The genesis of the book idea for Authorpreneurship, The Business Start-Up Manual for Authors came as I spoke with numerous authors who did not consider themselves business moguls. It was as if they were afraid that they would become miniature Donald Trumps if they did so. I say, “What’s wrong with that?” Mastering the business of writing makes you a better writer and a better businessperson.
Trump perfected his expertise through self-discipline and hard work, making tremendous personal sacrifices to obtain his wealth. He has become widely known for his no-nonsense, nature and consistent pursuit of excellence. He has legitimately earned the right to say “You’re fired!” to anyone in his employ that doesn’t reach high for the bar of excellence. You can do that when you are a master at your trade.
Writing a book with a business emphasis in mind is much like reaching that bar, striving for mastery. Even if you don’t want to quit your day job and pursue a writing career, your end product (or book in this case) should be the best possible representative of you. Your book will travel to places that, perhaps, you have never been. At the very least, your product is your literary calling card.
As a writer in pursuit of a successful writing career, you must change your perspective to that of a business person, which must be reflected in your portfolio. At your best, you are an entrepreneur. The difference is, an entrepreneur is a creator or originator of a business idea or concept and nurtures it through the implementation stage. A businessperson, on the other hand, can assume a position anywhere in the business cycle, wherever they have the expertise. They do not have to be the founder or originator of the idea or concept; they just need to know how to perform their job proficiently.
I realized early in this game that if I wanted to make any money from writing, I had to see my career for what it is: a business. There is no way around it. Competition in the writing industry dictates that you stay ahead of the pack. Developing a business perspective about the book you are writing opens the door to limitless opportunities for the modern day writer.
If you are following the route of a traditional publishing contract, your agent and publisher will handle a lot of the business aspects of your book; you become a partner in the process. Becoming familiar with the business aspects of publishing will make you a better partner and position you to make better choices, giving you the power to make valuable suggestions that support the successful completion of your book project. Understanding the process will also help you select the best agent, lawyer, and publisher for your project and make you a better negotiator during the contract stage of your publishing agreement.
However, in self-publishing, your posture as a writer changes somewhat; you are the President/CEO of your project. As we mentioned earlier, the self-published author has more control over the end result. Adopting trusted business principles ensures that your Return On Investment (ROI) yields an anticipated profit. You must be able to put together an efficient team of experts who can edit, layout and design and print your book. You must also find someone who is competent in marketing and distributing books or learn how to do this yourself. You’re not just writing and waiting for them to come; you’re putting your product within the reader’s grasp through the implementation of a viable marketing plan developed after you researched your anticipated target market. To do these things successfully, you must become the expert through research and networking.
It is imperative you find out the answers early in the game so you will be in a better position to make an informed decision about how to best position your book for profitability. Planning is the first step toward successful book sales. Let’s take a look at the elements of a start-up business plan and those for writing a new book.
Pause to study both startup procedures for business and writing. Notice the remarkable similarities. Early on in both situations, you are required to do an assessment of what it is you bring to the table to accomplish your goals. You also are required to identify what makes your business and book project unique and what distinguishes you as better than your competition. And, finally, you are encouraged to develop a team and establish collaborative relationships to achieve your ultimate goal, which is to make money by delivering your message to the masses.
Sharon Jenkins, www.sharoncjenkins.com
Inspirational Principal at The Master Communicator’s Writing Services and Senior Publishing Consultant with Ellechor Media