We are living in the best time ever to become an authorpreneur.
Computers have made it easier to write, and the internet has made it possible to research, publish and sell to a global audience.
If you love to create as I do, and if you are ready to learn different skills and adapt to the changing environment as I do, then we can build a business around our writing.
But first, a disclaimer — I am not a millionairess from writing, nor am I in the publishing business. I am a new writer who is learning from those who have already made it.
I developed a passion for writing in my forties. For twenty years, I was scribbling in journals and doing occasional courses. It is only two years ago that I quit my job to devote all my energies to writing.
I was encouraged by many writers who have successfully build businesses with their writing. I made it my mission to learn from them and to share my learning with others.
The Millennials and Gen Z are born with technology on their finger-tips. They are also entrepreneurs by nature, while we, the Baby Boomers and Gen-X, have to follow a steep learning curve.
But we are a determined generation, having achieved so much in our lives. I am certain we can achieve whatever we set our hearts upon.
I have started my authorpreneur journey with this belief that with my tenacity, passion, and consistency I will be able to achieve what I have out to regardless of my age.
Besides age is just a number, isn’t it?
Let’s get on with it.
In the past few years, I have been studying the trajectory of many writers. Writers such as J.A. Konrath, Adam Croft, David Gaughran, Joanna Penn, Mark Dawson, Michael L Ronn, Jeff Goings, James Clear, Orna Ross, Austin Kleon, just to name a few. They all have proved that it is possible to build a business out of your passion.
But you need to be ready to put in the work and stick it out.
But as a new writer, it was an enigma to me where to start and where to put my effort. There is a lot of guidance, but other writers as well were ‘so-called’ academies but none of them were clear.
When you start in any profession, usually there is a clear pathway. Even entrepreneurship has certain steps that need to be taken to ensure your venture is going to succeed. Then why authorpreneurship should be any different?
I set upon finding the path.
I discovered there are five areas you need to work on to strengthen the foundation of your author’s business.
I call them pillars.
Whether you are a fiction writer, a non-fiction writer, or a content writer, the pillars are still the same.
And they are:
You cannot build any business without the mindset of an entrepreneur.
What is an entrepreneur? According to the Oxford Dictionary, “An entrepreneur is a person who sets up a business or businesses, taking on financial risks in the hope of a profit.”
This definition has two keywords— risk and profit.
In any business, you need to take risks.
Without risks, there are no gains.
And you need to prepare yourself to accept the gains. That is a profit mindset.
Many writers are not prepared to see their work as worthy of compensation.
They are happy to write for free or accept meager advance for several years of work they have put in a single book.
They dream of being a bestselling author and money to appear on their doorstep, but they are reluctant to conduct their business in such a way the profits are inevitable.
The core of any business is marketing.
We are responsible for our own success.
If we are building a business, we will not leave the most crucial part of our business to our employees.
Marketing is the most crucial part of the author’s business. Yet most writers hate marketing and would love someone else to handle it.
But it is like letting the supermarkets make a profit from your produce. No wonder farmers are finding it harder and harder to make ends meet while supermarkets are becoming giants by buying cheap and charging more.
Marketing is a lot easier and more fun if we start by changing our mindset.
Marketing is sharing what you love with people who will appreciate hearing about it. It is not telling people to “buy my book” or accosting innocent readers in bookstores. It is about connecting with people around the topic we’re passionate about and providing useful information while being entertaining and inspirational along the way.
Marketing is a form of creativity. If you consider marketing an inherent part of the process rather than something separate, you’ll enjoy it more. For example, write about the journey of the book you are writing. The places you have visited while researching, issues you have faced while plotting, the challenges you overcame while editing. All of this gives the readers an insight into your world and gets them excited about your book.
Marketing is a learnable skill. We don’t need a degree in marketing to sell books, but we do need to learn new things, try them out and practice over time. True, we can hire other people to help us, but if we upskill ourselves, it is much cheaper, more effective, and more authentic since no one knows our book, as well as we do. And who knows, we might even enjoy the process.
Marketing is more than a book launch. Especially if we want to make a consistent living with our writing, we can continue to sell books, products, and services for years to come if we integrate marketing within our creative and production process.
You can choose marketing based on your personality type. If you are an introvert you might prefer content marketing compared to an extrovert who would prefer book signing, speaking engagements, and networking events.
Strengthen your mindset pillar by thinking like a business owner. Open yourself to market your book much before you even write it.
Still, having doubts?
Tim Ferris wrote a 100-page marketing plan even before putting pen to paper to write his first book For Hour Work Week.
Tomorrow, the second pillar — Time.