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.