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Business for Authors: How to Be an Author Entrepreneur

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Are you ready to take the next step in your author journey? Art for the sake of art is important. Writing for the love of it, or to create something beautiful on the page, is absolutely worthwhile and critical to expand the sum of human expression. But I'm not here to talk about creativity or the craft of writing in this book. My aim is to take the result of your creativit Are you ready to take the next step in your author journey? Art for the sake of art is important. Writing for the love of it, or to create something beautiful on the page, is absolutely worthwhile and critical to expand the sum of human expression. But I'm not here to talk about creativity or the craft of writing in this book. 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 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've 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's my passion and my joy, but also because it's a viable business in this age of global and digital opportunity. In the book, you will learn: Part 1: From Author To Entrepreneur The arc of the author's journey, definition of an author-entrepreneur, deciding on your definition of success. 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 them, information on contracts, copyright and piracy. Part 3: Employees, Suppliers and Contractors The team you need to run your business. 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 Key overarching marketing concepts. Book-based marketing 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. Part 7: Financials The money mindset, revenues and costs of the author business. Banking, PayPal, accounting, reporting, tax and estate planning. Part 8: Strategy and Planning Developing your strategy and business plan. Managing your time and developing professional habits. The long term view and the process for becoming a full-time author. 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.


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Are you ready to take the next step in your author journey? Art for the sake of art is important. Writing for the love of it, or to create something beautiful on the page, is absolutely worthwhile and critical to expand the sum of human expression. But I'm not here to talk about creativity or the craft of writing in this book. My aim is to take the result of your creativit Are you ready to take the next step in your author journey? Art for the sake of art is important. Writing for the love of it, or to create something beautiful on the page, is absolutely worthwhile and critical to expand the sum of human expression. But I'm not here to talk about creativity or the craft of writing in this book. 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 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've 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's my passion and my joy, but also because it's a viable business in this age of global and digital opportunity. In the book, you will learn: Part 1: From Author To Entrepreneur The arc of the author's journey, definition of an author-entrepreneur, deciding on your definition of success. 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 them, information on contracts, copyright and piracy. Part 3: Employees, Suppliers and Contractors The team you need to run your business. 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 Key overarching marketing concepts. Book-based marketing 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. Part 7: Financials The money mindset, revenues and costs of the author business. Banking, PayPal, accounting, reporting, tax and estate planning. Part 8: Strategy and Planning Developing your strategy and business plan. Managing your time and developing professional habits. The long term view and the process for becoming a full-time author. 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.

30 review for Business for Authors: How to Be an Author Entrepreneur

  1. 4 out of 5

    LATOYA JOVENA

    Not quite what I was expecting. This book seems geared more towards authors looking to self-publish. The level of detail on self publishing is intense. Also since I've read a lot of business books I can't say that Joanna taught me anything new on that end, but she does a good job of going over the basics. The one thing she does a great job of explaining is the various rights one work has. Digital, print, audio. Different rights for every country. So writing one book can give you various income st Not quite what I was expecting. This book seems geared more towards authors looking to self-publish. The level of detail on self publishing is intense. Also since I've read a lot of business books I can't say that Joanna taught me anything new on that end, but she does a good job of going over the basics. The one thing she does a great job of explaining is the various rights one work has. Digital, print, audio. Different rights for every country. So writing one book can give you various income streams. Good to know.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Prasenjeet Kumar

    Another fantastic book from Joanna Penn on self-publishing Earlier too, I had found Joanna Penn’s book “How to Market a Book” a really comprehensive book on marketing. “Business For Authors” which I could only recently lay my hands on, is equally good. Interestingly, its focus is on viewing your writing career as a business. Most Authors make the mistake of viewing their writing as a hobby or as art that they indulge in more for love than for money. There is nothing wrong with this attitude. Howe Another fantastic book from Joanna Penn on self-publishing Earlier too, I had found Joanna Penn’s book “How to Market a Book” a really comprehensive book on marketing. “Business For Authors” which I could only recently lay my hands on, is equally good. Interestingly, its focus is on viewing your writing career as a business. Most Authors make the mistake of viewing their writing as a hobby or as art that they indulge in more for love than for money. There is nothing wrong with this attitude. However, if you are really serious about making a full time income from writing, then you need to view your books as “products”, your editors, translators, and book cover designers as “suppliers”, your readers as “customers” and your writing career as “customer service” whereby you write one book after the other to keep your readers (i.e. customers) happy. I appreciate Joanna’s honesty as usual. This book is not meant for those who are looking to make a quick buck. Joanna has pooled in all of her six years of experience as an Author Entrepreneur (a term I love) and thirteen years of experience as an IT Consultant into the writing of this book. This in itself makes the book worth reading for any author, self-published or traditionally published, new or experienced. Some of the salient features of the book are: Whether writing a book is a good business model in itself: Joanna has come up with tests to determine whether an idea can be a good implementable business model that also makes profits. She comes to the conclusion that writing a book is good business and I agree with her. However, you can use her test to reach your own conclusion. Is it a good idea to start a company? You don’t really need to. But if you want to, Joanna discusses the various benefits of starting your own company. Various business models that authors follow: Some authors supplement their writing career with selling courses, speaking assignments, editing services or even teaching how to write. Others simply keep on writing more books and in the long run hope to earn a full time income through their books only. This discussion can help you in identifying and clarifying which business model you should like to follow. Working with editors, cover designers, translators and publishers Should you hire a virtual assistant? Joanna talks about the pros and cons of keeping a virtual assistant. Being a self-published author for over a year and with seven books under my belt, I am still struggling with this issue myself. However, her experience has cleared my thoughts. Your customers: She asks you to make a note of your typical reader and where they hang out. A hint is that your typical reader is very likely to be like you. Sales and distributions: She discusses many options like selling through distributors like Createspace, Amazon, Kobo and Smashwords versus selling directly through your blog. What Joanna says about traditional publishers is very important: Most authors crave for a traditional publishing deal but Joanna warns you to be careful in giving away all your rights cheaply to get a traditional publishing deal. I was surprised to find that one of her literary agents had a clause whereby he would earn 15% of anything Joanna publishes including her self-published books (where the agent has no contribution)! Naturally that agent had to be shown the door. On the whole “Business For Authors” is a book that as a wannabe author you may take months to digest. I only wish that while Joanna had some good words for e-marketing sites like Bookbub.com, she could have offered advice on a lot of other competing sites which are either free or not so exorbitantly priced as Bookbub. Similarly I’d have loved her views on the FREE book translation site Babelcube, which she just doesn’t mention. Still, this is a gem of a book which I highly recommend to any Author who is looking to make a career out of writing through either self-publishing or traditional publishing.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Margarita Morris

