Poet, editor and workshop speaker Bernice Lever on the Business Side of Writing

Bernice Lever is a prize-winning BC author and poet now living on Bowen Island who has published in many genres as well as being an editor and instructor whose workshops on creativity and marketing have helped many writers. From 1972-1987, she edited WAVES, a prize-winning literary journal and also worked for other publications and publishing companies, including 4 years with The Dundurn Group in Toronto.

I met Bernice at Vancouver’s Word on the Street 2011 when walking by a table where she was promoting her workshop being held later that day. Because of her friendly manner and commanding enthusiasm for the importance of her workshop, I decided to attend and was not disappointed. She and Anthony Dalton presented very practical information and answered questions on the business side of writing to a full room of writers. What was refreshing was a lack of powerpoint slides and an abundance of knowledge shared by two professional writers with decades of experience.

On March 10th, Bernice will bring her knowledge and experience to share with Victoria writers at the workshop "Getting Down To Business For Writers".

Bernice Lever has seen many examples of writers making wrong turns, although they serve Art in their creations, they neglect the business side of budgeting all aspects of their lives. Some writers suffer from ennui — the “do nothing for now” syndrome.

Bernice writes: “If you want your words printed in a book, then do your research, make your plan and take action. Yes, you will experience some u-turns and flood waters, but keep on your road until you succeed. Being a creative person and being a business manager require very different skills, and yet even the most talented and successful/productive writer can be bankrupted by disorganization or neglect of those boring bookkeeping or budgeting chores, just by losing focus.”

Mistakes range to everything from not making a yearly budget and allocating resources to priorities; to not scheduling business and creative time separately and then wasting creative time worrying about business tasks; not taking time to read business agreements and contracts; not paying attention to numbers; not treating other people’s deadlines seriously; not knowing the difference between bragging (don’t do) and promotion (do), and not knowing how to deal with years of financial losses and then having a sudden one-time high payment. In addition, having an “Office in the Home” designation for income tax is a positive route for writers who plan to write as a business.

Bernice is also knowledgeable about how authors can gain funds via Public Lending Rights and Access Copyright, and she will explain these two programs at the workshop. 

Writers want to be able to write and they want to be read by others. This requires finding a way to balance creativity with practicality and having a business-like approach to activities, communications and plans.

Bernice has successfully balanced both creative side of being a poet with the business side of being self-employed; her knowledge should prove to be a rich source of ideas and insights for any writer who wants to improve their focus on the business side of writing and maximize their time and finances.  

While Bernice is a traditionally published writer, her information will also be especially relevant for self-published writers or writers who plan to self-publish. 

The March 10th Victoria BC workshop is limited to 25 people. To register for the workshop, and for details about the other speakers from Whitlands Publishing and Friesen Press, go to http://3pennypublishing.com/events.htm 

For more about Bernice go to The Colour of Words 

CLH - February 2012