Here’ the big misconception.
Writers, especially beginners, think of themselves as only authors. They fail to see the whole picture.
But there is much more! An author is:
A writer of stories
Let’s look at each of these.
A WRITER OF STORIES
What do you know about writing? Here is a partial list of things you should know:
how to set up your page
All of these are tools. You have a trade, a business that involves writing. These tools are important. Lack of knowing and using these tools can devastate your business.
Whoever and However you publish, you are a publisher to some degree. If you want to have creative control of your book, then you need to know certain things:
What is a traditional, self, and indie publisher
What is an ISBN and how do I get one
What are the publishers/printers guidelines
What publisher/printer offers the best features
What are the expected royalties
This is just a partial list of things you need to know.
Today almost all authors are responsible for selling their books. If you’re a celebrity you may only have to do book tours. But the rest of us have to work to sell the books and this is the hardest thing to do. You need to know:
traditional book tours
virtual book tours
social media marketing
Again the list goes on.
Once you decided to write you became a business person whether you wanted to or not. And if you are like I was when I first started then you know very little about the business of writing.
When I first dreamed about being an author I had no idea of the real work involved. And when I wrote my first novel, I had next to no knowledge of what publisher to go with or what my involvement in marketing would be. These are things that are needed to know, but while there are courses on writing available there is scant information relating to the business of writing.
I have prepared a free mini-course on the business of writing that delves into:
why you as an author should consider yourself a business person
how it impacts your life
most importantly, how to set up a business that won’t detract from your writing.
The course consists of three videos, each answering one of the questions. The third video gets into the actual setup of the business.
I mentioned this is free. There is absolutely no cost.
I’ve written on this subject before, but today I want to expand on the subject.
A BRIEF HISTORY OF THE INDIE MOVEMENT
The Independent Press is sometimes referred to a small press. This is understandable as the Indie Press sprang from the small press. So first, let’s get a handle on small press.
Basically a small press has been categorized as a publisher with annual sales below $50 million dollars in the U.S. In addition they are categorized as publishers publishing an average of fewer than 10 books per year. However that is only an average, some do more.
According to Wikipedia these are “defined as publishers that are not part of large conglomerates or multinational corporations.”
WHAT IS AN INDIE?
What I am referring to, however, is authors becoming independent publishers of their own books! This was the purpose and inspiration for founding T&R Independent Books. We don’t handle any other authors, just ourselves. For this reason I suggest their is a clear line of separation between small presses and indie publishers.
Orna Ross (director of The Alliance of Independent Authors) says, “Being an independent author is an approach to writing and publishing, a matter of self-definition. If you see yourself as the creative director of your books, from concept to completion and beyond, then you’re indie.”
You could take that statement and expand on it. You could say, Being an independent publisher depends on how you see yourself. If you see yourself as a person wanting more control over the creative process (writing) plus the publishing, and marketing processes then you are an indie.
Being indie involves much more than just writing, but the potential rewards are also out there. Think of it this way: If you control most, if not all, aspects of writing, publishing, and marketing, you will also reap most of the profits.
“At ALLi, “independent” is an inclusive description and always relative (everyone needs help to write and publish well). Some of our members are fiercely indie-spirited, as DIY as it’s possible to be. Others are happy to collaborate with a publisher where that seems advantageous, some working with paid publishing services, others with trade publishers.
So what marks out an indie from other authors? The Alliance allows that you are an independent author if:
- You have self-published at least one book.
- You recognize that ‘indie’ does not necessarily mean ‘self-publishing only’ and acknowledge that even the most indie-spirited self-publisher works in collaboration with other publishing professionals (editors, designers, distributors) to produce a good book and reach readers. You are open to mutual beneficial partnerships, including trade publishing deals where appropriate for you, so long as the author’s status as creative director of the book is acknowledged.
- You expect your status in the partnership to be reflected in contracts and terms, not just lip service.
- You recognize that you are central to a revolutionary shift in publishing which is moving from seeing the author as resource (in the new parlance ‘content provider’) to respecting the author as creative director.
- You are proud of your indie status, which you carry into all your ventures, negotiations and collaborations for your own benefit and to the benefit of all writers.”
Well put. If you are an author this is something that you should take a serious look at. But I go one step further. To me you are a business person and need to take a close look at establishing yourself as a legal entity.
WHAT DOES IT COST?
There are quite a few resources out there for authors to use. For example you could join ALLi, but they have an annual fee. There are others that offer you training at various prices, some reaching over $100. Then there are some who will give you some basics for free.
Some of you may be aware that I now offer a free package on the basics of writing. To learn more about the business of writing click Yes, Show Me More and discover our 3 in 1 free package.
Whatever you decide to do, remember that you are more than just a writer. You are a business person!
In my last blog I mentioned a video with a special offer, but today I want to expand on the subject of a writer being in business. This may be a rather new concept to you, but it is true nonetheless.
In the above mentioned video I also talk about our Mini-Course. And in that course I look at three aspects of business. I begin with why you are a business person, then follow up with how this impacts you personally, and end up showing you how to set up your business.
In this blog I want to discuss how your writing career benefits from your business.
Assuming that you have taken the necessary steps to establish the legal and structural aspects of your business, what next?
Obviously I think that the Authors Academy should be the answer. But let’s consider the real needs of an author. That brings us to the very first need: to educate yourself on writing.
Now you may already know everything you need to know about writing, but I am always seeking to learn more and you should also! Wherever you seek that knowledge you need to learn new or improved techniques for crafting a book that people will want to read. Fortunately there are many resources out there to help you. Resources on grammar, editing, and much more.
The second real need you have is to learn about publishing.
When I was doing my research for the academy on the subject of book publishing I discovered a great deal of information on the internet. The internet is a wonderful source of information, but you have to be careful. And this warning applies to the subject of publishing.
I have never come across a publisher yet that highlighted their shortcomings. So when reading their material you need to read with a little bit of skepticism. Do your research and discover not only the positive things, but the negative as well.
The same advice applies for marketing, but even more so! There is conflicting advice on how you are to market. The ‘experts’ can’t even agree on the best marketing strategy.
Yet, at the same time, if you pay attention you can discern common facts and truths that will help you. Then, of course, you will need to pull them all together to form a cohesive strategy.
But those are only the beginning phases of your business. You will need to track your income and expenses throughout the year. You may, depending on the type of business you are registered as, be required to file periodically with the government as well.
While most of you would not have employees that is not out of the question. And if you do hire employees you will need to comply with federal and state laws.
I am not trying to scare you but simply give you some practical advice. These increased responsibilities will require time and effort, but they will also give you more control and time for your writing. And after all, isn’t that what you want to do?