Authorpreneurship is a totally made up word that makes so much sense. With the rise of independent and digital publishing and the shift of the marketplace to online, authors are now expected to not only write, but also sell books.
As a result, authors now need to adapt the skillful and savvy ways of an entrepreneur because, in reality, they need to build their book as they would a business. Sounds like a lot, I know, but here are 6 steps to becoming a skilled authorpreneur.
Your books (current and future) will appreciate this!
1. Determine your brand
What is your book about? If you’re writing a Business or Self-Help book, odds are you’re already deemed an expert in your field, so building your brand is easy and, most likely, is something you’ve already done.
If you’re a fiction writer, this could be a little more challenging, but still just as necessary. Many authors write multiple books, so don’t base your brand on what you’re currently working on, but rather on yourself as an author.
Are you snarky and funny? Start a blog so that readers can get to know your voice and appreciate your humor. If you write historical fiction, become an expert on the time periods you write about. Find the value you have to provide others, and create your brand as an author around that.
2. Build your assets
Like any successful business, you will need a well designed website and online presence. If you’re like me, and I’m guessing you are, you don’t trust businesses that have no website.
Even the Mom and Pop pizza place around the corner from me has a website. Not surprising, their website is actually more attractive than the rundown interior of the restaurant, which appears to be from the 50’s when the place opened.
However, even though the interior hasn’t made its way into the 21st doesn’t mean their business plans are also lagging behind. Just like any other business, authors can be discovered by their website and you will certainly be judged by your website, so make sure yours is attractive and engaging.
3. Know where your audience is
Depending on who the audience is for your book, they will most likely “hang out”—even if it’s digitally—in specific places. Knowing how to find, connect and engage with the audience for your book is key.
As an author, you need to be aware that your time (and money, in some cases) is precious. The pizza place probably wouldn’t advertise in a gym. Likewise, as an author, you also shouldn’t advertise or promote in places that your audience doesn’t typically congregate.
4. Invest in your success
Yes, this saying is both corny and cliché, I apologize, but it’s also very true when it comes to book publishing. As with any business, a book requires funding before it’s debuted. To be taken seriously, a book needs professional services (editing, cover design, etc.) in order to produce a high quality product.
If you don’t invest the money into your book, your audience and peers will notice and ultimately, your book will be taken less seriously. Luckily, there are funding options, such as crowdfunding, for those who need a little boost in the financial department—and really, who doesn’t?
5. Promote before you launch
Think of any business that has recently opened near you. Most likely, you heard or received promotions from them well before the business was actually open. If a business waits until they are open to begin promoting themselves, they are losing money from Day 1.
The same is true for a book. Although books don’t necessarily have the same “make or break” timeline as a business, if you, as an author, don’t take advantage of the pre-publication phase, you are missing out on the momentum and excitement you can build around the release of your book.
6. Maintain your relationship with readers
If your inbox is anything like mine, it’s flooded with subject lines like TODAY’S DEALS or 50% OFF ENDS AT MIDNIGHT. This is because retailers want to stay valuable and relevant to their consumers.
Although you don’t necessarily have deals to offer your readers, it’s important that you stay relevant to them, even after they’ve bought and read your book.
To do this, you must continue to be a source of valuable content for them. Whether it’s by updating regularly on social media or sending out a monthly newsletter (or better yet, both!), continue to engage your readers because as an authorpreneur, you will need them again in the future.
If you want to be successful in the book business, start acting like you own a business! It requires a lot of time and effort, but people will take you and your book more seriously, and the more seriously you’re taken, the more successful you will be.
This article was originally published on The Future of Ink and is reprinted here in its entirety for our Magnolia Media Network readers.