Writers and Entrepreneurs

Can You Be Both?

The simple and honest answer is…YES, YOU CAN!

Becoming A Writer

One translation I found of what it means to write is, “To draw (letters or other forms of script) on a surface…”. This description suits me, as I like to say writing is, “Painting pictures with words”.

Writing comes in many forms. Whether it is a book, essay, article, newspaper column, statistical report, or lyrics for a song, it all involves the process of putting something down on paper, (or in this age of technology, into a computer) and it is usually intended to be shared with someone. (Even folks that keep private journals or diaries intend to “share” those words with themselves at some point in the future.)

The opportunities for a career in writing are numerous and varied. In an article from TradeSchools.net it lists 24 types of “jobs” for writers, along with a brief description of each. The site is primarily concerned with helping people to find schools or colleges that suit their area of interest. But I must admit (from a writer’s heart) I felt their mindset of a career in writing as an employee left a little thorn in my side.

I’ve had many jobs earning a paycheck for doing something that a boss told me to do. And I’ll be honest, I actually liked a few of them. At one point, I actually started 2 businesses (at the same time, which I would NOT recommend trying!) Though I liked the idea of being a business owner, both businesses were based on doing a “job” that I was not passionate about.

Even so, in the very core of my being, I wanted to create something of my own, to choose my own way of living, and to be able to share something of value with others. Eventually, this led me into the realm of becoming an Indie (Independent) Author. And this was where I found my passion. I discovered that I love to write!

The problem was figuring out how to create a career path to follow in this profession (and be successful). For many of us, it begins as a lonely journey through a lot of trial, error, and frustration.

The Scenario

In my mind I pictured myself as a writer, sitting at my desk and pecking away on the keyboard. I would finish my masterpiece and call my anxious agent, who would rush over and pick up the weighty envelope containing my soon-to-be best seller. The agent would waste no time in hand-delivering this envelope onto the desk of the publisher who would then shout for joy and rush it off to the printers. (I know, you’re probably roaring with laughter now, but wait, it gets better.)

Once this was done, it was time for a vacation. Perhaps lounging on a sunny beach at some tropical resort, or visiting the ancient ruins of Rome, or the castles of Scotland. Maybe I would be invited to dinner with the President. (Okay, even I’m laughing now.)

When I returned from my vacation, once again, I would sit at my desk, crafting the next best-seller while deciding how I would celebrate its success.

Talk about a fiction story! Statistically speaking, that scenario is about as likely to happen as winning the lottery. At least in the beginning.

In The Real World

In reality, agents and publishers are sometimes difficult to find, especially ones that are interested in your work, even when it’s a brilliant masterpiece.

The concept of Independent Author was just starting to gain in popularity when I first began writing, and still considered to be controversial. Many folks viewed it as “vanity publishing”, or said that the writing must not be any good if a publisher didn’t want it.

Thankfully, that attitude has now changed and the world of self-publishing has opened up many opportunities for the Indie Author.

Most Authors, whether traditional or independent, are aware that nowadays, authors are expected to participate in a majority of the marketing and publicity of their work. This is where the business aspect of being a writer comes in, and it is where most writers fail because they lack the skills to create a professional writing business.

There are many hats to wear in this profession and it will most likely require a lot of blood, sweat, and tears before success is achieved. It demands patience and perseverance, along with a strong passion and dedication to the work.

This is where you will have to decide is your writing going to be a hobby, or will you work as an employee writing for someone else? Or perhaps, like me, you choose to go full-speed-ahead as an Indie Author. If you choose the last one, let me introduce you to a different term…Author Entrepreneur.

What Is An Entrepreneur?

The simplest description of an entrepreneur is, “someone that creates, founds, or originates something, or a person who starts up a business venture and assumes the risk for it”.

Well, the first part of that description already sounds a lot like a writer doesn’t it?

As an Author-Entrepreneur, you are basically taking what you write and creating a business with it. What you write is going to be (most likely) your product, in other words, what you are going to sell. The entrepreneur side is more about how you are going to sell it, and this can be just as creative as the writing itself. There is no hard-set formula to this. But it does require some skill and knowledge, but if you are willing to invest in yourself and learn, you can do it.

When I first started, there was no such thing as a one-stop-shop to find all the resources I needed to learn. I found other Authors that were very generous and willing to share what they knew and did. But it was different with each one, though most were heavily focused on the marketing aspect.

So, I began learning about online marketing. I signed up under a few different “gurus” of the industry, each promising to teach me how to create my own wealth. After years of trying several different methods (and getting scammed by a few), I began to get the idea that the rules of marketing were not really tailored to the needs of writers. There were indeed some that had become successful, but it appeared to be as much luck as skill.

It seemed that the writers that found success were all doing different things from each other, while others following in their footsteps weren’t going anywhere.

It took some time to realize, there is a backbone of a formula for success here. But the really fun part is the ability to change it to suit you personally.

I began to wonder if it was possible to re-write the rules for marketing, to create new ones that would specifically benefit writers. After all, creating new ideas and implementing them are the basic foundation of what entrepreneurs do.

For me, one of the greatest freedoms was in recognizing that I don’t have to follow the advice of “never take no for an answer”, something every marketer and salesperson is taught from the very beginning. I’ve been on the other end of that too many times, and I simply don’t like pushy people. So, I certainly don’t want to be one. The way I look at it, if someone is not interested in what I write about, even if I manage to make a sale, they’re probably never going to read it. So, while it would be a sale, it would be an “empty” sale for me.

Instead, I would rather concentrate my efforts on producing quality work that has some kind of meaning or value, and then offer it to folks that are actually interested in reading it.

The Grand Finale (otherwise known as the conclusion)

In closing this post for today, first, I want to say THANK YOU for taking the time to read it!

As I said above, there is no place that I know of where you can find all the information needed to be successful in this business.

Not knowing where to look or even what exactly to look for was one of the most frustrating aspects for me. But I’m no quitter. Most of my family and friends will tell you I’m stubborn. When I set my mind to doing something, I will usually find a way to do it, even if it’s the hard (and sometimes wrong) way.

That is part of the reason I created this blog. It occurred to me that with everything I have gone through and learned over the years, perhaps I could make things a little easier and help others learn how to achieve their dream of writing too.

With that in mind, I invite you to subscribe to my email list to receive my monthly newsletter where I will be sharing useful tips and resources. (And yes, I’m in the process of producing a “how-to” e-book for writers that will be offered for free only to my subscribers.)

The newsletter is also where I will be sharing reviews and excerpts from books by other authors, in both fiction and non-fiction, along with some sneak-previews of my upcoming work.

So, if that is something that would interest you, I encourage you to go to the top menu and click the “sign up” button to access the form to subscribe.

Well, that’s it for today. As always, I would love to hear from you, so make sure to share your thoughts, ideas, questions in the reply section below. And don’t forget to share.

See you tomorrow! – Amber

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