So, you want to be an author? You aren’t alone. Writing scores high on most desirable jobs lists. More people than you could count send manuscripts to agents each day. Wouldn’t it be wonderful to arrive at your computer each day and weave magical creations?
In truth, though, there’s a lot more to being an author. With competition fierce, you need to do more than writing. You need to turn yourself into a business. If you want to make money, there are a few things you need to get your head around.
YOU ARE A BRAND
When you dedicate your life to writing, you become a brand. While big names like J.K. Rowling and Ali Smith can get away with not doing many interviews, it’s a luxury few of us can afford. To make a success of this, you need to market yourself.
In the early days, make as many public appearances as possible. From book signings and interviews to literary festivals, you need to do it all. Sometimes you may earn a fee. But, don’t be surprised if no price is offered. You’re just starting out. If anything, shops are doing you a favor by letting you appear. However, it’s important you accept opportunities anyway. Every appearance is a chance to gain customers and sell your book.
As well as making physical appearances, it’s essential that you develop a web presence. How you do this is up to you, but most publishers refuse to work with an author who doesn’t have an online following. Even if you don’t have a book written, you can start building your audience. Twitter and Facebook accounts are a must. You could also start a blog about your writing experience.
THE ADMIN SIDE OF THINGS
You also need to get your head around admin. Organization is essential for making any business successful. Make sure to check your emails at least once a day, and set aside time to reply. It’s important you keep track of commitments as well. Either get a diary or set up a Google calendar. Turning up late, or not at all, will not be good for business.
Get ahead with your accounts, too. You’ll need to keep track of outgoings and income, just like any other business. You may want to pay for an accountant. Or, you could opt to get a hold on things yourself. Bear in mind that amateur accounting won’t cut it if things go well. Instead, you may need to do something like a UAB accounting course. This will ensure you know what you’re doing. And, with a bit of luck, you’ll need the know how.
FIND TIME TO WRITE
All the above is enough to keep anybody occupied, but you also need to write. Otherwise, what’s the point? It can help to set yourself work hours, and split your tasks. You could dedicate the morning to admin, and the afternoon to writing, or vice versa. All it takes is a little hard work!