Self Publishing: The Entrepreneur Within All of Us

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 The fact of the matter is that it doesn’t matter if you are published or unpublished, a professional writer is to some extent a business person.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.

Thanks for reading,

Blake Arthur Peel

Writing Schedule: Finding time to write with a family and a full-time job

The Key to Becoming a Successful Writer

If successful authors like Stephen King and Brandon Sanderson have taught me anything, it is that the key to becoming a successful writer is (drumroll please….) to write. Gasp! Surprising, I know. The more you write the better you become, and the better you become the more likely you are to find success in your writing career.

Got it.

Though I have been writing stories since I was a kid, I have not seriously considered supplementing my income by writing until very recently. So far, I have only written a handful of short stories and two novellas over the last year. A good start, but nowhere near some of these career authors, who pump out two or more full novels in a year.

So, success = writing a lot?

Yes.

One of the many issues that independent writers like me run into is finding the time to write. Between my growing family and my day job, my free time is severely limited. In the precious few hours of my day when I am not working or doing chores, I want to spend time with my wife, exercise, play video games, and just relax. How on earth am I going to find the time to write down the story that I have crafted in my head?

I know from talking with other up-and-coming authors that I am not alone in feeling this way. Over the course of the last year, when I have really started to take writing more seriously, I have made a discovery that gives me hope in the future of my writing career.

What I lack in length I can make up in consistency.

With my busy schedule, there is literally no way that I can write the thousands of words that authors like Sanderson are writing during the work week. But authors like George R. R. Martin provide a cautionary tale as to what can happen when writing is not done on a regular basis.

Therefore, I realized early on that writing every day is critical if any writer desires to one day become a full-time author.

It took me a little time to figure out a system that works for me, but when I did I was extremely happy with the results: if I could write a minimum of 500 words per day, I would be able to produce over 180,000 words in year. That is either two and a half average sized novels or one The Way of Kings sized novel. Not bad for new independent author!

I’ve found that I can easily write 500 quality words in the space of half and hour, which I usually do before I go to bed. That’s a minimum of 3,500 words per week. The consistency allows me to keep the story fresh in my mind, and it is a small enough chunk of time that I do not stress myself out trying to make it fit in my schedule. If I keep to this routine, I should have another short story or two, as well as my first full-length novel, completed early next year.

I hope that this helps and inspires my fellow indie writers to become more consistent writers. Though writing in infrequent, massive bursts may work for some writers, I firmly believe that persistently writing a small amount every day will make a big difference in the end.

Thanks for reading.

Blake Arthur Peel

And so it begins…

Welcome to my blog.

Hello everyone,

My name is Blake Arthur Peel, and this is my blog. I am a new college graduate, married to a beautiful wife and father to a chubby baby boy, and I am happy to begin chronicling my journey as an independent author & entrepreneur.

The purpose of this blog is to keep track of my quest to become a career author, as well as to house some of my short stories and ideas in one central location. If, by some chance, I manage to garner a following of readers, then this would be the place to keep up with my progress in addition to social media.

Here is a little bit about me…

I grew up in a (relatively) small town in southern California, where I spent my time swimming, surfing, and, yes, reading many many fantasy novels. As a boy I quickly learned that writing stories was something that I needed to do. I became obsessed with Star Wars and The Lord of the Rings, and I read everything from Dragonlance and Forgotten Realms to Frank Herbert’s Dune.

When I was 19, I served a two-year mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Taichung, Taiwan, where I grew to admire Asian culture and learned to speak Mandarin Chinese (and I’ve kept up with the language in the years since).

Upon returning home I attended Brigham Young University and pursued a degree in business, where I quickly fell in love with a blonde-haired beauty that would eventually become my wife.

Now that school is over and I am beginning my career in business, I thought that it was time to start taking my writing seriously so that I could eventually make it my full-time job. A guy can dream, can’t he?

I’ll be publishing a lot of my thoughts, ideas, short stories, and more, so please feel free to reach out or comment with your feedback.

Thanks for reading,

Blake Arthur Peel