Do you know why most of the writers don’t succeed?
It is not because they are not good writers or because they can’t find time to write or they don’t put enough effort in their vocation.
Most writers don’t succeed because they refuse to see themselves as entrepreneurs.
Their thought process goes like this: I am a writer, I just want to write. I do not want to learn marketing, build an email listing, or deal with the publishers.
So they keep writing and hoping that one day a publisher will like their work and will give them the break. Their book will be published, it will become an overnight bestseller and they will be rewarded with the name and fame they so much deserve and soon royalties will start flowing.
I can almost guarantee you that it is not going to happen.
Writing is such a laborious, challenging, unrewarding activity that you will not be able to sustain it without some kind of payoff whether it is in the form of money or just recognition. The sooner you accept that sooner you will be able to establish yourself in this booming industry in the proper way.
Only then you will be able to wholeheartedly commit to your passion. And the way to ensure that you do get paid for your efforts is to become an author entrepreneur.
Why you may ask?
Here are five reasons:
- There is too much competition
- The conventional publishing industry is dead.
- People’s reading habits are changing
- The self-publishing industry is booming
- Entrepreneurship is not as hard as it sounds
There is too much competition.
Conventional publishers are flooded with manuscripts. There is little chance a publisher will get to read your manuscript and publish it over established writers who are also churning out new books regularly.
The conventional publishing industry is dead.
The conventional publishing industry was dying a slow death and COVID 19 pandemic has hastened this process. Perspective Publishing reported in March this year that in Italy 18,600 fewer titles will be published, 39 million books will not be printed at all and 25,000 titles will not be translated. Many publishers are concerned about whether they will be able to survive the COVID 19 crisis. If this is replicated in every country then the publishing industry will be badly hit.
People’s reading habits are changing.
More and more people are moving to eBooks and audiobooks. The sale of eBooks and audiobooks has dramatically increased since the lockdowns started in March. This unexpected event has brought a behavior shift in the reading habits of people which is expected to stick.
The self-publishing industry is booming.
It is the way of the future. It is also the way to get properly rewarded for your effort. Typically, a new author gets paid $5000 advance for their first book if a publisher likes it and is willing to print 5000 copies. The publisher will not print any more copies until all previously printed copies are sold and he has recovered his money. Then only he will print the second batch. Typically the royalties even for the established writers range from 10% to 15% of the retail price of the book.
You can earn the initial deposit by selling just 500 books at $10 each by self-publishing. That too without printing a single copy.
Wouldn’t it make sense to become an entrepreneur and publish your own work?
Entrepreneurship is not as hard as it sounds.
Howard Stevenson, a long time professor at Harvard Business School, recounts the story of a senior faculty member describing the field of entrepreneurship to a young person: “You peel it back layer by layer,” the faculty member said, “and when you get to the center, there is nothing there, but you are crying.”
In other words, there is nothing much to be an entrepreneur and yet so many people are so scared of being one.
In the writing world, an entrepreneur is a writer who makes income from her writing. To be able to do that she needs a platform to establish herself. A platform is literary her ‘stand’. It is her ‘genre’, her ‘viewpoint’, her ‘take,’ all blended into one. Her platform is also her ‘shopfront’ from where her readers can access her work.
And she needs to do that much before she has published anything. Developing skills to write the quality of stuff that people pay to read can take many years, so does develop the skill to promote your work.
Joanna Penn is a successful writer-entrepreneur earning a six-figure income from her writing. You may not have read her books or may not have heard her name but she is the shining example of how the twenty-first-century writers can establish themselves as writer-entrepreneur.
Joanna says, “the author business model is a marathon, not a sprint.” She started writing in 2006. It took her five years to develop her writing skills. In 2011 she left her job to become a full-time writer. It took her another four years to start making six-figures income. Today she is generating income from 25+ books, a blog, a podcast and a number of other sources. Click here for her author timeline from the first book to multi-six-figure income.
What one thing can you do today?
Have a look at the sites of writers of your genre and find out how they have set up their platforms. Joanna Penn, Jeff Goings, James Altucher, Shuanta Grimes, Danielle Trussoni, have all set themselves up as a business and have a platform to stay in touch with their readers and generate interest in their books.
Then start working on building your own platform.