From Struggling Author to Entrepreneur: 6 Steps to Make the Shift

Balancing the Art & Business of  Writing

Writing a book is part art, part business. Your book is a publishing masterpiece, a work of art. It is also a commodity, something that is bought and sold on the market.

Most authors love the “art” and “craft” part of writing. They love turning a draft into a finished manuscript. It’s the selling and advertising part that feels kind of “dirty” to an author.

Yet, if you study financially successful writers you will find they do more than creating good books. They create a good business by:

  • Creating multiple sources of income (speaking, selling merchandise, movies, etc.)
  • Carefully crafting a brand and promoting that brand with marketing and advertising
  • Utilizing a team to handle the non-creative parts of the writing business

Financially successful authors also do one other thing. They upgraded their mindset from “I’m just an author” to “I’m an authorpreneur (a person who combines the author and entrepreneur)”. If you’re looking to join those ranks (or tired of struggling with your finances as an author, it’s time for a mental upgrade.


The 5 Steps to Upgrading Your Author’s Mindset to Profitable

1. Upgrade your vision from author to authorpreneur

Authors shouldn’t have to choose between writing and entrepreneurship. They need both to become financially successful and have a stable foundation for their creative efforts. You can begin making that mental upgrading by changing your language, brand, and actions. Some small changes that you can take today to make that change:

  • Study the life stories (and marketing materials, like websites) of financially successful authors
  • Write down three things you would be doing as an author if you were a financially successful author.
  • Identify one thing you could do from the list above, even if it’s a very small step.
  • Write a new author’s bio outlining everything you wanted to accomplish an author

2. Start shipping more books

If you look at successful authors, you will notice one obvious thing: They write a lot of books. Having this inventory of books gives these authors a distinct advantage over other authors. Those advantages include:

  • Keep loyal readers happy
  • More opportunities for sales
  • Establish and strengthen your brand
  • Develop a portfolio to improve your standing with clients or a publishing company

3.  Know your numbers

To be a published author, you only need to publish a book. To be a profitable author, you need to know your numbers. Those numbers include your current sales, your break-even amount, and your expenses. In other words, you need to know how much you are selling, how much you are spending on the book, and if you are making a profit.

Without these numbers, you’ll always be chasing some vague idea of the money you are making (or not making).

4. Decrease non-essential work

Being an author means more than writing. It involves a lot of administrative work (marketing, bookkeeping, legal paperwork, etc.). Maintaining these administrative work is important, but it can also detract you from your essential work, writing. The more books you have, the more you have to keep up with.

This is why many successful authors outsource. They have personal assistants, agents, etc. that handle the non-essential work that takes up too much of their time. This way they can focus more on their essential work.

5. Keep a lookout for new opportunities

Entrepreneurs look for opportunities. They don’t sit and hope for opportunities. This is the opposite of the way many authors work. Most authors actually work the opposite. They actually look for the “best-selling” book and hope opportunities will flow to them.

This isn’t the way you build a sustainable business. Build a business by looking for opportunities to leverage what you have (writing skills, your books, and network) to grow bigger.

Fixing the “Art” vs “Business” Balance Starts With the Right Mindset

As an author, you maintain a balance in business and art. If you lean too far in either direction, you could end up feeling unfulfilled as an author. This post focused on the “business” side of that balance because this is the area often neglected by authors. Many authors stereotype business, especially sales and marketing activities, as greed. Understandably, they don’t engage in business like they could.

This robs authors of their full potential. By embracing their entrepreneurial side of things, authors have the power to improve their “art” as well.

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