    I've long been a big fan of Joanna Penn's blog thecreativepenn.com and her podcast, so I was interested to read her book Business for Authors, hoping it would provide an in-depth look at running a business as an author. I'm pleased to say that it did precisely that. This is a book for people who want to take their indie author careers seriously, who see themselves as much business people as artists. Joanna uses terms such as author-entrepreneur and business model throughout. This is not a book ab I've long been a big fan of Joanna Penn's blog thecreativepenn.com and her podcast, so I was interested to read her book Business for Authors, hoping it would provide an in-depth look at running a business as an author. I'm pleased to say that it did precisely that. This is a book for people who want to take their indie author careers seriously, who see themselves as much business people as artists. Joanna uses terms such as author-entrepreneur and business model throughout. This is not a book about how to self-publish, although there are links to resources if you are looking for guidance in this area. In fact, the book is packed with links to other books and websites on almost every topic, so it acts as a useful reference guide as well as an informative book in its own right. Joanna starts by describing the arc of a typical author-entrepreneur and poses some searching questions about what we want from our lives and our definitions of success. Answering these questions honestly means that we can build our businesses on a firm foundation in accordance with our own personal values. There is a lot to think about here. One of her key messages is that writing is a scalable business. You write a manuscript once and then sell it many times in different formats, languages and territories. Grasping this fact and then putting steps in place to exploit your rights means that you are well on the way to becoming an author-entrepreneur. As Joanna points out, there are different business models authors can follow. For example, the non-fiction model where most money is made from product sales, speaking, consulting services and affiliate income; the high-volume book release model and the sporadic model which combines writing with teaching, speaking and maybe freelance writing. Although many authors are still attracted to the kudos of traditional publishing deals, she warns the reader about potentially harmful clauses in contracts and recommends books by other people for more detailed information. She's not saying don't sign a traditional deal, but she is saying be aware of what you are getting yourself into. Joanna discusses the value of production plans, something which 99% of authors don't have. This is definitely something worth thinking about because I'm sure it's key to improved productivity. And whilst we all want to produce quality work, quantity does matter in this game. The more books you have the more chance you have of being noticed. As she says, you're unlikely to make a living off the back of only one or two books. This book will help you think about your personal long-term goals and what your strategy is. Joanna defines strategy as "what you do to achieve your goals as well as what you won't do." She talks about the value of planning your writing schedule and other activities, such as marketing. This is sound advice and much better than just stumbling along from month to month with no clear idea of what your deliverables are. There's a lot of advanced stuff in this book which you may feel is not for you, or at least not yet, but it's worth knowing about it for consideration at a later date. The section on Employees, Suppliers and Contractors lists a host of different people that you might engage to help you run your business. Or you might just stick with an editor and a cover designer. But know that if you want to take things to the next level you can hire translators, audio narrators, bookkeepers, accountants and virtual assistants. Business for Authors is a broad-ranging book but that does mean that some topics, like audiobook production, are only touched on at a high level. There's a good section on marketing, but even here Joanna points the reader towards her other book How to Market a Book for more detail, although personally I found the coverage in this book to be perfectly good. What the book does well is guide you in the right direction to do your own further research. For example, the section on direct selling is full of suggestions and links for sites and services that you might consider using. Although Joanna herself appears not to be selling direct at the moment, probably due to changes in EU laws on VAT which she does not discuss. Joanna includes much of her own personal story in the book, talking about her background, how she got into blogging and writing, and how and why she maintains two author brands. None of this will be new to readers of her blog or listeners to her podcast, but it does help to personalise the book