Real advice for real writers (and those who want to become one)

The Faint at Heart Need Not Write

What do you do when it seems as if your writing project is about to fall all to pieces?

Have you ever been there?

You've put time and effort into research, spent hundreds of hours writing, worked to build a platform of readers eager for your content, designed an amazing cover and spent thousands of dollars only to come up drained, weary and with nothing to show for all your hard work but a book and a website?

No one ever said building an author-business would be this hard... or did they?

What happened when you told your friends and family members you were writing a book?

"Wow..." followed by silence

"Why would you want to do that?"

"Have you ever written a book before?"

Then came the discussions of how to finance your project:

"Is this really worth it?"

"If I cut out this item I can pay for editing"

"There is no way I can pay for marketing this month and pay my other bills."

Building a business around your book, any book, is seriously hard work. It takes time. It takes persistence. It takes networking. It takes finances. And it takes a spirit that is determined to succeed.

Few writers are hardwired this way. The rest of us have to choose whether to develop the tenacity.

Are you willing to develop what it takes? Let's see.

Have you ever written anything before? When was the last time you wrote more than a few pages, or a longer Facebook post? In today’s fast-paced, instant-gratification culture, the process of carefully choosing words and weaving them together intricately to produce an escape or an object lesson is almost a lost art. Most likely your writing muscles are pretty weak. Developing them into what it takes to write an average book takes a lot of mental work. It takes an understanding of your target reader to know how to phrase your wording so they will appreciate what you have to say. It takes a knowledge of basic writing skills like punctuation and grammar and sentence structure. And it takes the patience to develop an idea into a marketable concept through revision after revision after revision.

Are you a patient person? Do you have what it takes to wade through thousands of words to whittle it down to its most essential parts while still weaving together the words that are left to create powerful imagery and characters, or strong concepts? Do you even want to? On average, it takes about a year to work from idea to manuscript, depending on how much time you have to write. Do you want to spend your time in this way?

Speaking of time, how much time do you have? Are you a busy mom of three school-age children? Do you work a full-time job outside of the home? Are you always busy on the weekends? When will you write? How many hours a day can you devote to turning that amazing idea into a complete book? Emotionally and financially committing to writing takes more than anyone knows until they get into it. Do you have the desire to use your time this way?

Do you know what you want to do with your finished manuscript? Are you seeking traditional publication or do you want to self-publish? These two things have completely differing paths to publication. Traditional publishing, basically, requires you to pitch your idea to a publisher over and over until you can get one to sign on to publish your book. Or, you can hire an agent to pitch it for you. Both will require you to prove you have a publishable idea, as well as a platform from which to sell it. The publisher isn’t about to put out all the costs for producing your book if it isn’t sellable enough to make back their investment. If you choose to self-publish, you don’t have to pitch it to anyone; you simply have to set up an account with an online print distributor and upload your manuscript…after you have paid for developmental editing, copy editing, cover design, and interior layout (only if you want your book to look professional).

How will you market your book? Whether traditional or self-published, marketing is essential for selling any book. Traditional publishers are not willing to invest thousands in an unproven author so the responsibility of marketing is still on you. True, your book will be available on more channels with a traditional publisher, but if a bookstore buyer doesn’t know about you or your book, they won’t add it to their inventory. Marketing is the only way to get the word out to distributors and individual buyers and it can take as much time as actually writing the book, and way more money to do effectively enough to get on a best seller list. As a self-published author, ALL the marketing is up to you. In either case, without marketing, you will not get a return on your investment.

Are you willing to develop an entrepreneurial spirit? We call ourselves authorpreneurers because we are more than authors and writers: we are building a business around the books we write. This requires the same effort and tenacity as starting a tech company or a brick-and-mortar store. There’s networking, community involvement, financial decisions, taxes to pay, bookkeeping to manage, in addition to marketing and producing content. It can be a fill-time job. Or, if you want to hire others to do the marketing and networking for your book(s) it will require you have a full-time job to pay for it until your book earns a big enough platform of buyers to support you.

So, do you still want to write that book? If the answer is "Yes!" let us know! We'd love to help you!

#authorpreneur #publishing #selfpublishing

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