9 Authorpreneur Habits You Can Start Today

Usually, I present author tips for new authors but this is not really a new author tip. This is more so for those authors who’ve been publishing for a while and want to level-up their writing career. Also, these are not rules, must-haves, should-haves, writer commandments, should-dos….you get the point. I call these tips because they are nuggets and tidbits I’ve picked up along the way that may help you. In the end, everyone must find their own way. I just hope I can help in that journey by sharing what I’ve learned. Will this be helpful to you? Maybe not. But also, maybe it will.

What is an Authorpreneur?

Authorpreneur means merging the concept of being an author and an entrepreneur. Typically, an author’s book stops selling after their family and friends have bought it and then it swims in the Amazon sea of unread books. Most authors starting out will probably not sell more than 100 books. This is a real bummer considering the amount of time, emotional investment and money this author may have put into the book. Going from Author to Authorpreneur is not just about writing books and publishing them on Amazon. For most Indie Authors, Amazon royalties will not be enough which is why I think it’s so important to develop more entrepreneurial habits. Indie Authors must start to think about ways of earning money that will produce long-term sustainable income.

“Indie Fiction writers don’t fail at writing. Indie Fiction writers fail at starting a business. – Anne R. Allen

We are living in an age where you do not need to go to college to start a business and you do not need to be signed by a publisher to be a successful author. That’s why authors who are entrepreneurial and run their book publishing like a business are the authors that tend to be successful. Here are nine Authorpreneur habits you can start today:

Promote Your Books Offline Too

Something I have ventured into myself, get into the habit of promoting your books offline, not just online. There is an entire community of people who are offline. By neglecting them you are leaving money on the table. We can do radio shows, events, bookstores, book readings and a ton of other face-to-face activities that will help us to expand our brand. Social media is vital to an Indie Author’s career and very necessary. That doesn’t mean, however, that we should neglect other ways of networking and making money. Get out of your comfort zone and go talk to people face-to-face. As an introvert that is what I have had to do. I have had to get comfortable being uncomfortable. You will be nervous but by surrounding yourself with people who are a level up from where you are, you will see signs of your own growth.

Offer a product or service related to your book

I had a hard time coming to terms with this myself but I learned that you can’t be afraid to charge for your services. Yes, times are hard but that’s why your service is not for everyone. The people who need you and can afford you will invest in you but first, you must have something of value to offer. This product or service can be connected to your book in some way, but it must exist. You can become a motivational speaker or offer a service for something you do well. The book is the start, but it is just the beginning.  What do people need that you can provide? You may think charging for your services will mean that people won’t want to support you.

I’m not gonna lie to you. Some people won’t support you. There will be those who don’t think it’s worth it or that you’re valuable. There are also those who don’t trust you. They trust your free services but they may not value you enough to pay for it. That’s okay because charging means that you are reaching a certain group of people. These are people who see your worth, the value in your product/service and who can afford you. Also, those who do want to support you will when they can but they won’t complain about you. They may not have the money but they do understand your growth. Bottom line: You can’t talk butterfly language with caterpillar minded people. The truth is that free does not always mean valuable. Charging for a service increases the value of the product or service and produces a spirit of commitment from the client to follow through.

Dont spend a whole lot of time measuring your growth by numbers that are not representative of actual Sales

Checking your Amazon stats will drive you crazy, especially when Amazon’s algorithms is funny acting. Your Amazon ranking does not necessarily mean that you have made sales so dont hype yourself up too much or get down on yourself. I sold more pre-orders for Even Salt Looks Like Sugar than I did with I am Soul but you can’t tell by the ranking. I made it to number seven on Amazon’s ranking with I am Soul. Meanwhile, Even Salt Looks Like Sugar didn’t rank well at all. Shouldn’t it have if I sold more? My point is, your Amazon ranking or number of reviews does not always mean book sales so get out of the habit of measuring your success by what other people are doing. I’ve seen plenty of authors with less than 20 reviews do great things and make good money. The level-up is about results and real progress, not perceived progress. Look at your efforts and check to see if those efforts are producing actual sales, which nobody will see but you, instead of rankings that everyone sees but may not be representative of the truth. A good example of this is Alice Walker’s new book “Taking the Arrow out of the Heart.” At this writing it only has 3 reviews, but it is also a best seller.

