Being a writer or author is one thing. But being able to promote, market, sell and profit from your writing as well, is another. This is what often defines being an authorpreneur.
While there are many writers and authors nowadays, there are relatively few true authorpreneurs. Why? Because it is a really tough business and for many writers, being in business is not what they want to do.
For most authorpreneurs, it is a full-time job and involves a lot more than simply writing content or ebooks.
So, what makes an authorpreneur so different from a first time author or writer?
1. Authorpreneurs are managers
They are in business and run a tight ship. Perhaps you can equate them to a CEO, General Manager or President of a company.
They are responsible for the finances, sales, advertising and profitability of their business. It is also the means by which they make a living, as they rarely have another source of income.
2. Authorpreneurs outsource
There is not enough time in the day for anyone who runs a business to do everything. It is why true authorpreneurs use professionals to undertake many of the necessary tasks involved in selling words.
These tasks would probably include book cover design, editing, proofreading and book formatting. Commonly, they would also outsource website or blog development, copywriting and online advertising campaigns.
For authorpreneurs, spending money wisely on outsourcing saves a lot of valuable and scarce writing time.
3. Authorpreneurs write a lot
In fact, an awful lot. Not only fiction or non-fiction books but also regular high-quality content for their blogs, content for their promotional campaigns and of course, a lot of emails. If you think this job is only about writing books, you will be wrong.
In fact, most authorpreneurs are so busy during their workdays that like many authors with a day job, writing a new novel is often an evening and weekend occupation.
4. Authorpreneurs work long hours
It is a business, and especially for those who are just starting out, it takes a lot of energy, time and long work days to build a business that is in the business of selling words.
While many have tried, it is only the highly motivated and dedicated, or perhaps extremely stubborn, who succeed in building a viable income-producing business.
5. Authorpreneurs are highly focused
They know exactly what their readership wants, and as in any business, it is all about keeping the customer satisfied. They know what specific writing genre returns the best sales and profit, or what content attracts readers to their blogs.
They also understand the necessity to use SEO, and many have mastered basic, intermediate or even advanced SEO skills to leverage Internet search to gain maximum market reach for their products. Well, yes, books and words.
Building on name recognition and attracting audience awareness are key components in the daily routine of authorpreneurs.
Whether it be social media, blogging, interviews, commenting or guest blogging, every opportunity to find a wider audience or online presence is fundamental in growing the business.
7. Authorpreneurs diversify
Writing is not only about books and novels. With so many mediums available to distribute text today, there are always opportunities to repurpose articles, essays or book extracts.
Content is in high demand, so finding diversified ways to earn extra income is always possible for those who keenly search for them.
Many large websites, newspapers, magazines and even corporations are looking for and will pay for content.
Authorpreneurs are always looking for opportunities to create multiple income streams, which might include coaching, consulting, affiliate marketing and earning advertising revenue.
These, of course, offset the ups and downs of royalty earnings from book sales, but can also be lucrative in themselves.
8. Authorpreneurs invest and are patient
Nothing happens magically overnight. It takes a long time and a lot of patience to start building any new business, so here there is no difference to opening, say, a new consulting business.
The reality is that all new businesses take time to move into profit and require start-up capital to cover the initial stages when costs can be quite high. Authorpreneurs understand business planning and realistic long-term objectives.
9. Authorpreneurs are tough taskmasters
They are tough on their suppliers and contractors, but even tougher on themselves. It requires discipline to make every hour in the day, and every word written, count.
With so much to do, it takes a strong will and fierce determination to overcome the setbacks and clear the hurdles that are ever-present in any business.
10. Authorpreneurs look outside the nine dots
Accepting that something has to be done a certain way because it has always been done that way by everyone else is certainly not an attribute of an authorpreneur.
They will always be on the lookout for new ways, methods and opportunities to stay ahead of the game and importantly, increase earnings.
11. Authorpreneurs believe in themselves
Above all else, it is the belief that they can and will succeed that differentiates a true authorpreneur from other writers and authors.
They treat every mistake, setback or failure as a learning experience and never attribute any of these to bad luck because they never work on luck or hope.
They accept the highs and lows and keep working to find a way to succeed.
Wrapping it up
Being an authorpreneur is not for every writer or author.
In fact, it is a choice made by very few, as it is a really tough business. For many writers, it is enough to write, publish and hope to make a side income, while keeping a day job.
It is enough to take pleasure from the joy of writing and being read.
However, for others, the drive and motivation are strong and they relish the challenge of succeeding in making writing their full-time job, or indeed, business.
So there is no right or wrong way here. It is simply a matter of choice to be a writer, an author, or an authorpreneur.
But wait, there’s more
From a linguistic point of view, the word authorpreneur is by definition a portmanteau. So what is that?
a word blending the sounds and combining the meanings of two others, for example, motel or brunch.
“podcast is a portmanteau, a made-up word coined from a combination of the words iPod and broadcast”
In then-contemporary English, a portmanteau was a suitcase that opened into two equal sections. The etymology of the word is the French porte-manteau, from porter, “to carry”, and manteau, “cloak” (from Old French mantel, from Latin mantellum).
So the author part is easy, but what about the second part, preneur? It, of course, comes from entrepreneur.
a person who sets up a business or businesses, taking on financial risks in the hope of profit.
However, in French, it has a different meaning
n. 1828, “manager or promoter of a theatrical production,” reborrowing of French entrepreneur “one who undertakes or manages,” agent noun from Old French entreprendre “undertake” (see enterprise). The word first crossed the Channel late 15c. but did not stay. Meaning “business manager” is from 1852.
Which then led to a whole lot of confusion for George W. Bush.
“The thing that’s wrong with the French is that they don’t have a word for entrepreneur”
George W. Bush
Well, George, the French do indeed have a word for an entrepreneur because it is a French word. But in fairness, the meaning got lost somehow along the way when it crossed the Atlantic.
I started my working life as a lithographer and then spent over 30 years in the printing and publishing business.
Originally from Australia, I moved to Switzerland 20 years ago. My days are spent teaching English, writing and wrestling with technology while enjoying my glorious view of the Alps.
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