Friday, February 10, 2012

Creating a New Buzz Word: Entrepreneurial Author

Self publishing is hard. It is like running your own business. You do all your own finances, marketing, writing and more.

So I'm coining a new title for us self published or indie authors - just to get away from the negative stigma of the phrase "self published".

Entrepreneurial Author.

Now I personally LOVE running my own business but also recognize it may not for everyone.

I feel like I play all the roles that I played when I started my own marketing business and more. This will give you an idea of what you will have to do if you decide to take this journey. 

Writing Side (this one is obvious)
  1. Writer - Not a big shocker here. This one is a given :) I guarantee you will do this but it will not be your biggest task. Even if it should or if you want it to be. Finding time to write once you publish is HARD. And as a self pubber - momentum is the key so you have to find ways to keep your name out in front without being obnoxious. So you have to write faster and smarter.
  2. Editor - In order to not spend thousands of dollars - you need to be even better at editing. Then you need to use your money wisely and find a good copyeditor or you will pay for more than one.
  3. Plotter - You need to grab your reader in the first page. Or as a self pubbed author - you wont get any sales. People are stricter on self pubbed authors so get them immediately.
Publishing Side (this one is expected)
  1. Designer - You need to know what looks good for a cover as well as ads or swag or marketing materials and what doesn't. Placement, fonts, and copy. Whether you pay someone or not - you need to KNOW what concept you want and how to define quality design. If you know photoshop, you are even more golden because you can do some things on your own. So learn it if you can. It will save you time and money.
  2. Copywriter - You need to know how to write good jacket copy unless you want to pay someone
  3. Formatter - Unless you want to pay someone to format.  You will have to format in several different ways, depending on what ebook format you need (epub, mobi, pdf, paperback etc). I think I did four for Untraceable and 3 for On The Bright Side.
  4. Researcher - Self publishing is hard and there is so much to learn. You need to be able to get online and find answers to your own questions as well as find questions you should be asking yourself. There is not a detailed guide anywhere. Just bits and pieces. You also need to be keeping up with the ebook/digital market.
  5. Typer - I wish I could type faster, If you are a "pecker" (keep it clean) then take lessons.
Business Side (these may surprise you)
  1. Budget - You could spend money all day trying to get your book out. Giveaways, swag, ads, covers, etc. So you need to come up with a budget and prioritize your (limited) funds (if you even have ANY :). There is absolutely NO way to do self pubbing for free.
  2. Channel Account manager - You need to manage all your author accounts online. Right now with paperbacks and ebook formats - I probably manage and check at least five different sites a day including B&N, Amazon (2 different ones for PB and ebook), Smashwords, as well as all the places Smashwords delivers to (kobo, ibooks etc) - you need to know what your book is doing and check the information. 
  3. Inventory - You need to know what you are selling and keep track for your numbers to reconcile records.
  4. Accountant - You need to be able to figure out what you should be getting paid from each place. This requires spreadsheets and daily counts.
  5. Lawyer - You need to follow up with pirates who are posting your book for free downloads and send legal letters. (trust me this happens more than you think). You also need to follow up because they won't.
  6. Marketer - You need to know how to get the word out about your book, have the time to do it, and follow up. This includes understanding your target audience and how to reach them. This is a daily thing that is very time consuming. It includes attending chats, blog tours, giveaways, checking for ad sites, RTing people who are nice enough to tweet about your book. etc. You also need to know what you are doing for marketing - swag, book trailers, signings, etc
  7. Social Networker - You need to keep managing all your social networks and stay out in front of people (without being obnoxious.) blogs, twitters, facebook. etc. This is also daily. 
  8. Interviewee - You need to be able to fill out tons of requests for interviews, reviews, and more. And you need to find a way to do them quickly while still giving fresh information
  9. Advertiser - You need to know what ads you can pay for, what ads are free, and which ones are most effective. This requires looking at free sites and searching for sites to sponsor. Knowing which have good returns and which don't.
  10. Publishing Rep - You need to reach out and try to set up PR related activities. You need to write and drop multiple kinds of press releases to different audiences. Contact media for articles/features/ and interviews. Create your own press kits
  11. Supporter - You need to support others in their journeys. It is not all about you. And this takes tons of time as well. If you do not support, don't expect any in return.
  12. Agent
  13. Project manager - When you have cover designs and editors and more than one book going on - you have to manage to a budget and especially to a timeline. You will be managing several different projects at once and they will all be at different stages.
  14. Sales - You have to be out there selling (overtly and covertly) without being cheesy about it. You also have to watch overexposure because it can backfire on you. It is a delicate balance.
  1. Problem Solver - Problems come up daily whether it is your numbers disappearing at amazon, or a blogger who forgot to post an interview, or a price discrepancy. They come up every day.
  2. Self Believer - Indies get rejection too. And it hurts. You have to move on and find those who support you instead of chasing the ones who don't.
  3. Thanker - You need to thank and reciprocate those people who support you.
  4. Multi-tasker - I shift all day long between these roles. It's exhausting.
  5. Panicker - you gotta be able to work while you panic. Crying is allowed but your fingers must never leave the keyboard. ;)
  6. Night owl - it is when you catch up.
  7. Psychologist - i have to talk myself down off a ledge every now and then. Of course I do live in a one story so not too bad. :)
All this along with mother, friend, wife, cleaner, laundry doer, cooker, dog walker, appointment maker.

Last on the list - To find a way to only sleep 6 hours a night and not be a total bear (still working on this one)

Basically, indie pubbing is like running your own business - all by yourself. So all the things a business would do - you would do. It's Entrepreneurial Authoring.

I think that is it. But I'm too brain dead to remember.

What do you think?/ Do any of these surprise you?

If you can think of another one, please add it to the comments. :)


  1. I like this term too! I love that you are paving the way for future entrepreneurial authors! Thanks for the great info as always.

  2. I have to spell check that word. Every.Single.Time. :) But I love it, and it definitely fits me. Great post!

  3. I love entrepreneurial author as the new term. The information you provide here is priceless. I think blogger has to be a title on its own. It can prove to be a full-time job alone.

  4. That's a LOT of hats to wear! And you do it with such grace :) I like the 'new' word!

  5. Wonderful buzz word! And fantastic list. Love it.

  6. Don't forget Movie producer if you are doing a book trailer....hehehe
    I had to learn that one. I'm still getting my head around the marketing and the business side of it. Thanks for the list!

    Maureen Crisp
    New Zealand

  7. Great list to get people going on all the work involved. I like to call it independently published. I think it's a cool way to think of it.

    And to sleep only six hours a night, drink lots of coffee. Maybe close your door at work and put your head on your desk for a 10 minute nap once in awhile. That's how I function on 6 hours sleep all the time.

  8. I love this post! It's so true - so many aspects to be a writer these days.