Write a Book Business Plan

Serious business people have business plans to help them to map out the goals for their business. Creating a Book Business Plan for every book you release is a fun and helpful way to create a roadmap to help guide you through the process and to identify your goals for each book. The good thing? You can create this plan at any stage of the process. I am creating one right now for my new short story. It’s never too late to begin.

A business plan is a written document on the plans, goal, and overall creative vision of the business. It is what you plan to do and how you plan to do it. A Book Business Plan helps you evaluate the possibility of a new book idea in an objective, critical, and unemotional way. It provides an operating plan to assist you in planning your book release realistically and improves your probability for success. But you don’t have to create a boring and complicated business plan. You can take elements of the business plan and apply it to the pre-launch, launch, and post-launch strategy of each book that you write. Your business plan really just needs 7 Basic Elements:

1. Name your book
2. Write a Log-Line for your book
3. Write your book summary
4. Book Marketing Budget
5. Book Marketing Strategy
6. Publishing Timeline
7. Executive Summary (In a business plan, the executive summary is first but it helps to write it last for your book plan.)

Put Together an Author Media Kit

About 95% of Indie Authors don’t have a media kit which means that you can quickly rise above and stand out from the rest with yours. An Author Media Kit is a major marketing package that helps influencers to learn more about you and your work quickly. It ensures accuracy in news stories, helps people to promote you and your book and is free publicity (beats paid Ads).

7 Key Audiences Who Will Access Your Media Kit

  1. Journalist – Broadcasters, Talk Show Hosts,
  2. Bloggers – Easy access to photos bloggers can use, social media handles
  3. Reviewers— Amazon reviews in your kit
  4. Retailers
  5. Individual Buyers
  6. Event Planners
  7. Anyone Who Wants to Promote you or Your Book

One Key Goal of the Media Kit: Make these people’s job easier. By making their job easy, they are going to promote you and your book.

Purchase Your ISBNs

Get into the habit of purchasing your own ISBNs.

I know there’s a big debate in the Indie Author community concerning whether to purchase an ISBN number. I am not going to get into all of that. You can’t tell people what to do with their money. What I will say is this:

ISBNs are expensive, so I wouldn’t stress out if I can’t get one for every book. But, if you can afford to do so, and if you’ve already created your own company, it looks more professional for you to own your ISBNs and is a level up from what everyone else is doing. With your own ISBNs your name or your company name will be listed as the publisher of your books. As an Independent Publisher with your own ISBN, you can publish under your company name, go to a different printer if you choose, open your own account with major companies and opt for national trade distribution. You can even create your own team of publishing experts.

This post is not about doing what everyone else is doing. This post is about the level-up.

Get Legal

Speaking of ISBNs, get into the habit of legalizing stuff, starting with your name. Legalize your business or Author name. You can create a business name or register your author name as an LLC.

You can file the paperwork easily through Legal-zoom under an LLC, Sole Proprietorship, or S-Corporation (please Google these terms for further understanding on what they are). Or, you can just get a DBA. A DBA is a doing business as name that gives you the opportunity to legally write and conduct business under your author name. This will really give you the feel that you’re in business. You will be able to open a bank account in your business name, acquire a debit card, and do so much more. Sure, you can just set up a PayPal account but having a business bank account will take you to a new level of business. You can even upgrade your PayPal by setting up a business PayPal account that is connected to your business bank account. You can then apply for a PayPal debit card (which is free) which gives you another avenue to access your payments directly from your PayPal account. With a PayPal business account, you can purchase a PayPal Here card reader and accept payments on the go!

Website

Having a website for your author business is one of the most basic but professional things you can do. Even if this is just your blog it helps to have a website where people can access all your work in one place. To learn more about the difference between a blog and an author website and if you need both, see a recent post here.