and makes for a more inspiring read than if it were just dry text-book speak. I found the section on Financials refreshing. This is a topic that so rarely gets a mention, but Joanna tackles it head on. If we want to write for a living then we need to be more clued up about costs, revenue and profit margins. I'm pretty good at logging things like Scrivener and book promotions as tax-deductible expenses, but how many of us regard our laptops as an asset, the value of which depreciates over time? Or think to include the cost of research (books and exhibitions, for example) as an expense to be accounted for? Another key takeaway from this section is that we need to invest in ourselves: our education and ongoing personal development. There is excellent advice here on invoicing, managing cash flow and reporting. Joanna points out that you really should complete a W8-BEN form to ensure that US retailers do not withhold 30% of your income and she recommends a blog article on this subject by Karen Inglis. My own experience of dealing with US tax authorities (I'm British by the way) is that it makes you want to go and lie down in a darkened room for the rest of the year. The UK Inland Revenue has wonderfully simple forms, but American tax forms will make you go grey overnight. For a humorous take on this subject which will restore your sanity, read Bill Bryson's essay Your Tax Form Explained in his book Notes From a Big Country. Anyway, I digress. Good time management is key to getting things done. Joanna argues that there are two types of time: creative time and down time. Now, I agree there's usually a time in the day when we are at our creative best. But then she goes on to describe down time as "when you're mentally tired and can't necessarily create something new." So far, so good. But, she recommends using this time for marketing, networking and learning activities. Whoa! Personally I would find this almost impossible. To do any of those things I still need to be mentally active and in work mode. I may be quibbling over terminology here but for me "down time" is when I'm so tired that all I want to do is watch the next episode of the current favourite box set. I would say I have creative time (researching, writing, revising), admin time (blogging, marketing, promotions etc.), family time (e.g. meal times and going for walks), personal time (exercising, reading, choir practice), domestic time (chores and cooking) and down time (someone pass the remote please...) But then again, maybe this is why Joanna has published 15 books and I've only published 2 so far ;). But I completely agree with her when she says, "Essentially, you have to decide on your goals and take control of your life and your time." Take heed, people! On the subject of developing professional habits Joanna turns to her hero Steven Pressfield and quotes from his books Turning Pro and The War of Art. For example, "Distractions and displacement activities are the things that keep us as amateurs" and "Turning pro is a decision we make every day." She also references Dean Wesley Smith who publicly shares his word count every day. It's a short section of the book, but includes some inspirational gems. Joanna recommends accountability to keep you focused and on track. She describes how she has monthly meetings with other business/author friends in which both parties discuss their achievements of the previous month and goals for the coming months. This is good advice if you can find someone at the right level (i.e. at a similar stage to yourself) to talk to. I suspect this is one of the habits she has brought with her from her time as a consultant. When I worked in computing I had weekly meetings with my manager and you had to have something positive to report. There's a short but important section in the book on looking after yourself, both physically and mentally. Joanna is right that when you work for yourself the dividing line between work and life gets blurred. As she keeps saying, this is a long-term game and we need to keep ourselves healthy in order to keep going. There's huge amount of bonus material in the book, including downloadable worksheets and templates. The Appendices account for about 25% of the book and there is some really good stuff here. There's a section entitled "Questions to help you proceed" in which she poses dozens of pertinent questions relating to each of the chapters in the book. Working through these questions will ensure the reader comes away with a deeper understanding of their current situation and some actionable goals that they can implement. A comprehensive bibliography offers suggestions for further reading. Joanna also describes all the tools that she uses for her work. There are transcriptions of two podcasts with Jane Friedman and Elizabeth Hyde-Stevens and a Q&A with her editor, Jen Blood. Overall I think this is a fantastic book that offers great value and is one that I shall definitely return to for guidance and inspiration.

