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Authors as Entrepreneurs

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Offline mattlynn
22 Oct 2011, 12:58 PM | Post: #1

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Authors as Entrepreneurs

We tend to think of authors as fairly reclusive characters. The word ‘bookish’ summons up images of fairly self-absorbed, introverted characters, with a slight detachment from the real world. And from the authors I have met, I would say that is, in the most, a fairly accurate characterisation. Some were larger than life – Dickens, perhaps, and certainly Hemmingway – but they also led largely artistic careers.

Now, however, something is changing.

Authors are becoming entrepreneurs.

The books industry has changed. Even when you are published by one of the big houses – Headline in my case – you still need to do a lot of marketing of yourself to make sure your book finds an audience. You need to build a website, get on Twitter, and give talks. There is no point in expecting the publisher to do it all for you.

And, more and more authors are turning to Kindle as well. They are bringing out their own books, and promoting then themselves, either entirely on their own, or in conjunction with traditionally published books. They are in effect setting up small businesses.

One consequence, however, is that the books we all read will be increasingly produced by people who are as much entrepreneurs as writers. That may well not be a bad thing. A lot of fiction in the last half-century has been very inward-looking. It doesn’t have much of the energy and involvement in the world of Victorian fiction.

But it certainly means that the types of books that get written are going to be very different.

- Matt Lynn

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Offline Seb Kirby Reading Ray Bradbury 'The Martian Chronicles'
22 Oct 2011, 03:02 PM | Post: #2

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RE: Authors as Entrepreneurs

This post was last modified: 22 Oct 2011 03:03 PM by Seb Kirby.
Matt

Agreed.

A good case in point is John Locke. One of his claims to fame is that he's sold 1 million copies of his novels on Kindle.

And he's also written an account of how he did this. How I Sold A Million eBooks in 5 Months!, itself a bestseller.

He was in marketing before he took up writing. He says in the Howie that writers get it wrong when they write a book and then try to market it! His strategy was to identify a target market and then write what is would want to purchase.

This is an extreme view that not many writers would want to support, imho. But it points to the realisation that what is going to be written itself might change once ebooks become ubiquitous. A latter day version of Marshal McLuhan's 'the medium is the message', perhaps?

Best wishes


Seb
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Offline davidwailing Reading
24 Oct 2011, 10:08 AM | Post: #3

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RE: Authors as Entrepreneurs

Like many new authors I expect, this is something I am both fascinated and terrified by!

There's a reason why a lot of fiction is inward-looking. Writing is, for the most part, a solitary process. It's you sitting alone in a room with only your own brain for company. That tends to produce a certain kind of introspective personality. In some ways it's the exact opposite of marketing, which is all about being loud and attention-seeking. But now authors have to be schizophrenic!

I will confess, I find it hard to be both. It's only recently that I've started having the courage to tell complete strangers about my writing! The idea of doing public talks or interviews or anything like that gives me the shivers. But I know that if I want to get anywhere, I have to be more of a public figure - even though that is not my 'natural' character.

Anyone else find this tough, or am I just a big girl's blouse?
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Offline Karen Wojcik Berner Reading Her Fearful Symmetry by Audrey Niffenegger
24 Oct 2011, 06:52 PM | Post: #4

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RE: Authors as Entrepreneurs

(22 Oct 2011 03:02 PM)Seb Kirby Wrote:  Matt

Agreed.

A good case in point is John Locke. One of his claims to fame is that he's sold 1 million copies of his novels on Kindle.

And he's also written an account of how he did this. How I Sold A Million eBooks in 5 Months!, itself a bestseller.

He was in marketing before he took up writing. He says in the Howie that writers get it wrong when they write a book and then try to market it! His strategy was to identify a target market and then write what is would want to purchase.

This is an extreme view that not many writers would want to support, imho. But it points to the realisation that what is going to be written itself might change once ebooks become ubiquitous. A latter day version of Marshal McLuhan's 'the medium is the message', perhaps?

Best wishes


Seb

I've read Locke's marketing book, and I have to say, he does have some good ideas, but I think writing for a specific market waters down fiction as a whole, leaving no room for the experimental novel or the brilliant, eye-opening magnum opus that comes along every once in awhile.
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Offline jumpingjack42 Reading
25 Oct 2011, 08:57 AM | Post: #5

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RE: Authors as Entrepreneurs

I read John's book about selling a million, and laughed afterwards. All of sudden random off topic articles were popping up all over indie author websites, and masses of authors descended on twitter. Cripes, I gained a hundred new author friends in a matter of days.

Too late folks. It worked for him, but now he told everyone! Very clever salesman. The "How I sold" book pitch worked on me, but Mr Locke, I'm not buying your fiction books. Unless you put zombies in the next one. Or a werewolf, that would be good enough. Maybe even a gnome, just not a sparkly one eh?

I must admit that I came away from the book with a "hmmm."

I'd been posting articles about authors I like for quite a while. I'm on twitter and have a heap of friends I chat to on there. I re-tweet regularly. In fact, all of the things he said led to him selling a million books, I'd already been doing in pretty much the same manner, except I didn't have 20,000 followers.
I get confused trying to keep up with the 700 ish that I have at the moment. They talk too much!

So I came to the conclusion that I am a Nontrepreneur Smile
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Offline Karen Wojcik Berner Reading Her Fearful Symmetry by Audrey Niffenegger
25 Oct 2011, 01:42 PM | Post: #6

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RE: Authors as Entrepreneurs

(25 Oct 2011 08:57 AM)jumpingjack42 Wrote:  So I came to the conclusion that I am a Nontrepreneur Smile

Clapping hands Clever!
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Offline davidwailing Reading
25 Oct 2011, 01:47 PM | Post: #7

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RE: Authors as Entrepreneurs

This post was last modified: 25 Oct 2011 01:48 PM by davidwailing.
I want to be an entrepreneur. I'm a Wantrepreneur!




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