Your website should be clean, well-organized, and not changing in design every three months. For blog websites, be sure that you have a clear follow button, contact page, about page, and visible social media widgets. Make it easier for people to find and follow you.

Business Cards

Get into the habit of carrying business cards around with you. You never know who you’re going to meet!

The truth is that people throw business cards away so I wouldn’t spend a lot of money on business cards. Keep it simple and professional and give your cards away sparingly. While you may have bookmarks that match your book covers, your regular, standard business cards—the ones you’ll pass out on the go at meetings and bookstores—should be simple, easy to read and clean. It should not have any major designs that distract from the important information, should include your name, business name, phone number, email address, website, and social media handles.

This does not scratch the surface I know, but I hope these basic tips can give you the push you need to put yourself in position to level up your writing career and go from Author to Authorpreneur!

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NEW: Even Salt Looks Like Sugar: a novella by Yecheilyah Ysrayl…

Thanks Chris! Guys, be sure to pick up your eBook copy of my new short story!

Chris The Story Reading Ape's Blog

About.

Wanda wants nothing more than to escape the oppressive upbringing of life with her abusive foster mother. Miss Cassaundra manipulates the system by bringing lost children into her home turned whorehouse and collecting the money. Wanda knows what it’s like to be abandoned and has no doubt Abby is Cassaundra’s next case. When an opportunity arises, that could save them both, Wanda must find a way to get the paperwork that will secure their freedom. But Cassaundra’s got eyes everywhere and no one can be trusted when even salt looks like sugar.

What Readers are Saying:

“I loved the dynamic between Wanda and her BFF, Rosa. They grew up in foster care together and had each other’s backs no matter what. This was a quick read, more like a short story. It held my attention and gave some good info on the foster care system. I expect nothing less…

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7 Reasons I Stopped Promoting my Books so much on Social Media

Note: This is just my personal experience and has nothing to do with anyone else. I must also note that I do believe some promotion is necessary. If people don’t know your book exists they can’t support you.

 

  1. Not that this is a necessarily good thing but I pull back when I see that people are not interested. I don’t like feeling like I am forcing people to support me. That’s like forcing someone to love you and I refuse to do that.

 

  1. I noticed that Social Media is cracking down on Spam. Promoting your book all day every day does not work without a strategy in place. As Angela J. Ford, puts it, “Instead of just publishing a book and hoping to sell a few copies, you should have a business strategy in place to help you to consistently grow your fan base and sell more books.”

 

  1. I see no proof of the “see it seven times buy it” rule. Not saying this doesn’t work. It’s just that in my experience constantly pushing books in people’s face just seems to piss them off. Generally, people have already decided whether they want to buy your book. Asking them repeatedly to buy it won‘t change their minds.

 

  1. I noticed that promoting less gives a better result (for me personally….not saying this for others.) For Even Salt Looks Like Sugar, I have promoted it today on my Instagram for the first time since September 4th (not counting my business account). The last time I promoted it on Facebook was September 19th. I promote it more on Twitter but that‘s because Twitter is a fast-paced platform where tweets get buried. You can post several times on Twitter and not be spammy. When looking at my data, I have sold books both times on IG and Facebook. I believe it’s because by spacing out the promotion the posts are a fresh reminder and not a spammy irritation.

I have edited this part to give you some examples. I don‘t care about likes but when it comes to my book promos, I do care because it goes into my data for understanding what‘s working and what‘s not working. Are the people liking the post supporting or just “liking?” Are people getting tired of me? Is the promotion working? So far I have done 4 Book Promotions for Even Salt Looks Like Sugar on Instagram since August for the preorders. Just four. Below are the results for the new novella promotion on IG:

August 1st – First time promoting Even Salt Looks Like Sugar preorder:
48 Likes, 9 Comments

Obviously, everyone is excited to hear of the new book. That explains the number of likes and commentary. Readers bought books on the first, second, and third of August.

