Amidst the epublishing/RWAChange debates running rampant around romance writer blogs, I’ve noticed people are talking about what it means to be career-focused. This is one of the big reasons RWAChange started — when the RWA definition of the term “career-focused” excluded those who make less than a $1000 advance on their books.
Here’s the kicker: epublishers don’t pay advances. In lieu of that, they pay higher royalties. It’s how they maintain a business, it’s their business model. By the current definition of “career-focused” within RWA, anyone who chooses an epublisher or small press with a different business model is not considered focused on their career. (And truly, I have no idea where this leaves unpublished members who haven’t sold yet.)
Most of us pursuing a career as romance authors (or any sort of author) do it for the love of writing, but that doesn’t mean we don’t have a strong business sense that tells us that a successful career can only be had with money. It’s why many authors still have “day jobs.”
In the world of business, companies and individuals often start with very little capital. They can take years to turn a profit, and they spend those years working themselves to death looking for every opportunity that comes their way to further their goals. Are they not career-focused if they aren’t making money for the first years? Does anyone want to go tell them that?
To me, career-focused means you’re focused on a goal. This includes having a business plan, where you’ve laid out how you wish to achieve your goals, and you work every day to meet those goals. When my book SOMETHING ABOUT HER released, I had a plan in place — one I’m still implementing every day, to further the goals I set for that book and for my career. I’m at the baby stages of my career, with my first book and soon to be followed by more. I’m focused. Believe me, I’m focused. Because if I lose that focus for a moment, I also lose my momentum. Truthfully, I think it takes more focus to start your career, than it does to be successful in it. Because when you’re starting, the goals are much farther away.
What does it mean to you to be career-focused? Does it mean mindset? And then, there is the bigger question that people hesitate to get into. If you weren’t going to make a dime on your writing, would you still write?