In a recent interview I was asked about my history as an author and entrepreneur. Self-publishers have long known that many books, especially nonfiction ones, are the hub of a potential profit center that extends the ideas in your book in many dimensions.
There’s a reason that, for many years, the clients who would hire me to design and produce their books were mostly entrepreneurs, no matter what field it was in which they had some expertise.
They knew there was a bigger audience to reach by going through the work of publishing it in a book. They would use the book to leverage their position in their field, but also as a springboard to offering their expertise in lots of other forms, too.
I was working in the publishing business when I first self-published in 1986. Since that time I’ve looked at just about every offline and online method of creating and distributing content that I could reasonably find. It’s been quite an education, and one I’ll be writing about more in the future. That background informs a lot of what I do today, whether it’s product development, blogging, publishing books, or participating in educational events.
The full interview won’t come out until later this month, but here’s an extract that focuses on tips for how you, too, can fulfill your “authorpreneurial” dreams.
10 Tips for Aspiring Authorpreneurs
- Realize that every book is essentially a mini startup business, with all that that implies.
- Get to know the people who are the best audience for your book, then keep in touch with them forever.
- Be open to experiments because failures will prepare you for success and teach you a lot more in the process.
- Develop an awareness of opportunities in your chosen market, genre, category, or niche. People’s interests keeps changing and new events, personalities, and stories are constantly impinging on our awareness. Know what your readers are thinking about.
- Pay attention to where your readers are getting stuck, because that’s exactly the place where they are likely to be looking for help.
- Concentrate on newcomers to your field, they are the most numerous group and the most interested in acquiring training, background education, and new skills.
- Get over your reluctance to market your books and other products and services. Marketing is not selling. Instead of a transaction, it’s more about communicating your expertise and passions with others who share them.
- Be on the lookout for ways to repurpose your content because not everyone wants to read it in a book or on a blog. And even if your material is available for free online, many people may be willing to pay for it when it’s delivered in another form.
- Become adept at identifying and working well with peers, partners, and affiliates of all kinds. It’s much easier to grow your business with the help of a network than on your own.
- Concentrate your work energy on the things you do best, and avoid distractions and the impulse to learn new skills in cases where you can quite easily and affordably hire a real professional to do it for you. For most authors, this is going to mean concentrating on creating content and marketing it. Leave the technical stuff to others. And,
- Here’s a bonus 11th tip: Have fun! You’ll last longer and you’ll never “burn out” if you learn how to make your work life enjoyable and fulfilling.
What about you, what wisdom would you pass along for an author who has that entrepreneurial spirit?