August 10th – Second time promoting Even Salt Looks Like Sugar preorder:
27 Likes, 2 Comments

People are still excited but the core supporters already have a copy of the book. Books sold on this day and 8/23.

September 4th – Third time promoting Even Salt Looks Like Sugar preorder:
34 Likes, 2 Comments

A good month has passed, people forgot. This was a good reminder. Numbers went up. Books sold the first of this month, the 10th, 17th and 18th.

September 26th – Today. Fourth time promoting Even Salt Looks Like Sugar preorder preorder:
10 Likes, 0 Comments

Nice reminder but some people haven‘t seen the post yet, core supporters already have the book, others are not part of my audience or just don’t care. Currently no books sold for 9/26.

Update: Post ended with 25 likes on 10/1. Books also sold on 9/30. I attribute this to the days that passed, new readers who saw the promo, and payday for those getting paid end of the month.

  1. I don’t want everyone to buy my book. Negative reviews and feedback are sometimes the result of people who bought and read our books who were not members of our target audience. If someone doesn’t like the genre I write in or are not interested in the book in general, I don’t want them to buy my book and I don‘t care how many reviews I miss out on.

 

  1. I’ve learned not to care so much about how much I make from my books. I don‘t mean I don’t care about money. Who doesn’t care about money? But money has never been and is not my motivation. It’s also difficult to make a sustainable income from selling books alone. It’s possible but challenging. Instead, I have decided to focus more on building my business which involves more than just writing books. I have decided to focus on the vision and my purpose for writing, my messages and how those messages can change and empower lives. To focus on ways, I can interact with people face-to-face through public speaking, events, programs and services I can offer and other things I can do to build and nurture my small business. For me being an author is not just about writing and publishing books but so much more. One day, I hope to become a full-blown entrepreneur who influences and empowers others to do the same. With this, of course I also hope me and my husband can quit our day jobs in the process, if we wanted to. I believe that by focusing on the vision everything else, including money, will come.

 

  1. I’ve learned that when promoting books to promote what the book is about, not the book. I learned this from The Stella Trilogy. Stella was not the most perfectly written book. It had typos and I could have done better with the covers and formatting. There were also typos in Renaissance. I am sure you can find mistakes in every book. But these books did well because people cared about the story. When you get people to care about the story that’s when they will care about the book.

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Will Wanda secure the paperwork necessary to secure her and Abby’s freedom? Find out next week on the release of my new short novel, Even Salt Looks Like Sugar. Available now for preorder in eBook. Into African American Literature? Short Fiction? Young Adult or Women’s Fiction? Buy it now for 99cents on Amazon here.

CreateSpace Merges With KDP | Nicholas C. Rossis

It’s been the talk of the Indie Author community for some time and today it has been confirmed. Createspace has officially merged with KDP as many had expected. CreateSpace has officially announced that CreateSpace (CSP) and Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP) will become one service. Click on the link below to Nicholas C. Rossis’s blog to learn more about actions you may or may not need to take with this new change.

 

CLICK HERE

Jane Friedman Interview: The #Business of Being a #Writer

Excellent advice on publishing from publishing powerhouse Jane Friedman. She talks about Traditional as well as Independent and Hybrid publishing. I especially enjoyed her advice on memoirs and audiobooks as well as her thoughts on paying for reviews.

 

 

Introduce Yourself: Introducing Guest Author Jo Elizabeth Pinto

Today I’d like to extend a warm welcome to Jo Elizabeth. Welcome to The PBS Blog! Let’s get started.

 

What is your name and where are you from?

My name is Jo Elizabeth Pinto. I grew up in Brighton, Colorado, just north of Denver, and in the last forty years, I’ve seen it change from a humble farming community to a thriving suburb. The jury’s still out on whether progress has been made. I lived away for a short time, but I’ve come back to raise my little girl among family, friends, and familiar places.

Are you employed outside of writing?

