A longtime award-nominated audio/video producer and tech journalist-turned-novelist, J. Daniel Sawyer's abusive behavior toward the English language finally landed him in trouble with the release of his hard-boiled Clarke Lantham Mysteries. When not speculating about crime and punishment, or laying out twisted visions in his sci-fi thriller series The Kabrakan Ascendency or his cabin fever comedy Down From Ten, he bends his mind toward corrupting his fellow authors with educational books like Throwing Lead: A Writer's Guide to Firearms (and the People Who Use Them) and Making Tracks: A Writer's Guide to Audiobooks (and How To Produce Them).

On the rare occasion that he escapes his cavernous studio to see the light of day, he slips away into the wilds of the San Francisco back country where he devotes his energies to running afoul of local traffic ordinances in his never-ending pursuit of the ultimate driving road.

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The Every Day Novelist: Business 101 by J. Daniel Sawyer

Writer's face a world of infinite possibility—and hard decisions. To navigate the publishing world, you must understand business and money from the point of view as a businessperson, not an employee.

Now, J. Daniel Sawyer, longtime businessman, educator, and author of over twenty books guides you through the transition from thinking like an employee to thinking like an author-entrepeneur, and gives you the tools you need to make informed decisions about how to grow your fiction writing from a hobby to a life-sustaining career.


I've been interviewed by Dan Sawyer for his podcast, talking about my writing method, and he was a purchaser of our past Nanowrimo bundles. I've been with him at a couple of writing workshops, and I think he really knows his stuff. He presents The Everyday Novelist: Business 101. – Kevin J. Anderson



  • "...will change the way you think about publishing, publishers, agents, your books, and yourself. Essential reading for new authors and veterans alike."

    – Chris Lester, author of Things Unseen
  • "Gets to the heart of the writer's business. Great stuff."

    – Nathan Lowell author of From Ashes Born



Business And Art

Part of the dream for most fiction writers—and certainly most fiction writers who pick up a book like this—is to get their work to market. To get published. To have readers pick up their book off a shelf (in a library, or a bookstore, or an online store) and read it, and enjoy it, and talk about it.

And, eventually, to be able to have an audience that follows us from book to book. Maybe even one that will pay us to keep writing—maybe pay enough that we can write as our main career (if we want to).

Once upon a time, "getting published" looked, from the outside, like it was the difficult part of the process—mysterious from the outside, filled with strange rituals and procedures (queries, partials, galleys, etc.) that one must engage in to please the gatekeepers (the editors who must like your work in order for you to have a hope of selling it). You had to get good enough to get their attention, and then you were into the secret world behind the veil.

Of course, as is the case with any game with its own rules, these procedures weren't as opaque and strange from the inside as they were from the outside. But "getting published" was still a long, complicated process, large swaths of which were outside of the author's control.

The world doesn't work that way anymore. Oh, you can still do things that way, but if your goal is to "get published," then taking it through that old-world process is doing things the hard way. Getting published now is as easy as uploading an ebook to KDP or Kobo. Of course, once you do that, you're not just a writer anymore, you're also a publisher.

Whether you go the old route or the new route, a long-term, sustainable career depends on both your business savvy and our writing chops. Later books in this series will deal with different elements of storytelling. This (as you may have surmised from the title) is a book about business.

Specifically, about the conceptual end of business. The finer points (marketing, strategy, leverage, managing subcontractors, creating systems, dealing with taxes, contracts, etc.) are all important, and deserving of a book in their own right, and that's where a lot of business guides start out.

But those are particulars. Like many other authors moving into the middle-era of their career, I've learned the hard way that a focus on the particulars will lead you into one blind alley after another unless you also learn a few basic, foundational premises.

These are habits of thought and ways of looking at the world that set the stage for practicing all those other, particular skills. They will change the way you view those skills, and they may change which ones you think are important.

These foundational premises are tough. Not because they're particularly complicated, but because they form a whole new worldview that, in many cases, runs directly counter to all the intuitions we develop as employees.

If you've worked as an employee for most of your life (and your job didn't involve business strategy or consulting or other high-level positions that gave you a real bird's-eye-view of how business works), or if you're a writer of fiction or narrative nonfiction trying to get your business bearings, or if you've been traditionally published and you're trying to wrap your head around how things work on the other side of the industry, this is your Business 101.