Authors are creative people, as well they should be. Unfortunately, however, being creative too often entails a lack of business acumen. There's no shame in this. Art and business demand two very different states of mind. However, the fact is that art and business, in the everyday world, often go hand in hand. For many talented artists out there, whether they be painters, musicians, or writers such as yourself, there are fame and riches attached because the art they create is in demand in the business marketplace.
The rich artists you hear about, however, are few and far between. For every J.K. Rowling there are literally hundreds of thousands of talented writers out there who are struggling. Why does one author succeed financially while the other, of arguably equal talent, founder in a pile of rejection letters? The answer is that they weren't authorpreneurs.
An authorpreneur is defined as a writer who thinks like an entrepreneur to become a successful author. As sinful as this sounds, authorpreneurs call their books products. Authorpreneurs have strict writing schedules and word-count targets, and don’t write only when they feel inspired. Authorpreneurs know who their audience is by demographic and establish a marketing plan for their books before they write the first word, not after they write the last one. Now you may be saying, "well, I’ve already written my book and I don’t have a business plan." Not to worry. You can still revise your work so that you target the person you’re going to sell it to: the editor of a publishing house, if you’re going to go that route, or the end reader, if you’re going to self-publish. In essence, authorpreneurs are the new breed of writer that knows that writing the Great American Novel is today much more a matter of business than art.
The book publishing marketplace is growing more competitive every year. This is statistically true. According to the Association of American Publishers, there were just over one million titles in print in 1992. That number had doubled by just eight years later. Due to writing technologies, more flexible work schedules, and self-publishing services--and yes, the Internet--more books are being published while bookstores are stocking less books. This means that each book has to elbow its way onto the shelves with increasing aggression. With the average shelf life of a book being three months and print life being two years, the only way to compete in the marketplace is to adopt the philosophy of an entrepreneurial author, an authorpreneur.
In the next installment, "Have a Mission Statement":
"...Your mission may be to make the most money possible. But be careful. This is a dicey area. Book publishers usually pay two ways: a flat fee or royalty. Flat fee payments mean that you are paid one fee for your writing regardless of how well your book sells. If you’re paid $10,000 dollars say for a book on crocheting, you get $10,000 whether that book sells one copy or one million. Flat fee payments are often attractive to writers because they get all the money up front without having to wait for royalty payments, or a percentage of earnings per book. However, if you’re book becomes a long-term and consistent bestseller (think Catcher in the Rye or What to Expect When You’re Expecting, which each sell in the hundreds of thousands of copies per year) you could have consistent residual income for the rest of your life if you choose a royalty structure over a flat fee payment...."