I wish writing could put a roof over my head and keep new shoes on my daughter–an expensive proposition in itself between how fast she grows and how quickly she wears out sneakers–but like most authors, I work to support my writing habit. For the last thirteen years, I’ve been a freelance braille proofreader. I mostly work on textbooks, kindergarten through college, but I get to do a novel now and then. That’s a treat!

I am sure you will most certainly get to write full-time one day. I’m rooting for you! What was your childhood dream?

I remember the evening I first knew I would be a writer. I don’t recall exactly how old I was or the season of the year, but it wasn’t long after I started school. My dad and I were curled up on the high-backed couch in our living room, and he had just finished reading a library book aloud to me. The book was about Osceola, the Seminole Indian chief who fought to keep his people in Florida during the early 19th century.

“It’s all gone,” I said sadly when he finished the book. “It was such a good story, too.”

I can still feel the ache in my throat, some forty years later. I was truly sorry the book had ended. I thought I’d lost the story forever. As a blind child, I hadn’t yet truly grasped the idea that books were permanent, that they could be read over and over.

“It’s not gone,” my dad said. “We could start at the beginning and read it again. Not tonight, though.”

Once ignited, that passion for capturing words, for touching people with stories, has been unwavering in me. I’ve never once doubted it as my calling.

Pinto with guide on autumn street
Pinto with guide on Autumn Street

Awwue. In your own words, what is love?

Love is an action, not just a feeling; a verb, not just a noun. That’s a central theme in my novel and a core belief in my life. Talk is cheap. We can say we love each other all day long, but in the end, the world will be better or worse based on how we proved or didn’t prove our love with tangible actions.

What’s your favorite drink?

Gotta have my strong black coffee in the mornings. That’s non-negotiable.

A fellow coffee head people! What state or country do you never want to go back to?

Never say never, although since the TSA cracked down, there are several U.S. airports I’d be happy if I never had to visit again. I received my latest guide dog from a training school in Boring, Oregon, and while the Northwest was beautiful to visit, I don’t think I could linger there. I love my Colorado sunshine. I said in my thank-you speech when I took possession of the dog that it was no wonder Starbucks was dreamed up in Seattle; they all have to walk around with half blood and half coffee in their veins just to keep moving without solar power.

Does blogging help you to write? If so, how?

I don’t have a blog, but I guest post for others frequently and write for my own Facebook page. Blogging helps me by keeping my creative juices flowing. I don’t have the time or the energy to write another novel at this point–between raising a ten-year-old, managing a household, and operating a business, sometimes I barely have the time or the energy to brush my hair–but I love to write. So I push myself to come up with a few paragraphs at a time, a few times a week, to feed my audience and my soul. Also, blogging forces me to keep my writing tight and sparse.

What’s your favorite food?

Comfort food to me is pinto beans and green chili wrapped in a homemade tortilla. I can smell it now–chili roasting in the fall, tortillas cooking on the griddle–I’m drooling on my keyboard.

Now you know I gotta mess with you Jo. Your last name is Pinto and your favorite food is Pinto beans. Ha!

What kind of music do you like?

I listen to a lot of country music, especially the older stuff. The songs tell moving human stories.

When did you publish your first book? What was that like?

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The Bright Side of Darkness is available now on Amazon.

I had shopped my first novel, The Bright Side of Darkness, around to agents and editors for years. Many were interested, but the book couldn’t be pigeonholed into one of their tight and fast genres. Was it Young Adult? Inspirational? Contemporary? When my mother died suddenly in 2014, the reality hit home for me that none of us know how long we’ll walk on this planet, and we better make the most of every day because it could be our last. I didn’t have any more time to wait around. I self-published my novel on Amazon in paperback and Kindle, then made an audiobook out of it as well, since having books available in alternative formats for non-print readers is important to me. Writing the novel was the fun part. Publishing was just a matter of following directions. Marketing–I’m an introvert, so it’s been a challenge. But it’s also been one of the most amazing growing experiences of my life.

What is the most thought-provoking book you’ve ever read?

