Everything you need to run a business as an author.
This is not a book on creativity or the craft of writing. My aim is to take the result of your creativity into the realm of actually paying the bills.
To take you from being an author to running a business as an author.
I was a business consultant for 13 years before I gave up my job in September 2011 to become a full-time author-entrepreneur. I have worked for large corporates and small businesses, implementing financial systems across Europe and Asia Pacific.
I’ve also started a number of my own businesses – a scuba dive charter boat in New Zealand, a customized travel website, a property investment portfolio in Australia as well as my freelance consultancy. I’ve failed a lot and learned many lessons in my entrepreneurial life and I share them all in this book.
In the last six years of being an author, through tempestuous changes in the publishing world, I have learned the business side of being a writer and I now earn a good living as an author-entrepreneur. I’m an author because it is my passion and my joy … but also because it can be a business in this age of global and digital opportunity.
Available in ebook, print, or audio format
What's in the book?
Here's an outline of the table of contents.
Part 1: From Author To Entrepreneur
The arc of the author’s journey, definition of an author-entrepreneur, deciding on your definition of success and why it’s important as well as what you want for your life. Plus/ should you start a company?
Part 2: Products and Services
How you can turn one manuscript into multiple streams of income by exploiting all the different rights, various business models for authors and how to evaluate your own, information on contracts, copyright and piracy. Plus/ putting together a production plan.
Part 3: Employees, Suppliers and Contractors
The team you need to run your business as an author-entrepreneur. Your role as author and what you’re committing to in the business, as well as co-writing. Editors, agents and publishers, translators, book designers and formatters, audiobook narrators, book-keeping and accounting, virtual assistants. Plus/ how to manage your team.
Part 4: Customers
In-depth questions to help you understand who your customers are and what they want, as well as customer service options for authors.
Part 5: Sales and Distribution
How to sell through distributors and your options, plus all the information you need to sell direct. ISBNs and publishing imprints – do you need them? Plus/ your options for pricing.
Part 6: Marketing
Defining and reframing marketing so you feel more comfortable with it, as well as key overarching concepts. Book-based marketing techniques including cover, back copy and sales pages on the distributors. Author-based marketing around building your platform, and customer-based marketing around your niche audience and targeted media. [This is just an overview. For a whole book on marketing, see my ‘How To Market A Book‘.]
Part 7: Financials
Changing your mindset about money, and assessing where you are now vs where you want to be. Revenues of the author business and how to increase that revenue. Costs of the author business and funding your startup. Banking, PayPal, accounting, reporting, tax and estate planning.
Part 8: Strategy and Planning
What is your strategy for your business and why this is important. Developing your business plan. Managing your time and developing professional habits, plus accountability systems. The long term view and the process for becoming a full-time author if you choose that route. Plus/ looking after yourself.
Part 9: Next Steps
Questions from the book to help you work out everything to do with your business, plus encouragement for your next steps.
Appendices, Workbook and Bonus Downloads
There's also a download page that accompanies the book includes a downloadable workbook with questions in from each chapter. There’s a business plan template as well as hyperlinked lists of tools and resources to help you further.
The Appendices also include bonus interviews on money and how it relates to creativity, writing and life, as well as my own lessons learned over the last years as a full-time author-entrepreneur.
“Ready to become CEO of your own Global Media Empire? Then Business for Authors is for you, featuring clear and concise steps to managing your writing career.” – CJ Lyons, New York Times and USA Today bestselling author
“This is exactly the book I needed! Business for Authors is like having a charming double agent from the world of business who can tell you all its coveted secrets. It reads like an engaging conversation with someone you can trust ― a theology major! ― and along the way learning the language and strategies of a true entrepreneur. I wish I had been given this book when I first graduated from my MFA program, back when the accounting of writing was even more of a mystery to me. With warmth and intelligence, Penn demystifies so much about what it takes to be a writer for life. This is a book that will remain on my bookshelf for the years to come.” – Elizabeth Hyde Stevens, author of Make Art Make Money: Lessons from Jim Henson on Fueling Your Creative Career and lecturer at Boston University and Harvard University Extension School
“The best book I know of for authors who are serious about making their writing into more than a hobby. Joanna Penn writes in an engaging, personal style to lead you through the often-confusing world of publishing for profit, sharing her own hard-won lessons. A boon to self-publishers everywhere.” – Joel Friedlander
“Business for Authors ought to be required reading if you're a beginning writer who wants to make money in publishing. You can learn it all the hard way, like I did, but that usually takes years and it usually means that you'll make a LOT of mistakes along the way. Or you can read through Joanna Penn's awesome little guidebook in just a few hours and save yourself a huge amount of time, energy, and money.” – Randy Ingermanson, author of Writing Fiction for Dummies
“This book demonstrates why Joanna Penn has become a favorite role model for professional author-publishers, those indie-minded writers who want to turn their passion into their job. In it Penn offers the step-by-step process she has followed to success and covers every aspect of earning a good living from writing. Not a word is wasted and not a lesson offered that hasn't been forged in the hotbed of her own experience. A must-have book for every indie author.” – Orna Ross, author and director of The Alliance of Independent Authors
“Business for Authors has now become my business bible. Packed with advice, experience and knowledge, it opened my mind to so much more that I could be doing.” – Mel Sherratt, crime writer and Amazon UK #1 bestseller
“With Business for Authors, I felt like I stepped inside the brain of an entrepreneur. I love how Joanna explored the topic from so many angles, and then provided real-life context of how she worked through each opportunity/challenge.” – Dan Blank, founder of WeGrowMedia
“There's no doubt about it, to be successful as an author today you must think like an entrepreneur. But maybe you need some advice and guidance on exactly how to do that? Good news! Joanna Penn's latest book Business for Authors will walk you through everything you need to know for success. It's a comprehensive step-by-step guide for authors, written by someone who walks the walk as a best-selling author and entrepreneur.” – Jim F. Kukral, Author Marketing Club