Authorpreneur and the route to publishing your first book…
As an indie author myself, and having published my debut novel last year (2016), I surprised myself that I didn’t write about this preneur subject sooner.
Becoming a first-time-author is a great experience…people say having a published book to your name is like the best business card you can own. Well it got me onto BBC Radio. It has also opened up some interesting doors so far. I am now on a new and interesting writing journey and I see this as a new chapter in my life.
Having gone through cancer, I saw this as a signal to change my career path. I am excited about the changes I have already put in place for my new life, post cancer and as a cancer-survivor.
Becoming and author and reviving my writing on my in-business blog has been an amazing experience. So if you love to write, I would encourage you to do the same. Whether you are working for someone, or you are already an entrepreneur, but have a book to write, just do it. There’s no time like the present.
They say there is a book in all of us, but for the majority that’s where it stays…in them. It never gets written…please don’t let that be you. This is your opportunity to become the next authorpreneur.
So what is an authorpreneur?
As with all the ‘preneur‘ terms, which are all types of entrepreneurs, authorpreneurship is no different. An authorpreneur is the activity of writing and publishing a book, taking on financial risk with the hope of making a profit.
An entrepreneur is ‘the activity of setting up a business or businesses, taking on financial risks in the hope of profit.’ So put simply the term authorpreneur is someone who writes a book or publishes a novel and effectively is taking a risk.
So what are the risks of becoming an author?
As with all new ventures there is always risk involved. The first risk you’ll encounter is a financial risk, as with all things entrepreneurial. However, the financial risk you are exposed to could be limited, and of course it will depend upon your route-to-market with becoming an author for the first time.
However, what you’ll find with becoming an author is the perceived-risk is greater than the actual risk in reality. I was at an event last night and met an entrepreneur who had just read my novel. As it happened he really enjoyed the story, but he also commented about some typo’s.
I thanked him for the feedback, but instead of getting hung-up on the ‘errors-in-my-book‘, I focused on the great feedback he’d just provided. However, I did say to him that this is one of those activities where you open yourself up to public criticism.
By writing a book, be it a fictional novel like mine, a business book, self-help-book or a self development book, you are ‘putting yourself out there.’
Get comfortable with that, and learn that no matter what feedback you get, be it good or bad, it can never kill you. Look for any tigers or lions in the room, and if you can’t find any, then you are safe for now…this is a bit of tongue and cheek of course. However, most of us have the fear of failure, the fear of criticism or the fear of judgement, but none of these fears will actually come to any real harm.
Be ready for feedback and criticism about your book writing…
Unfortunately, there are too many people who are very quick to shoot people down for what they’ve produced. They sometimes give criticism, instead of reflecting on what the person has achieved. For me, I wrote my novel when I was going through cancer treatment, so no matter what anyone says about my work, there is nothing that can come close to that experience of facing the fears of my own mortality.
This holds true for whatever business venture you find yourself considering, be it in this case writing a book or novel, or in starting a business for the first time. Strangely, fear is a funny thing, and the name of my novel includes this very word…Nothing Left But Fear.
So is there profit in becoming an author?
I will begin this section by saying yes, there is profit in becoming an author. However, the level of profit and the measure of success in this arena is subjective.
If you look at the likes of Stephen King or Dean Koontz and we all know K.K. Rowling and her success, you’ll know that success is possible in book writing. However, these levels of success are few and far between, and there are so many books being published these days that there is plenty of ‘noise‘ in this space.
I think the message I’d like to give, is one of hope and possibility. In other words focus on the possibility of what success might look like as a successful authorpreneur. You never know, your new book may become the next best-seller.
What is considered a success in the book-writing fraternity?
I would say to look at this as baby-steps…one by one and enjoy each one along the way.
I would argue that getting your book written in the first place, is the first step to success. Most don’t even get that far. Taking the next step and having it published, either by a publishing house or by self publishing it, is the next success step to take. Don’t be afraid, what’s the worst that can happen?
After that, your first sale is your next success step and its a great feeling when this happens. Following on from your first sale, is successive book-sales day by day or week by week. Your first great book review is a wonderful feeling, having your creative work appreciated by others, gives you an immense feeling of satisfaction and joy.
Next along this step by step success road, is when you sell you first book internationally. I have now sold around the world, from the UK to American, and from Canada to Australia. Having your book sold into different countries around the world, is the next success step and provides a great sense of achievement.
