What Is An Entrepenauthor?

Publication – is the auction of the Mind of Man.  ~Emily Dickinson

Do you have passion for what you do? How about drive and persistence? Have you ever thought about those three words? If you haven’t, now’s the time to decide if you want to be a successfully published author or simply one that has your work out there in the public eye- sitting, stagnating, wasting away like a decaying fish on a hot summer’s afternoon.

Some of you might think my opening is a bit strong. I would suggest to you that, like it or not, those three words will have to be a part of your every move if you want to make money. I’ve always maintained that the writing industry is schizophrenic in that you have the great camaraderie among authors who are willing to bend over backwards to help each other versus the business side which is as cut-throat as any Wall Street entity would dare to be. Whether you will be traditionally published or take matters into your own hands doesn’t matter- it’s time that you learn how to embrace what happens after you write “The End” in your novel.

We’ve discussed a few different ways to market your book, today I want to introduce you to the idea of being an entrepenauthor! Trissa Tismal coined that term and I think it’s brilliant.  Once the decision has been made to sell your material, you are a business! As such, the first thing that needs to be created is a mission statement. It only has to be ten to twenty words. It is to focus the needs you’ll meet for the consumer. Is it to entertain? To provide an escape? To scare the living begesus out of them? To titillate them? The key word there is to focus and then make sure you are constantly writing to fulfill your mission statement.

An entrepenauthor has created a mindset shift. Authors need to be in complete control of their writing and publishing destinies, but that means thinking outside of our cozy artistic playgrounds. An entrepreneurial attitude will allow us to make a niche in this industry. Niches makes riches, it also creates a focused market to aim our energies at.

We create that niche by doing market research and positioning our product. Go to your local bookstore, (or online) and find the top five selling books in the genre you would like to publish in. Study them. What similarities do they all have? Dissect them to understand why they are so popular. That’s called market research, BTW. Now, decide how you will make yours different. Darker? Funnier? Shorter, longer? What niche will you occupy?

Now comes the scary part- the marketing plan. This is where most authors, no matter the level of writing talent, fall flat on their face and start to rot like those fish in the sun. We’ve all heard of the J.K. Rowling success story, but it is the exception, not the rule.  Research shows that for every one million books sold, 950,000 of them sell less than 99 books. Wow, really? That’s not much to show for years worth of work.

To stay out of that group, you need to create a road map of the things you need to do to increase the potential sales. Let’s start with the idea of publishing. If you are being published by an established house, then you may skip this step. If you are self publishing, then don’t use your name as the publisher. Create a name for your company. Check to see if it’s already taken and register it. Typically company names end with Books, Press, or Publishing. You can be creative, but make it general enough to give yourself some latitude in case you change genres. For instance, if you write erotica, you might choose Throw Me Down Publishing. If you were then to switch to YA, that might not be the best choice.

You are an entrepenauthor! This week you’ve learned how to create a niche for a target market, how to make a mission statement to focus your energies on creating something that no one else can, and have begun thinking of yourself as part of a business entity.

I’m challenging all of you to think of a mission statement and a publishing company name. What will it convey? If you’re feeling brave, share it with all of us. You never know, your words may inspire someone else to find their own.

13 Responses to What Is An Entrepenauthor?

  1. Ruth says:

    Definitely something to think about. But I do have one question about the concept of setting yourself up as a publisher. What does that do for your status in RWA? I know that if you are a book seller or an editor then you become an associate member and thus have no voting rights within the organization. I’m not sure if it affects your ability to hold office, but it might. It might be one of the things you have to consider before setting up your own publishing company. Do you have to set up a publishing company to be an indie author? Or can you just set up a company name?
    As for marketing- I firmly believe you have to begin marketing yourself even before you publish, and the more you can learn about how to do it well, the better off you will be.


    • jbrayweber says:

      Very good points, Ruth. I’m not sure I know the answer. I wonder if perhaps you set yourself up as a publisher not open for solicitation whether that would make a difference with RWA rules. Associate members cannot hold office and are exempt from other RWA programs. You would need to ask yourself what is important to you and what you are willing to give up.

      I, too, believe in marketing yourself long before you are published. When you do become published, you will already have great knowledge and tremendous support.



  2. jbrayweber says:

    Aw man, I was so gonna use Throw Me Down Publishing. (snaps fingers) Oh well.

    GREAT post, Stacey.
    I’m at the marketing stage right now, and it’s quite daunting. This information is interesting and I can’t wait to read more of what you have on the subject.

    I don’t want to be a dead, smelly fish. HAHA!



  3. Kristen says:

    Fish Wrap Press.

    Mission Statement: To reek of money.


  4. HAHAHAHA OMG Kristen, that’s too funny!!! I so wish I had come up with that.


  5. William says:

    Definite good stuff, Stacey! I’m trying (to use the word loosely) to figure out what’s next for STREET HEAT, and MONSTERS UNDER THE BED is coming later this month. There’s got to be a way to get more exposure, but I don’t have an answer yet. You can bet I’ll be reading Musetracks for some answers…:)


  6. What a great Post!!! 🙂 I’m neck deep in the marketing part of this business and it is one overwhelming beast, let me tell you. A plan is a must, and will be the only way to save your sanity and succeed. My mission statement and company name: GET’er Done or Else!~ lol


  7. Great post, Stacey. As a fairly new author, I’m still trying to find my niche. Keep reminding all of us that we are a business unto ourselves. Thanks.



  8. Hey Ruth- You’ve raised some very interesting questions that I don’t totally know the answers to. In my opinion, this is such new ground that I doubt they have set rules for these types of situations. That will have to change in the near future as this side of the industry is exploding.
    As it stands, I have not heard of anyone being moved to associate level from setting up their own publishing brand and selling their own books. Think of how many people that would affect!
    You are also totally correct in that you can never start marketing your name and product too soon!


  9. Because I love you- I donate Throw Me Down Publishing to you, Jenn!!!

    I will have more practical, hands-on information for you all next week. You SO don’t want to be the smelly dead fish hanging about-


  10. Will, since I know you, I can say that you will be successful in all that you do. I will have more specific things we can do next week. I also think every author out there should make a master list of marketing ideas and plug them into a plan of attack. I’ve had some great ideas and lost them before I got back to the computer…old brain and all that!


  11. Hi Melissa- I want to say that I finished your book while I was out in D.C. and was very impressed! You’ve got the first part of the marketing blitz down and that is to offer a quality product!
    One tip that I did learn about was to come up with marketing ideas dealing with some aspect of your book. Yours is so easy because it deals with a hot topic- human trafficking. Perhaps consider contacting different agencies and offer to donate a portion of the proceeds to their mission during a specific time. That could open all sorts of doors!


  12. Sheila- I believe you are a great part of your whole package of marketing. You write fantasy/paranormal stories (at least the ones that I’ve read) and your dress, jewelry, van, clothes, name etc. all lend credence to what you write! That is a big piece of branding yourself and you’re much further down the road than you think! Niches lead to riches- you know the area, now refine it and think about what you will do to make your slightly different. The complexities of your worlds and how they are all linked is one thing that comes to mind–


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