  4. 5 out of 5

    R.S. McCoy

    I would put this book down as a must-read for anyone who is really serious about a career as a self-pubbed author. My issue with most books like this is that they are geared toward beginners, and while those books definitely have a place in the market, I've been doing this too long to really find any value there. Thankfully, that was not at all an issue with Business for Authors. Every bit of info was for people who have been writing a while, have some works published, and are ready to turn a ho I would put this book down as a must-read for anyone who is really serious about a career as a self-pubbed author. My issue with most books like this is that they are geared toward beginners, and while those books definitely have a place in the market, I've been doing this too long to really find any value there. Thankfully, that was not at all an issue with Business for Authors. Every bit of info was for people who have been writing a while, have some works published, and are ready to turn a hobby into a career. The information was really in-depth and applicable to where I am and where I'm looking to go. I also really enjoyed the resources and the long list of recommended reads, some of which I've read but most I haven't. All in all, a relatively easy and short read (about 200 pages) that is stuffed full with great info and useful advice. I know I'll look back and mark this as one that really changed things for me and my career.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Colin Garrow

    Like many indie authors, I soon discovered Joanna Penn. Her podcasts, books, videos and courses are packed with useful advice and tips and this book is no different. Using her own experiences of good and not-so-good choices on the path to author success, Ms Penn not only has a lot of essential advice on running a business as an author, but is able to illustrate the effects of her own decisions from her experience, rather than simply dishing up generic information. With its subtitle ‘How to be an Like many indie authors, I soon discovered Joanna Penn. Her podcasts, books, videos and courses are packed with useful advice and tips and this book is no different. Using her own experiences of good and not-so-good choices on the path to author success, Ms Penn not only has a lot of essential advice on running a business as an author, but is able to illustrate the effects of her own decisions from her experience, rather than simply dishing up generic information. With its subtitle ‘How to be an Author Entrepreneur’ this is the perfect book to help new and established authors through the minefield of keeping on top of all the stuff that gets in the way of writing. I bought both the audio and paperback versions of this as, while listening to Joanna’s voice is very nice, it’s great to have the paperback as a handy reference backup.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Ronel Janse van Vuuren

    There are so many gems in this book – to list them all might be copyright infringement! “Did you create art today?” and other such questions helped me to further define my business and creative goals. This book contains (almost) everything an author (new and experienced) needs to know to run their author business – things like marketing and mindset are separate books. As a long-time reader of Joanna’s work (fiction and non-fiction) I appreciated her candour in how she envisioned and changed her bus There are so many gems in this book – to list them all might be copyright infringement! “Did you create art today?” and other such questions helped me to further define my business and creative goals. This book contains (almost) everything an author (new and experienced) needs to know to run their author business – things like marketing and mindset are separate books. As a long-time reader of Joanna’s work (fiction and non-fiction) I appreciated her candour in how she envisioned and changed her business goals over time. There are loads of extra resources at the end and many book recommendations to help one become a successful authorpreneur. A must-have on every Indie author’s bookshelf.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Heather Nelson

    Incredibly informational and dense! Covers near every aspect of the BUSINESS side of authorship and gives a wealth of additional resources you can dive down the rabbit-hole with. None of the topics covered are terribly deep, but the wide value of information allows for a great starting point in every way. That said, it’s beautifully laid out and organized and the information, though abundant, is easily understood and of tangible value. If you wish to move from hobby writing to Career Author-premie Incredibly informational and dense! Covers near every aspect of the BUSINESS side of authorship and gives a wealth of additional resources you can dive down the rabbit-hole with. None of the topics covered are terribly deep, but the wide value of information allows for a great starting point in every way. That said, it’s beautifully laid out and organized and the information, though abundant, is easily understood and of tangible value. If you wish to move from hobby writing to Career Author-premier....you need a copy of this book!

  8. 4 out of 5

    Helen Sedwick

    If you are serious about quitting your day job and becoming a full-time writer, read this book. Joanna Penn covers both the mind set and the workaday steps needed for moving from part-time writer to full-time author-entrepreneur. She knows; she did it herself. Too many writers believe they can’t deal with the business side of writing. This book demystifies the process by explaining how to build a “scalable” business model, one that starts small but can accommodate growth. The transition to full-t If you are serious about quitting your day job and becoming a full-time writer, read this book. Joanna Penn covers both the mind set and the workaday steps needed for moving from part-time writer to full-time author-entrepreneur. She knows; she did it herself. Too many writers believe they can’t deal with the business side of writing. This book demystifies the process by explaining how to build a “scalable” business model, one that starts small but can accommodate growth. The transition to full-time author is not about writing the great American or British novel (although that certainly helps); it’s about focusing your efforts and writing a lot. Just like her blog, Penn’s tone is friendly, intelligent and practical. I learned a lot from reading this book.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Gillian Kevern

    4.5 A good overview of what you need to know about the business side of writing. Where Joanna only provides an interview, she gives you an idea of where to go to do the research you need to. What made this book so invaluable to me was the workbook that is included for free -- there is a link to the download within the book. Working through those questions really helped identify the aspects I've got a good handle on and where I need to put in more work. 4.5 A good overview of what you need to know about the business side of writing. Where Joanna only provides an interview, she gives you an idea of where to go to do the research you need to. What made this book so invaluable to me was the workbook that is included for free -- there is a link to the download within the book. Working through those questions really helped identify the aspects I've got a good handle on and where I need to put in more work.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Winter Bayne

    She doesn't get into details as it is nearly impossible to do, but she has some great suggestions and advice. She also discusses how we need to change our mindset. Anyone who is considering turning writing in a "job" should give this a read. She doesn't get into details as it is nearly impossible to do, but she has some great suggestions and advice. She also discusses how we need to change our mindset. Anyone who is considering turning writing in a "job" should give this a read.

  11. 5 out of 5

    LLL Reads

    This is a very informative book. No nonsense, just the most important topics. Insightful and useful, filled with good practical plans of action for the indie author. If you are a author entrepreneur or aspire to be one, this book is a must read.

  12. 5 out of 5

    S.L. Beaumont

    A very useful book for authors that I will delve into again. Thanks Joanna for sharing your hard earned knowledge.

