Personally, I’ve always been a glass half-full kind of person. In today’s publishing world where everything is undoubtly changing, why can’t we have it all?

If you’ve ever read much about the halo marketing theory, it stands to reason that every piece of writing we tag our name to helps promote ALL of our projects. Bios in freelance articles and blog posts can include your other book titles for sale. Books published can lead to speaking invitations and booths at library fairs. Everything we tag can help drive readers to our website where they can find out more.

Set aside your dreamy, creative selves for a second and put on your business caps. If you want to control the content, put your book up for pre-sale, create a little buzz and save money to self-publish. You can make it happen.

If your book doesn’t have a universal appeal, but it’s near and dear to your heart, find a small press. Develop a killer marketing plan for your region and sell the heck out of your book. Do it now.

Should you ever write a book extraordinary enough to snag an agent resulting in a huge print run from a major house, wouldn’t that be great too?

I agree with the simple business theory that can apply to writers too: produce a quality product worth paying for.



  1. Excellent post, Natalie. I see the halo effect every single day with my books. The circle is always widening. .New readers are discovering my older stuff. Just this weekend a short story I wrote three years ago came out in a small ezine and my newer readers are reading it. Just amazing. Nothing is ever too old to put out there and keep promoting.

    Wishing you tons of success with your books! I hope you’re brave enough to jump into the deep water. Nothing’s happening in the shallow end of the pool.

    • Thanks, Linda. I love your short story “The Telegraph Tree”, and so excited to be able to read it again in latest edition of Things do find new homes sometimes. Thanks for following WordsmithSix.

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