Last year, I crossed the line from writing as a hobby to writing as part-time work. I get to wear a businessperson hat as well as an artist’s beret. Looking at my writing through an entrepreneurial lens has changed the way I do things.
Without further ado, here are 4 things I’m doing as writer-turned-businesswoman.
This is the first year I’m seriously tracking my writing output from month to month. Right now, I’m only tracking raw, first-draft words, but it’s a start. I can’t come up with a realistic production schedule–nor can I increase my productivity–without first knowing how fast I write.
I also track my sales across all channels, my income, and my expenses. This will help me know which projects and which markets to focus my energies on.
So far this year, I’ve self-published a novella, written a paid non-fiction article, submitted short stories to anthologies and magazines, and started a serial on my site. I’m spreading my stories across lots of little baskets, so that if one gets stomped on or upended, it won’t bring my career to a screeching halt.
(Diversifying also means getting POD versions of Mourning Cloak and Rainbird ready: files are uploaded and I’m impatiently waiting for them to be verified so I can order proofs!)
Part of diversifying is an attitude of openness. I’ve never had a problem saying no (I realize that many people have the opposite issue). “No” is my automatic response to anything I’m asked to do. I don’t have the time. I don’t know how. It’s out of my comfort zone. It’s inconvenient. I just don’t want to.
Well, no one got better by staying in a rut and refusing to experiment. Nowadays my policy is to say yes more than I say no. Work on a secret project with my best writing buddy? Yes! Get an invitation by an editor to submit to an anthology? Yes! Write a non-fiction article about creativity as a writer? Yes! Appear on a podcast to talk about my stories and self-publishing? Yes! Donate time to help another artist/writer put together an awesome giveaway for first-time self-publishers? Yes!
Building a List
I’m a big fan of permission marketing, so I’m working on building up an email list of fans. If you subscribe to my newsletter, you get news of my latest releases, coupons, and exclusive content. I use MailChimp, and I’m very pleased with it.
Are you a creative entrepreneur? Do you have any business/marketing tips to share?