  13. 5 out of 5

    M.G. Camacho

    Part 1: From The Book Cover Are you ready to take the next step in your author journey? Art for the sake of art is important. Writing for the love of it, or to create something beautiful on the page, is absolutely worthwhile and critical to expand the sum of human expression. But I’m not here to talk about creativity or the craft of writing in this book. 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 Part 1: From The Book Cover Are you ready to take the next step in your author journey? Art for the sake of art is important. Writing for the love of it, or to create something beautiful on the page, is absolutely worthwhile and critical to expand the sum of human expression. But I’m not here to talk about creativity or the craft of writing in this book. 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 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've 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's my passion and my joy but also because it's a viable business in this age of global and digital opportunity. In the book, you will learn: ** Part 1: From Author To Entrepreneur The arc of the author’s journey, definition of an author-entrepreneur, deciding on your definition of success. 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 them, 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. Your role as author and what you’re committing to, 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 Key overarching marketing concepts. Book-based marketing 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. ** 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 Developing your strategy and business plan. Managing your time and developing professional habits. The long term view and the process for becoming a full-time author. 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 including a workbook and business plan template. Part 2: Recommendations This quote resonated something deep within my soul when I read the line, "Make active decisions that will guide your journey" because I have always wanted to be a writer and with that in mind, after graduating with a Bachelor's degree in Accounting, I continued to write for myself, honing my writing skills and attending writing workshops. Even though those activities are geared towards writing, I did not think of it as part of investing in myself to become an authorpreneur. This book made me realize I have to be aware of every decision I make and it better be moving towards my goal of writing full time. The quote "...think about your time as precious every time you sit down to work" is one of the reasons why I hired a cleaning person in order to free up two to four hours of my weekend to do more important things than housework like book marketing, developing my author platform, or writing & research. I have also started to write down my schedule so I can block out my writing times and hopefully stick to it. Another very useful quote from the book is "... many professional authors are now creating production plans for their own writing business... If writing is your business, and you want to take it to the next level, you need to know what your production plan is" and I completely agree. How else can you be held accountable for something if you don't have a set schedule and a carefully thought out production plan? I am currently in the process of thinking this through because with a day job, it is a bit more tricky to identify certain expectations as to book completion rates much less first draft completion rates. Reading this book made me realize that if I am truly serious about taking my writing to the next level, I should do and think this way and be strict about it. "Being a professional writer means treating it like a job and putting in the hours... the job of being a writer is just like being a trucker. Don't make excuses about not feeling like it today. You just get in your truck and drive." Lately, my excuse is having to share a computer with my spouse. I do have an iPad and I have all the apps that I have previously used to produce my book, Under The Moon. I have the Notability App to hold all of my research as well as all of my Story Ideas and basic outlines. I also have the Pages App to write my first drafts with and I have the Adobe Reader App to read PDF exports of my first drafts to edit the manuscript with. I also have a Solar Wireless Keyboard by Logitech to use when I am at home (I trained myself to be able to touch type using the on-screen keyboard of my iPad when on the go like during lunch breaks at work). So, no more excuses and I have to be more strict with myself on this rule. Having an accounting background, this quote is really important for any business, "... decide on your chart of accounts early so that your finances are entered into the right categories by you or by your bookkeeper from the start... Make sure to itemize as much as possible in the invoice so there are no queries... Attach original receipts and keep photocopies if they are reimbursing you." This quote made me think of whether or not to expense outright my upcoming purchase of a computer mainly because I plan to keep whatever computer I buy for at least 5 years and computers, like any equipment, they depreciate and they may or may not have any resale value at the 5-year mark and thus it is more conservative to treat the computer as an asset (equipment) to be depreciated over 5 years where the depreciation per year or month is treated as an expense. So for now, I am thinking my chart of accounts will include Equipment (iPad Air + Logitech Solar Keyboard + whatever computer I buy), Depreciation Expense, Research & Development Expense (fees I paid for workshops, writing classes, writing conferences, writing retreats, writing books, reference books), Sales, Sales Discounts, etc. I completely agree that "... Writing, Getting the work out to customers — whether that's through traditional publishing or self-publishing, and Finding and connecting with readers" are a few major things that will lead to a successful writing career. "Choose a path and keep stepping in the same direction and you will get a long way after few years. The problem comes if you keep changing direction so you have to keep starting all over again" and this statement applies to writing in multiple genres when you don't even have a solid audience built up yet. I realized early on that my most creative times are between 10am to 9pm. But having a full-time day job occupies most of that time frame. "So decide on a time and then make sure that you actually use that time to create something new in the world" was one of my deciding factors to write out what my week looks like to help me plan and block out chunks of time dedicated to writing and marketing. It will definitely change once I've completed my next book because my writing time will then be spent on editing and revisions and marketing efforts. And this quote really drives the point home: "... writing is a lifelong career, and so is building your personal brand and platform online. Where do you want to be in five years' time? How will you get there if you don't make the time?" And for those who are like me who are prone to self-doubt, this quote really helped put things in perspective for me: "Pro writers write, and keep writing over time. The successful pro writers, like Pressfield, have multiple books that they continue to produce, even when previous book sales didn't perform as they would have liked. Professionals aren't put off by short-term disappointment. They produce a body of work over time, and keep creating. They don't believe that one book is a special snowflake and give up when it doesn't hit the mainstream. They know that each page is a development in a journey. The habit is creating every day.... When we turn pro, we now structure our hours not to flee from fear but to confront it and overcome it. We plan our activities in order to accomplish an aim. And we bring our will to bear so that we stick to this resolution." Another helpful trick is this: "Write down what you know of your ebbs and flows, your doubts and fears and jealousies. We all have them, and they won't go away, but we just need to be aware and not let them derail us for too long." I have been following Joanna Penn's blog, podcast and videocasts for a while now and this book, Business For Authors is a really helpful guide that comes with a very comprehensive worksheet for every writer who wants to step up their writing careers. It also comes with a list of resources and tools that she uses for her author business and a business plan template that you can customize to fit your writing business needs. The book itself is very well-written and well-edited, inspiring and helps writers stay organized. I definitely learned a lot and therefore, I highly recommend this book.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Nora Phoenix