How to publish a book and what are the paths to becoming a first-time author?
There are many ways to publish your book today. You can choose to use the traditional publishing route to market, which requires one of the publishing companies to accept your manuscript beforehand. Or you could find yourself an independent publisher to take-on your work instead.
However, in today’s world of Jeff Bezos’s Amazon, self publishing is a very clear alternative to publishing your book. Many of the worlds authorpreneurs have used the route of indie publishing, and become what is known as indie authors.
Becoming a self published author is much easier than you think, especially with the advent of ebook publishing, the Kindle, and print on demand printing options.
For example, an Amazon company Createspace is a business set up for print on demand books. This service is amazing, you upload your book using their online software as a service, then you can either sell direct from Createspace, and/or also link your account to Amazon too.
Going down the traditional publishing route to market and finding book publishers…
If you decided to use the traditional publishing route to market, and you succeed in achieving a book deal, you are more likely to achieve international distribution in physical book stores. If your plan is to get your book into all the major big stores, like Waterstones, into the airports and also big box stores, then traditional publishing is the route you need to keep in mind.
Using an independent publisher to distribute your book…
In addition to the next section on self publishing, many people are realising that, they can make money in books in places other than the traditional route. This is where using an independent publisher comes into the equation.
Aspiring authors are much more interested in making a reasonable living from writing their books, over the fame side of the industry experienced by the likes of J.K. Rowling. The upside of using independent publishers, over the traditional publishing houses, is that you mostly get to keep the rights of your book.
However, the downside is that you don’t get the book advance offered by traditional publishers. However, when you do, it would be much less in value.
Self publishing your book…
If you chose the self publishing route to publish your own book, market your own book, and drive sales via internet marketing and SEO, you then become a true authorpreneur. Self publishing is like a small business and you have to begin networking and do all the book marketing yourself.
After you’ve gone through the self publishing process, and after using tools like scrivener for windows, marketing a book is the next big thing on the list. Setting up your own website and creating the various social media channels for your book, all forms part of your new book business.
Another option is to use a site like lulu self publishing, as this site will help with making this process a bit easier for you. However, I chose to invest in software, which is scrivener for windows, and I’m sure there’s a mac version too.
As an indie author you have to think like an entrepreneur. You have to take risk and invest some money into marketing your book. Investing in some online marketing and spending a bit of time on website SEO always pays dividends, no matter what business you are in. Being in the book industry is no different.
Being an author, and in particular a self published author, you have to thing like a small business owner. You have yourself a mini-business in books.
Learning how to sell ebooks producing videos and learning social media for viral marketing all becomes a part of your new small book business. Self published authors work hard, but many have reaped the rewards and receive payback. But if with the first book you don’t succeed, never give up.
Keep in mind that it maybe the next book that becomes a success instead.
Writing and publishing that first book will provide the confidence and platform to take you to new heights. So never get disheartened if the first book is not the success you hoped it would be.
What are the best self publishing sites?
At the top of the list has to be Amazon, as this has the largest market share in the world. It becomes very easy to sell your book to anywhere in the world. Amazon has the clout, the search traffic and the resources needed for any self publishing author.
The second site, which I’ve already mentioned is Createspace. Createspace provides the added dimension of a physical book and print on demand, in additional to the eBook and Kindle versions. The benefit of print on demand is you no longer have to pay up front for a batch of books, the company (which in this case is Createspace) simply prints each book ordered, on demand.
There are also many eBook websites where you can promote your book, which includes Goodreads, Planet eBook, Smashwords and many others. The more the merrier and the more likely your book will get spotted and bought. Encouraging feedback and reviews is vital, and certainly on Amazon it helps a great deal.
Goodreads is a great place where book-readers can list books they like to read for later. Also, you can run free book give-aways for your book. This is with the hope that the winners will write a good review on your book at the end. Ideally, you hope that the ones who entered the competition and didn’t win, will go on to buy your book in any case.
You may now be interesting in reading my novel…Nothing Left But Fear…
Nothing Left But Fear is the novel I wrote whilst I was going through cancer. In fact I began writing it on the first day of chemo.
When I came to publishing my novel, I chose the self-publishing route. However, I also chose to use a pen name too. So just to clear up the confusion, by pen-name is Adrian Russell. So in addition to being the traditional entrepreneur, I am also now an authorpreneur too.
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