The Keys of Self-Sufficiency for the Modern Authorpreneur
Self-sufficiency is one of the main reasons an Author may end up deciding to go the indie route. The ability to have control over your own timeline, creativity, and profits is a tantalizing prospect. Even in today’s traditional publishing model, the trend has moved toward authors taking on more of the kinds of tasks that publishers used to take care of themselves. Authors are required to do most of their own marketing, for example, including shelling out their own money for book tours. While traditional publishers still have the reach in terms of getting books into stores, even that dynamic is changing with the wide variety of online tools and programs that cater to independent authors.
The main difference between traditionally published authors and an Authorpreneur is that the independent author knows they are running a business. When all is said and done, the work falls solely on the author’s shoulders. The author receives all of the profit from sales, but only so much as they have put in the work. This balance is one that the Authorpreneur negotiates on a daily basis: how to retain the artistic integrity and quality of their work, and how to market that work as a business. These elements can often seem like contradictory hats, but for the modern independent author self-sufficiency is not an option, it’s the standard. Self-sufficiency, though, does not mean that you have to take every step on your own. It does mean that you are responsible for making your book and your career successful. It is important as an entrepreneur and as an author to know what your strengths and weaknesses are. From there, we can assess the most efficient and effective ways to strengthen the areas that need it. It may be a matter of doing some simple research and learning something new. Perhaps there is a program or service out there that will maximize your efforts. In order to create the highest quality product or service, it may make sense to hire a professional already skilled in a certain area.
Keep in mind these three areas and how they support you in your quest to be a self-sufficient Authorpreneur:
We are all new to the game at some point, and there is always more to learn, especially with the influx of new technology and systems geared towards independent authors. As an independent author, you are responsible for learning the ins and outs of marketing, production, distribution, and of course the craft of writing. The good news is, that the knowledge is vast and accessible. There are books, e-courses, local meetup groups, and other independent authors willing to share and guide you through the process. Many of us start out with knowledge in one area of publishing and very little in others. It’s a good idea to think about what you still need to learn and actively seek out resources that can build that knowledge base.
Though it’s possible to learn how to do everything on your own, that doesn’t mean you need to start from scratch. Systems and tools are an independent authors best friend. Whether it’s access to distribution channels and production, or finding the right accounting software, there are a multitude of organizations out there geared towards making your life as an author and publisher easier. There’s no need to reinvent the wheel. Others have put their expertise into creating user-friendly tools that can support you in all the different areas of publishing.
There will always be areas that you shine in more than others. Sometimes the smartest move as an entrepreneur is to partner with others who have the skills that you lack. If you are a writer who decides to publish a children’s book, you should consider hiring an illustrator. Though, theoretically, you could illustrate your own book, unless you are also an artist, chances are that someone else will do a much better. Perhaps you struggle with social media and online marketing. There are a multitude of start-ups that specialize in these areas, some even geared specifically to authors. Often, these are entrepreneurs looking to leverage their skills for mutual benefit as well. In order to have a self-sufficient business, you need to be concerned about making the best product possible. That sometimes means relying on the expertise of other professionals. Partnerships are a great way to not only produce a quality product, but to network and build relationships.
In what areas could you use education, tools, or partnership to make your business more successful, and ultimately more self-sufficient?
Let me know in the comments. Happy Writing!
— Marquina (@Marquina) April 14, 2016