    (My four star rating is for new authors. For more experienced authors, it's probably more a three star) I came across a printed version of Business for Authors in my public library, and I recognized the author from her well-known writers blog The Creative Penn. I didn’t even read the blurb, but picked it up, since the topic is of interest to me as a self-published author. To put it bluntly: the blurb sucks, because it shows little of what the book is about and is more a bio than a blurb, but the b (My four star rating is for new authors. For more experienced authors, it's probably more a three star) I came across a printed version of Business for Authors in my public library, and I recognized the author from her well-known writers blog The Creative Penn. I didn’t even read the blurb, but picked it up, since the topic is of interest to me as a self-published author. To put it bluntly: the blurb sucks, because it shows little of what the book is about and is more a bio than a blurb, but the book is a lot of practical, thankfully. In nine chapters, she covers crucial aspects of being a self-published author, which means you’re an author-entrepreneur. For newbie authors especially, this book contains a wealth of information on various topics, like business models for authors, distribution channels, working with editors and other contractors, business plans, etc. Mind you, this is not a book on how to self-publish. It’s a book on making the financial and business side of self-publishing work for you. The author shows how to move beyond writing as a hobby, and making a (part time) income with it. This is not an in-depth guide, but rather a general overview of things a starting self-published author would need to know. On various occasions, the author refers to other books or articles for more in-depth info. The chapter on marketing, for example, is by no means a how-to on marketing your books or yourself. It’s more of an introduction for newbies. One thing to keep in mind is that the author is British. This is by no means a bad thing, don’t get me wrong, but it does mean that some of the information does not apply to those outside the UK. It also means that you’ll have to look elsewhere for more specific info on being an author-entrepreneur in your country, like the US. The question on whether to create an LLC is an important question in the US, for instance, but this book doesn’t really give you enough to decide (again, this is completely logical, but it’s something to keep in mind). All in all I found this a practical guide most suited for those who have just started their self-publication author journey.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Marie Weiler

    This book is an excellent resource for indie authors, or any entrepreneur really, who are just starting out. Quite often throughout the following pages, Penn asks the reader questions which force them to go deeper into thought. Questions such as, "Where do I want myself to be in five years time?" and "What is my definition of success?". What's more, she then proceeds to give examples of the paths she has taken throughout her indie career, making the reader aware of the many facets involved with This book is an excellent resource for indie authors, or any entrepreneur really, who are just starting out. Quite often throughout the following pages, Penn asks the reader questions which force them to go deeper into thought. Questions such as, "Where do I want myself to be in five years time?" and "What is my definition of success?". What's more, she then proceeds to give examples of the paths she has taken throughout her indie career, making the reader aware of the many facets involved with running your own business, and how to avoid the mistakes others, or she herself, have made. Everything from different types of business models and contracts to marketing and managing finances were mentioned within this book, and yet, not once did the author make me yawn. It's most likely the personable writing style she has which makes the most mundane topics interesting to read about. But then again, I believe a desire to learn business in the first place will definitely cause an increased attention-span to develop in those who sift through these pages. On a final note, there are even a wide assortment of helpful resources included in the appendices of the book to encourage further learning, which, from reading Audio for Authors, is most likely characteristic of all her non-fiction works. So if you're curious about starting your own business, then maybe consider checking this book out.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Julie Capell

    Excellent overview of the ins and outs of running your own business as a self-published author. Penn uses examples from her own experience as well as knowledge gained through research, to lay out the nitty gritty of the business side of things. Some of it was very familiar to me, since I have been running my own grantwriting business for many years. But many things particular to the publishing industry were new to me. I especially appreciated the chapters on multiple income streams for authors, Excellent overview of the ins and outs of running your own business as a self-published author. Penn uses examples from her own experience as well as knowledge gained through research, to lay out the nitty gritty of the business side of things. Some of it was very familiar to me, since I have been running my own grantwriting business for many years. But many things particular to the publishing industry were new to me. I especially appreciated the chapters on multiple income streams for authors, working with other authors, assembling a team of people to help you, translating your work, and costs of the author business. I highlighted so many passages with the note "add to 'to do' list" that I will be busy for the next several months tackling it all. I also appreciated that the book contains links to the author's website, where resource lists are kept up-to-date in this quick-changing field. Have bookmarked her site and am already reading another of her books to get more info. Highly recommended for new authors like myself. I also highly recommend her podcast "The Creative Penn Podcast."

