Posted on 2013-Oct-02
Are you an indie author or self-publisher? Do these two terms represent the most accurate state of your professional living? Joanna Penn extensively tells her experience being an author-entrepreneur. There is a solid logic behind her coined status which bridges the gap between playing the role of being a creative wordsmith and a commercially focused business owner. Although we covered her professional transition a while ago citing a BBC post, this very blog reveals the hard work behind her success formula.
Embracing “Unemployable” Status
In the beginning of her writing career, it seemed a bit daunting for someone who had earned a better-than-average salary to give up her monthly income and pursue a profession that relied heavily on fiction. Ironically, Joanna is fine with her current employment status embracing the “unemployable” as if it were one of her most defining achievement in her career path. Instead of offering an omniscient overview, Joanna addresses her audience different areas of key findings by breaking them down in lessen-and-learn style.
The Progressive Hybrid
Within the broad definition of author-entrepreneur, while the former half refers to the creative self that will always focus on writing, the latter brings in a business sense to make great use of her former day job experience as a consultant. By breaking down her sales, we start to see her product sales make up for 45% of her income. Given that she only started her author career not so long ago, what she documented is worth a thorough study for everyone.
New Opportunities Awaiting
Lesson One is obvious considering how many indie authors have reported their success being crowned a best-seller in charts. However, when you publish one book in the market, do not limit your product to one medium. By offering your target audience most of the formats they want, not only you can expand your fan base, you are getting ahead of the current trend and possibly tapping in the market where a few players are competing. Apart from the typically known 3 mediums (eBook, print book, audiobook), if you add rights into the equation, the international market will be your prime destination to approach due to English literacy rate. Whatever deal you plan to make, try not to sell your ‘World English’ rights. More importantly, you can keep checking which territory will be convenient to self-publish what you own at the moment. Language is another area that can help you penetrate new market. While German is attractive because of their eBook adoption rate, Spanish will open door to many countries where their economy is accelerating.
Lesson Two reemphasizes the consistency of loving what you do. While keeping up with you love, you should be aware of mastering your skill and exposing yourself to technology and business skills. Expanding your connection and sharing what you are learning with other people can also generate more interests among like-minded authors and/or entrepreneurs. Based on her personal experience, it took her five years to nurture her brand (website) and learn the necessary skills to communicate with her audience. Patience is her secret stamina that has allowed her to write and see the fruit of her labor.
Lesson Three reminds you of how physical contact is much needed even in the backdrop of virtualization. Not only do you need to interact with your network to maintain your healthy mind, your contacts can also expand your horizon especially if they are in the same field of expertise as yours. If you do not know where to start, you may consider group meeting websites (Meetup, Craigslist), blogging, and conferences to initiate new conversation and ideas.
Writing for a Purpose
Lesson Four brings you back to the “why” you are writing in the first place. Joanna’s inspiration in writing is to describe a place where she will visit one day. Although her writing is slowly shaping up her voice, it gives her the sense of purpose to live the life she wants.
You’re the Inspiration
In most comments section, people usually find fault with the content presented in the blog that may slightly miss the mark. This blog garners so much admiration and inspiration from her fellow authors. I capture this stunning correspondence below for your food for thought as it brilliantly shows how writing means a lot to her and yet her advice for Ron Estrada, who is at the crossroads of choosing what he loves, lacks magical blessings. Instead, it provides practical solution and optimistic conscience that every author can relate to. She begs the question of why anyone would want to retire from work they love.
Silver Bullet Not Needed
In many ways, Joanna has attracted aspirant and established authors in one blog to make everyone realize what they can possibly maximize their profitability based on their works. She stresses the fact that open-mindedness will remain the key to success and writing can be one way to boost the revenue stream. Now that the overseas market is open wider than ever, there are bigger chances for author-entrepreneur to go the extra mile connecting with your potential fans and maintain the level of consistency even the lucky break is nowhere in sight yet. So to speak, at the end of the day, you do not need the silver bullet to be qualified for doing what you love as long as you keep doing it right.
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