Four Key Points of Seeing Your Book as a Business

It is far too easy to get on somewhat a bandwagon when considering how many authors jump into the journey of writing, publishing and promoting a book – without a thought one as to how they will make the endeavor a success. Wasting time, energy, resources and talent just do not seem to be a wise decision – ever!  You definitely owe it to yourself to look at your book as a business and make choices that will take you beyond a hobbyist approach to something which can, when managed appropriately, become a stellar success.   There is no question, the approach you take to write, publish and promote a book will vary significantly once you start to look at your book as a business – you will find more clarity, make fewer mistakes, and create a strategy that will minimize the efforts and maximize the results. The following four key points will encourage you to see your book as a business:  invest in yourself, create and implement a literary strategy, combine knowledge, support and action to gain success, and understand the book business as a three-phase process.

Invest in Yourself

Whether you are building widgets, providing services, or fulfilling the desire to become an author… each choice requires you assess the capital resources and sweat equity that goes into your plans. There simply is no direction you can take that equates to a free ride; you alone can take on the challenge of influencing the direction of your spending. Just as though you would make important decisions about networking, website design, marketing materials, salaries, etc. with another business model – looking at self-publishing as a viable form of business requires the same preview.

Be cautious in selecting coaching programs, vanity presses, and publicity and PR firms. The shift in the industry has opened the door for a plethora of supporting services; not all of them come to the scene with credibility or integrity. Just as you would research manufacturers for widgets, or consider the engagement of a third-party service provider such as an attorney for whom you would ask referrals, etc. – the same due diligence comes into play when making decisions about who you spend your money with to make your job as an accomplished author easier.  Do not, however, allow the fear of the unknown place you in that uncomfortable and frequently immobilizing position of thinking you have to go it alone – or in the position of feeling compelled to complete intensive research to find the answers yourself, only to find someone else beat you to the punch by engaging the necessary professionals and moving ahead of you by leaps and bounds.

Create and Implement a Strategy

The underlying message is not to direct you to the pursuit of traditional publishing; it is not necessary to connect yourself to an agent, a publishing house, or even a savvy, well-connected distributor. Nor is it essential that you make your books available through local or national bookstores.  At the end of the day, the business decision you must make is to strategically plan the process you will follow, engage the best possible professional resources, and put every ounce of new-found knowledge to good use – whether that be about outlining your book, choosing to self-publish, or to take advantage of every possible social media platform to build and attract your audience.

As an experienced small business owner, an author, and a Literary Strategist – I understand the value in tapping into the wisdom of those who have traveled the journey before you – rather than facing the risk of trial-and-error.  Not only is risk not suited for every personality– it is also not the best decision when timing is of the essence in getting a message that is not evergreen delivered to an audience who can more immediately benefit from your expertise. A literary strategy dilutes potential risk; as a more successful businessman, you should be taking advantage of known opportunities rather than bouncing, like an amoeba, from one unknown aspect of the book business to another. Granted, the entrepreneurial spirit describes many self-published authors. It is, however, one thing to take those invaluable and ever-present traits to acknowledge the intrinsic risks and another altogether to jump into the pond by writing, publishing and trying to promote a book – independent of a stronghold of  existing publishing knowledge or at the very least – publishing relationships.

Knowledge + Support + Action = Success

Using a Literary Strategy, the shift from theoretical earnings to experiencing the success of a well-thought plan for your project is relatively simple as every action you take has significant impact – including the plan for adjusting to possible failures along the way. Making course corrections in a rapid manner is just not possible when you a) sacrifice large percentages of royalties to agents, publishers and distribution houses, and b) give up a certain amount of control in exchange for what is often mistaken as a professional supportive team. One thought to keep planted in your mind – if you are really pushing for a traditional publisher to carry you over the waves:  agents, publishers, and distributors cannot guarantee a best seller; only your readers can do so! Consider for a moment if you spend as much time perfecting a book that would woo readers as you may be considering attracting a big publishing house that picks up less than one percent of the submissions received each hear. Which actions to you really feel would benefit you better – for the long-term?

The beauty of finding the courage to self-publish is that you get to make the decisions that are in your best interest – whether that relates directly to your goals, values, risk inherence or overall budget. You don’t need to get all “squirrely” over having to craft a book proposal, outline, or budget if you focus more on the entire process as a “strategy” and consistently make “business” decisions about every step in which you engage in the process. Things become clear, streamlined, relatively accountable, and duplicable; fear of the unknown is reduced and actionable steps keep you in an ever-forward flow.

Three Phase Process

Every day you can read a new marketing piece touting that becoming an author constitutes engaging in three simple processes:

  1. Writing
  2. Publishing
  3. Promoting

What is not delivered in those messages, however, and what seriously hinders the potential success of debut authors, is the book business is not a linear process. The actions that make publishing and promoting successful must be engaged in prior to and/or during the writing process! Simple they may be; easy – not always so.

My passion to support debut authors runs high – there are myriad authors with critical, life-changing messages to share. My assistance and direction is crucial for the serious debut author who wants to make the journey with a guide who has viewed the book business and the publishing process from all advantage points. The value I intended for this article is that four simple, but important points did indeed, encourage you to see your book as a business:  investing in yourself, creating and implementing a literary strategy, adding knowledge, finding support and engaging in consistent action to gain success, and understanding the book business as a three-phase process.

In future posts, I will graciously share wisdom and creativity… the combination of which separates a “so-so” author from a highly-recognized one!


Anna Weber | Literary Strategist