  17. 4 out of 5

    Zoe Langley-Wathen

    Listening to the audio version of this book has been a useful insight into the possible steps needed to break out of the day job. I'm not talking routine and discipline here, although such mindsets are touched upon by the author. I'm referring more to the requirements of successful admin, handling of finances, accounting and when to know the time is right to make the leap into author-entrepreneurship . I resonated with Joanna's decisions to opt for multiple streams of income and the frequent rem Listening to the audio version of this book has been a useful insight into the possible steps needed to break out of the day job. I'm not talking routine and discipline here, although such mindsets are touched upon by the author. I'm referring more to the requirements of successful admin, handling of finances, accounting and when to know the time is right to make the leap into author-entrepreneurship . I resonated with Joanna's decisions to opt for multiple streams of income and the frequent reminders to stay focused, with great advice as to how to do just that! As a creative, I know I can be guilty of flitting from task to task of I don't set myself a daily plan. As a novice author with no business acumen (yet), this book was a perfect starting point. I can imagine I'll be buying the paperback at some point, to enable me to scribble and annotate throughout. As a boat-dweller I have little room for my books however, so in the meantime, I may just be listening again! Thank you Joanna.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Colin Conway

    This review is for the audio version of BUSINESS FOR AUTHORS written and read by JoAnna Penn. I love listening to audio books while on my daily walks. I find those books that are well-organized by subject matter are the best to listen to as my attention can easily stay focused. Penn’s book was organized exceptionally well. I’m a little weary when authors read their own audio books as they tend to stray from the written text and occasionally ramble on. Penn does none of this. She sticks to the scri This review is for the audio version of BUSINESS FOR AUTHORS written and read by JoAnna Penn. I love listening to audio books while on my daily walks. I find those books that are well-organized by subject matter are the best to listen to as my attention can easily stay focused. Penn’s book was organized exceptionally well. I’m a little weary when authors read their own audio books as they tend to stray from the written text and occasionally ramble on. Penn does none of this. She sticks to the script and reads in a very concise manner while her tone and rhythm were perfect. There’s a ton of fantastic information in this book. Even though it’s geared more for the beginning writer, I was able to glean several useful nuggets from the book that I will add into my routine. Highly recommend.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Bridgina Molloy

    This is an excellent book if you want to make self publishing your books, your business, do not purchase it if you are looking for writing tips and tricks, it doesn't have any, but if you want to know about how to set yourself up as a business, and how to diversify your product, then this is most definitely the book for you. There are loads of handy little nuggets of business information, such as writing a small business plan, also there is info on making a projection chart using a calendar (can This is an excellent book if you want to make self publishing your books, your business, do not purchase it if you are looking for writing tips and tricks, it doesn't have any, but if you want to know about how to set yourself up as a business, and how to diversify your product, then this is most definitely the book for you. There are loads of handy little nuggets of business information, such as writing a small business plan, also there is info on making a projection chart using a calendar (can be monthly or yearly), plus info on some apps and programs that she uses in her own business. I really enjoyed reading this book, and I'm in the process of using some of the stuff that I learned from it in my own life / writing business. I do recommend it, even if some of the downloads advertised in the book are no longer on her website.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Mark McKerracher

    Joanna Penn is an inspiration and fount of enthusiasm for "indie authors", and her trademark upbeat style makes this book very readable. It's essentially a guide to the bits about being a professional author that aren't writing. As the subtitle makes clear, this is aimed at writers who aren't (or aren't exclusively) signed up with a publisher - though there are some tips about contracts and agents that might be applicable to both camps. It's not a technical manual, and is necessarily a bit gener Joanna Penn is an inspiration and fount of enthusiasm for "indie authors", and her trademark upbeat style makes this book very readable. It's essentially a guide to the bits about being a professional author that aren't writing. As the subtitle makes clear, this is aimed at writers who aren't (or aren't exclusively) signed up with a publisher - though there are some tips about contracts and agents that might be applicable to both camps. It's not a technical manual, and is necessarily a bit generic as it's written for an international audience, and therefore can't delve into a particular country's tax or copyright laws. Besides all the useful hints and tips, the biggest benefit for me was the "motivational reading" sensation - I found Penn's enthusiasm for being a professional author-entrepreneur rubbing off on me.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Rhoda Baxter

    I picked this up because I had no idea what I didn't know about running a business. I've conducted my author career on a slightly random 'do it as I need it' basis and I thought it would be nice to learn how come up with a plan. This is a very useful guide. It talks through what you need to think about, the pros and cons of different avenues and arms you with enough information to make decisions. The style is clear and informative, without coming across as evangelical about self publishing or do I picked this up because I had no idea what I didn't know about running a business. I've conducted my author career on a slightly random 'do it as I need it' basis and I thought it would be nice to learn how come up with a plan. This is a very useful guide. It talks through what you need to think about, the pros and cons of different avenues and arms you with enough information to make decisions. The style is clear and informative, without coming across as evangelical about self publishing or dogmatic. I'm not ready for a lot of the stuff in here yet, but it's good to know that the advice is there for when I need it. I'd recommend this book to anyone who wants to make the transition from writing as a passtime to writing as a business.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Diane Holcomb

