The more I think about it, the more I realize that being an independent or self-pub author (or whatever you want to call it) means that you are a writer first and an entrepreneur second. Now, what do I mean by that?
I mean that writing a book and putting your name out there essentially makes you a small business owner. Your product is your book, your name is your brand. You are the accountant, the marketer, the business owner, and the brand manager all rolled up into one. As an indie author, you are in charge of book distribution, editing, finding an artist, setting prices, and building a following to buy your future work.
To some people this may sound extremely unappealing. “If I wanted to be a business owner, I would have studied business!” But to others, this may sound like a dream come true. The fact of the matter is that it doesn’t matter if you are published or unpublished, a professional writer is to some extent a business person. Even though authors who take the traditional publishing route often do not have to worry about editing/art/distribution, they still have to manage their own personal brand and interact with their following if they want to have any hope of selling books.
I’ve heard it said that, “You as an author do not sell books. Your fans sell your books for you.” In order to take advantage of this phenomenon, you have to be willing to embrace good business practices.
For me, this is one of the reasons why being an independent author sounds so appealing. In college I fell in love with entrepreneurship. A ran Kickstarter campaigns with my friends and dreamed of one day running my own business and being my own boss. It wasn’t until recently (just before I started this blog) that I realized that I could combine my love of writing sci-fi/fantasy and my love of business to create the perfect storm of a career for myself.
If you are an independent author, I would encourage you to take some time to study entrepreneurship and business. Learn how to build spreadsheets and how to properly price a product. Learn a little about marketing and practice managing your personal brand on social media. Although I am still in the fledgling stage of being an author, I am confident that these principles will lead to a more successful career for you down the road.