The book that most captivated me when I read it, from a thought-provoking perspective, and that has stayed with me through the years, is “The Grapes of Wrath” by John Steinbeck. I grew up in a home where social justice mattered, and reading about the journey the hard-pressed Joad family made across the country, fleeing the Dust Bowl to find a better life in California, reminded me of the stories my dad and his siblings and parents would tell me about growing up in northern New Mexico, or even in my little Colorado town before civil rights had smoothed out some of the worst inequalities between brown and white people.

Are you political Jo?

I spent my younger years in political oblivion. As I’ve reached middle age, I’ve become concerned about issues of injustice that won’t let me stay quiet. I use my persuasive skills as a writer to contact my elected officials and to call people to action regularly. And I’ve always voted since I turned eighteen. Countless brave people have given their limbs and lives so I can have a voice at the ballot box.

Religious?

I’m a Christian. Wait–before you freak out, I’m not one of those nut jobs you see on TV trying to convince you that he needs a $54 million Falcon jet and you ought to foot the bill. I live by two simple rules–love your God and love your neighbor as yourself. That’s it. Jesus laid down those rules and we human beings added the rest and really gummed up the works.

Why is writing important to you?

I write because I love words because writing is part of my soul because I’ll explode if I don’t write. But I also write because I believe I have a gift–no, a duty–to make people think. Whether it’s a fiction book, an advocacy blog piece, a lighthearted Facebook post, a political call to action, or a simple speech, I write to get the attention of my readers. Sometimes I need them to act; other times I simply urge them to reflect and look at the world from different angles, but I always want them to think. That’s really the most difficult and the most exciting thing about being a writer–because when people don’t think and you’ve tried with every ounce of your effort to reach them, it’s gut-wrenching. But when it works, it’s beautiful!

I love your reason for writing. In the words of Carter G. Woodson, “when you control a man’s thinking you do not have to worry about his actions.” So it’s very important for us to be able to think for ourselves.

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Thank you Jo for spending this time with us. We enjoyed you!


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Jo Elizabeth Pinto

Bio.

J.E. Pinto is a magnet for underdogs! Early in her married life, her home became a hangout for troubled neighborhood kids. This experience lit the flame for her first novel, The Bright Side of Darkness.

Pinto’s Spanish-American roots grow deep in the Rocky Mountains, dating back six generations. J. E. Pinto lives with her family in Colorado where she works as a writer and also proofreads textbooks and audio books. One of her favorite pastimes is taking a nature walk with her service dog.

The Bright Side of Darkness won a first place Indie Book Award for “First Novel over Eighty Thousand Words,” as well as First Place for “Inspirational Fiction.” The novel also won several awards from the Colorado Independent Publishers Association: First Place for “Inspirational Fiction,” Second Place for “Audio Book,” and First Place for “Literary and Contemporary Fiction.

Follow Jo on Facebook!
https://www.facebook.com/authorjepinto/

Amazon Author Central

http://www.amazon.com/author/jepinto

 

Are you an author? Looking for more exposure? Learn more about my Introduce Yourself Feature HERE.

Mark ‘Even Salt Looks Like Sugar’ as ‘to read’ on Goodreads!

Hey guys!

I am releasing a short novel (also known as a novella) this fall. It is a special project I hope to eventually offer for free to you, my loyal readers! Right now it is only 99cents on Amazon and will not go up. Proceeds from the eBook will help to fund my next poetry contest.

Today, I am asking if you could mark the book as ‘to read’ on Goodreads so that others can learn about this new, exciting read. When you mark a book as to read it shows up on your timeline as a book added and works similar to Facebook whereas your Goodreads friends will be able to see the book you added. Every time you add a book, comment on a review to a book, review a book, or update your progress on a book it shows up at the top of your page and others can see it! It’s a FREE way that you can support your Indie Author friends, like me, without spending money. Thanks so much!

CLICK HERE TO MARK

Even Salt Looks Like Sugar as “to read” on Goodreads

CLICK HERE to PRE-ORDER

Even Salt Looks Like Sugar at just 99cents.