    A compact book that packs a lot of useful information between the covers. Who are your customers? Where do they hang out so you can market to them? How do you market your work? Will you keep your day job or make the plunge to writing full-time? And how about handling those finances? Especially valuable: what to look out for when signing a contract with an agent or publisher. This is a smart book to have on hand if you're serious about pursuing a career as a fiction or non-fiction writer. You'll A compact book that packs a lot of useful information between the covers. Who are your customers? Where do they hang out so you can market to them? How do you market your work? Will you keep your day job or make the plunge to writing full-time? And how about handling those finances? Especially valuable: what to look out for when signing a contract with an agent or publisher. This is a smart book to have on hand if you're serious about pursuing a career as a fiction or non-fiction writer. You'll refer to it, and the links the author provides, time and again.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Jill

    I won this book in a giveaway. I'm close to retirement when I hope I can finally finish at least one of the books in my head. The first advice in the book is to FINISH WRITING! I will take that to heart. I did continue to read the book to get an idea about the work required after the writing is done. Lots of steps but this guide seemed to break it down into very do-able chunks with good advice and lots of how-tos. I look forward to finishing my first book and using this book for the business sid I won this book in a giveaway. I'm close to retirement when I hope I can finally finish at least one of the books in my head. The first advice in the book is to FINISH WRITING! I will take that to heart. I did continue to read the book to get an idea about the work required after the writing is done. Lots of steps but this guide seemed to break it down into very do-able chunks with good advice and lots of how-tos. I look forward to finishing my first book and using this book for the business side of being an author.

  24. 4 out of 5

    R.J. Amos

    Joanna Penn doesn't disappoint. Some very searching questions that I will have to return to and some excellent advice about setting up an author-entrepreneur business. It's everything I would expect after listening to The Creative Penn podcast but it's wonderful to have a source of written advice as well. I really liked the fact that the questions from throughout the book are collected at the end in an appendix so that I can now go through them and plan, create, and strategise my own author busin Joanna Penn doesn't disappoint. Some very searching questions that I will have to return to and some excellent advice about setting up an author-entrepreneur business. It's everything I would expect after listening to The Creative Penn podcast but it's wonderful to have a source of written advice as well. I really liked the fact that the questions from throughout the book are collected at the end in an appendix so that I can now go through them and plan, create, and strategise my own author business.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Jonas Lee

    Having a slump in motivation, purpose and goals led me to wondering how I can see past those faults to what it is that I truly want. With a few suggestions pointing me to either her blog, her podcast or this book, I gave the audiobook a shot. Not only is she a relaxing narrator, but Penn sheds light on almost every aspect to starting to take yourself as an author seriously and ways to maintain your sanity and creativity.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Susan Jane Anderson

    Everything you need to know to go indie--at least on the left-brain side of things. Taxes, bookkeeping, legal considerations (although Penn makes it clear her advice is not a substitute for that of a lawyer.) This is the place to go if you've decided to choose yourself and publish as an indie. Love Joanna Penn. Her willingness to share information she's had to learn the hard way herself makes her a real gem to the rest of us. Bravo! Everything you need to know to go indie--at least on the left-brain side of things. Taxes, bookkeeping, legal considerations (although Penn makes it clear her advice is not a substitute for that of a lawyer.) This is the place to go if you've decided to choose yourself and publish as an indie. Love Joanna Penn. Her willingness to share information she's had to learn the hard way herself makes her a real gem to the rest of us. Bravo!

  27. 4 out of 5

    Debbie Johansson

    This book is a great guide for writers starting their indie author journey, and covers everything from business plans and marketing to finances and accounting. It took me a while to get through this book, only because I had the audio version and wanted to make notes along the way (and there are many). Joanna did the audio herself, and I enjoyed listening to her. Her enthusiasm shines through. Highly recommended.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Billie Daddario

    This is an awesome book for authors who are just starting out. Full of information on basic business advice that I never would have thought of. I never would have thought to have an agency handle the rights to my foreign language books Joanna Penn offers that advice and explains how she accomplished that. She's brilliant. I also liked her advice for dealing with my books in my estate planning. and dealing with just everything. I love Jo Anna Penn's advice. Billie This is an awesome book for authors who are just starting out. Full of information on basic business advice that I never would have thought of. I never would have thought to have an agency handle the rights to my foreign language books Joanna Penn offers that advice and explains how she accomplished that. She's brilliant. I also liked her advice for dealing with my books in my estate planning. and dealing with just everything. I love Jo Anna Penn's advice. Billie

  29. 5 out of 5

    Trynda E. Adair

    A great non-fiction book for authors looking to be more serious about thier author buisness. I found it very made me want to get to work organizing what isnt working and perfect what is working. would recommend for Independent Authors looking to take thier publishing and buisness skills to a professional level.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Lauren

    A really fantastic read for writers who want to learn the nuts and bolts of how to make (and maintain) the transition into being a full-time author-entrepreneur. Joanna Penn's podcast also goes over these topics individually in great detail, but the book consolidates all of those resources into a one-stop shop of information. A really fantastic read for writers who want to learn the nuts and bolts of how to make (and maintain) the transition into being a full-time author-entrepreneur. Joanna Penn's podcast also goes over these topics individually in great detail, but the book consolidates all of those resources into a one-stop shop of information.

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