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?
Just wanted to say that I’m enjoying watching you do new and different things to get your work out. Pretty awesome! And really enjoying the Quartz serial.
Would love to hear any tips about running a small business from you. *is all ears*
Liv Rancourt says
I need to take some lessons from you. Awesome work from both hats!
I’m starting slow and small, learning as I go!
Suzanne Stengl says
one out of four! I’m just doing the tracking part. I do have 2 indie pubbed novellas out and I’m busy writing a full length. But diversifying? Not really. Except maybe I’ll get print versions done in CreateSpace sometime when I have Time.
Congrats on your “businesswoman hat” 🙂 Well done!
Getting a lot of product out there is really important. Increasing my productivity is high on my list. I’m afraid I’m too much of a procrastinator (*sigh!*).
Tami Clayton says
You’ve really taken things to the next level, haven’t you? Good for you! I’ve been toying with the idea of writing some short stories and getting my writing out there in more ways than novel writing. It’s all certainly out of my comfort zone but like you said, no one got better or progresses if they stay in their familiar rut.
I love the instant gratification factor of short stories. And getting your work into anthologies is yet another way of self-promotion that someone else pays you for. 😀
Ellen Gregory says
Good stuff, Rabia. Sounds like a solid business plan we can all learn from. I keep telling myself I’ll attend to the “business” side of things once I actually earn some money from my fiction. Currently all my focus is on writing a novel that’s publishable (in some form).
You’re doing exactly what you should be right now–putting the horse before the cart instead of the other way around! It’s good to pick up a little bit of knowledge about the business side of things here and there, too. I’ll be talking about some business-related resources over the next few weeks, so stay tuned!
Rabia, I love the concept of diversifying. What you do is write, so why not write lots of different things? Well done. And great to track your progress in many different ways.
Thanks, Tammy. 🙂
Liana Mir says
Focus. Know what you want out of your creative work and work toward that, being ruthless at cutting out distractions. Alas! The alternative is usually popcorn kittens, and everything sounds good because it is. But that doesn’t mean you need to dilute your efforts to pull it off.
My biggest thing is working toward focusing long enough to finish or well establish before launching something new. This doesn’t always count when it comes to writing. 😀
Oh, yes! I’m making lists to keep me focused. I mapped out most of the writing year yesterday. I hope having A Plan will keep me on track. We’ll see. 🙂
Liana Mir says
Speaking of, I finally got Gone Hunting, the collection up. And just for you: KH89D makes it free, expires on the 5th. I’ve got the Createspace done, then had to edit the cover, so back to proofing stage. :shakes head at self:
And I hear you about the Createspace versions–David’s been working on mine for Mourning Cloak and Rainbird on and off for a couple or months. Ordered proofs a week ago; waiting (im)patiently for them to arrive.