Debunking The Myth Of Self-Publishing

In 2015, I became a self-proclaimed writer after working on my first manuscript. On my first day, I walked to my desk with a specific image of what being a writer meant. It included a closed room with a fireplace and a desk featuring stacks of handwritten and printed notes. I knew that my mental picture held a range of horrible and outdated clichés, yet I couldn’t break free from the idea that writers were geniuses working in seclusion.

As time went by, I grew more acquainted with the struggles of the modern writer. As I talked to some self-published writers, those who believed so firmly in their work that they sacrifice their time and savings to pursue their books, I realized that eBooks, print-on-demand, and online retail completely changed everything that I thought about being a writer.

Welcome to Authorpreneurship

Do you know what it takes to be a published writer? Those little red error lines on Microsoft Word will remind you of your ill-fated attempts at writing,  but fortunately I won’t have to tell you that writers have a lot more to worry about than that since the topic of Authorpreneurship has been floating around for quite some time.

For instance, writers have always taken part in their own promotion and advocacy. They looked for the best price on their books, edited through all advice, and went through making cases for seriously using spell check with a straight face.

Even with a well-funded publishing house behind you, you would be expected to attend book signings, promote yourself on social media, and directly engage with your audience. There are no amount of work from a publisher or marketing team that completely removes the author from the equation.

The writer isn’t just selling a product, but they’re selling themselves as well. A writer is more than any written work, they’re the catalog of titles produced over a period of time – the short stories in journals, the articles on websites, the posts in forums, and the books on Amazon. If you’re a writer in 2018, you’re also an entrepreneur. If you don’t think as an entrepreneur, you’re not going to reach your full potential as a modern writer.

If you’re like every single other writer in the world, you need to start applying the principles entrepreneurs live by. The spirit of entrepreneurship has seamlessly merged with the role of anything we create.

Be Your Own Biggest Fan

Self-promotion is a key to successfully selling your book. The Internet is a place full of things from videos to music to games to social media. All of them crowds out the space and attention your work needs to be seen. If you want to be seen, you’ve got to stand up and proclaim that you want people to look at your work.

Historically, getting attention for your work is the biggest hurdle facing self-published writers. Staying up late nights in front of a computer screen, agonizing over word choice, page layout, and cover design, and interacting with other people to build an audience may be an oversimplification. The point is that the marketing side of being a self-published writer is usually the toughest part of selling your work. That’s where the entrepreneurial side of the equation comes into play.

Act Like An Entrepreneur

From developing new products and software to revolutionizing industries, Entrepreneurs possess unique skills that help them pursue their goals. They are the people who take chances and get things done. The most successful entrepreneurs can also be writers, though these individuals began their careers on the business side. Writing books becomes an alternative revenue source for successful business people and for good reason. These individuals have found success in their endeavors, now they can find even more success detailing how they found success.

Authorpreneur, however, start from a different place. The traditional course is reversed, which means your product and goal is the book you’re writing.  How, then, does an writer go about acting like an entrepreneur? Well, first let’s define some of the characteristics of an entrepreneur that sets them apart.

Strategy

Entrepreneurs are strategic. Since a successful business has to start with a strategy, it’s worth pointing out that writers must possess some strategic thinking. It’s no easy task to plan a manuscript, develop it, write it, edit it, design the book files, create a cover, marketing, publish, and promote. There’s a lot that goes into making a book, so a strategy is crucial to succeeding.

Mindset

Their kind of mindset is entrepreneurial and absolutely necessary for succeeding at business and at selling your book. If you haven’t figured this out yet, being a successful writer is a business. No matter how good your idea might be, if it doesn’t appeal or apply to the needs of your customers, you won’t be selling that idea. The best entrepreneurs don’t just have great ideas, but they know how to adapt those ideas to fit the needs of their customers.

Flexibility

Be flexible and adapt to your audience’s desires. For writers, your customers are your audience, and you have to approach them in the same way. Trying to force your product into the market will be time-consuming and unlikely to realize the kinds of returns you’re looking to see. Sometimes a shift in your marketing angle, the design, or even just the categorization can drastically change your audience’s view of your work.

Analyze

Adaptation doesn’t happen without analyzing the data. We live in the age of data and information. As a writer, you might not need to worry so much about data gathering and acting decisively on that data, but when you shift gears to be an Authorpreneur, data is important. The most successful entrepreneurs are flexible and willing to adapt to their analysis. Savvy entrepreneurs adapt based on the trends their data shows them. As an author, you’ll need to track the trends in readers and the book market to allow your strategy to adapt.

Risk

Successful entrepreneurs take risks and there’s no way around it. You can gather all the data in the world, but you still only have an idea of what you should do to be successful. Strategy, flexibility, and data only get you to a place where you are ready to try something. Whether it’s a new marketing plan, a book design that appeals better to your audience, or a new way to approach an old idea, you must take the risk before you can hope to be successful. Entrepreneurs are willing to take those risks. They know that failure doesn’t mean the end, but it means they need a new strategy, to gather more data, and to adapt their plans to better suit their audience. losing is learning, which is something that the best entrepreneurs understand well.

Adding It All Up

Whether you write fiction of any sort, nonfiction, or even manuals, you’re a writer first and foremost. You start from a place of creating and sharing content you think your audience is interested in reading. Connecting those readers with your content is where the entrepreneurial mindset becomes important and where you think about your marketing strategy more as an entrepreneur than as a writer.

This shift in thinking is a result of the shift in publishing trends toward independent writers and away from traditional publishing. If you pitch your book to an agent and it and gets you a contract with a traditional publisher, you’ll still have to act as a salesperson for your book, but the strategy will be driven by others. You’ll still be a spokesperson selling your own product. Instead, you’re in complete control as an independent authorpreneur. The most successful independent writers must closely resemble entrepreneurs in their approach to promoting and selling their book.

Recommend0 recommendationsPublished in Business & Finance