These have been around for a while I’m thinking, but the word has only recently been established. It describes those authors who are not only fantastic writers but who then proactively market their work. They show that they are business people in every aspect of their work.
Car salesman attitude
I’ve frequently said that we writers have to be quite dual-aspected; it may be fine to spend one part of the day wrapped up cosily in our garrets, penning the best work ever. Then we have to become extrovert, assertive, strategic and maybe even a little bit manipulative. It doesn’t feel natural to a creative practitioner. But this attitude can also make a difference to how we react to rejections; we might come to regard these as rewrites.
I have to admit I’m not so keen on the marketing side of things and I know I’m not alone in this. I find it much easier to promote other people’s work than my own. Am I really a writer? Should I really expect the public to want to pay to read my work?
Now hang on a minute. Most of my rejections these days say that the writing is good. I have more than 48 works in print and that includes a handful of full length novels. I have two post-graduate degrees in creative writing and a university saw fit to employ me full-time, eventually at senior lecturer level, and even though I’m now retired they keep getting me back for odd jobs. Come on, woman.
Of course people should pay to read my work. As they should pay to read yours.
So what does this authorpreneur look like?
She pays her taxes and knows when and what to claim for expenses.
She engages with her readership through blogs, talks, launches, school visits and posts on social media.
She will use free or paid-for advertising strategically. She will keep records of this and work out which options work the best.
She knows when to get professional help with PR.
Genuine use of Social Media
She will use social media wisely – it is not all about “buy my book, buy my book”. She only likes what she genuine likes and only spends about 20% of her time there on direct or indirect promotion. The rest of the time she is just herself or indeed promoting others.
Wants, needs and benefits
In her interaction with her readers she is aware of their wants and needs and offers them benefits. What do they gain by buying her book, joining her mailing list, hosting her on a blog or attending her event? However, she is savvy enough always to include a call to action.
Building her brand, platform and mailing list
She does this more and more skilfully. Yet she works with what she enjoys most. She is careful not to spam her readers and always to offer them something worthwhile.
Retaining objectivity about reviews and sales figures
She knows that the only valid reaction to poor reviews or sales figures is to regard them as useful information and do something to change what is happening. However, she must also learn to recognise trolls and not be over-worried by them.
She is disciplined about ring-fencing her writing time and is consistent in demanding to be paid for her work, though also knows when a free gift may be an effective loss-leader.
Are you an authorpreneur?