Sunday, 12 November 2017

Indie Authors as Entrepreneurs

One of the most interesting and helpful sessions at the recent ScotsWrite Conference run by the Society of Authors in Scotland was the one from online guru Joanna Penn. I've been following Joanna's blog posts and podcasts for a few years and no one is more helpful to those authors who are creative writers but also want to run their own self-publishing business.

I've outlined some of her talk below but you can also follow Joanna at the Creative Penn where you'll find a wealth of advice. Joanna writes both fiction and non-fiction and it's fascinating to see how her career (and income) has grown over the years

Change of Mindset

  • entrepreneurs should create value from their ideas, such as publishing e-books, print books and audio books. Some even create workbooks to do with their subject

Focus on the Customer

  • for writers, it's all about the reader and not ourselves. What do they want to pay for? 
  • use Amazon to research and understand your target market - what are competitive titles? What are the sub categories for your genre?

Intellectual Property Rights

  • if with a publisher - what rights have you sold? If e-books, then investigate using the print rights, audio and translation rights yourself. 
  • write more books; alternate fiction with non-fiction
  • write a series and hook readers with the first one
  • try novellas - from 25,000 to 40,000 words
  • create a box set by offering a few similar books or series in one file for a bargain price
  • some authors only use Amazon to self-publish but you could also publish with Kobo and Apple yourself.

Multiple Income Streams

  • as well as writing novels, try short writing for magazines 
  • offer online courses (through teachable) 
  • try affiliate commission on your blog or website (where readers click on Amazon or whatever, earning you a small affiliate fee if they buy)

Take Action

  • schedule time to include the business side of writing and to set goals
  • decide what you want (hope?) to earn from your business - when (by next year?) and what you could do to achieve it.
I was so busy scribbling away while absorbing Joanna's lively talk that I've probably missed a lot. We might not all want to be entrepreneurs to such an extent but one of the simplest things I could do right away is to set proper goals - so I can finish all my ideas and fragments of stories!



Frances Garrood said...

You seem to have remembered a lot, Rosemary. Some good ideas there. I think we all struggle with selling ourselves.

Joanna said...

Thank you so much, Rosemary. What inspiring ideas and such helpful advice. Selling ourselves is a struggle, as Frances says, and anything that spurs us on is very welcome xxx

Julia Thorley said...

Thanks for this post and link. It's tempting to see the business side of writing as a waste of creative time, but actually it's just as important. I've spent a couple of hours this morning updating my Amazon Author page and my own website, and now I'm about to do a bit more marketing stuff. No immediate return on investment, but I hope it will have been time well spent.

Patsy said...

I find the business side hard, especially marketing – it doesn't seem to be something we can avoid though, if we hope to get sales.

Jean Bull said...

Thank you, Rosemary. Very interesting and some good ideas. I'll have a look at Joanna Pen's blog. A good name for a writer!

Rosemary Gemmell said...

I was sure I had replied to comments - sorry!

Thanks for your comment, Frances - you're right about the struggling at times!

You're welcome - thanks, Joanna!

You're right, Julia - it's important to keep ourselves up to date. I've just finished updating my own website!

It's a particular problem for selling e-books, Patsy - how will anyone know about our books if we don't mention them! However, social media is a balancing act between sales push and social side.

Thanks, Jean - you won't be disappointed with all the help Joanna gives.

WordsPoeticallyWorth said...

Greetings from the UK.

Thank you. Love love, Andrew. Bye.

Angela Barton said...

Thank you for sharing your notes from the day, Rosemary. Very helpful.

Rosemary Gemmell said...

Thanks Andrew!

You're welcome, Angela!