Have you published a book yet?
You may have heard over and over again that you need to treat your fiction writing like a business or you’ll never be a successful author, but what you don’t often hear is that doing that could be the very thing holding you back.
If you haven’t had your first book published yet, then I believe focusing on the business of writing is wasting writing time, and we all know what a precious resource time is.
Building a platform, blogging and posting on social media regularly, getting your branding right, having professional headshots taken and more. Not to mention your day job, family commitments, etc. It’s exhausting just thinking about it all!
And when are you supposed to find time to write?
Don’t get me wrong, it is important to take any business seriously, but a creative pursuit isn’t the same as a regular business venture. Writing a novel is a labour of love and there isn’t a totally right or wrong way to do it. There isn’t a checklist of what to include that will automatically result in a best-seller. The whole process is more complicated than that.
I feel that the assumption you can build a creative business the same way you would for other products or services, leads to a lot of heartache. Sure, in the end you hope to have a book that sells and make money from it, but a regular business venture isn’t founded in the hopes and dreams of the creative arts. It is grounded in measurable goals, trackable data and profitable results right from the start.
The truth about an author business
“But people make money out of writing books”, I hear you cry.
They sure do, but by that stage you will usually find one of two things has happened.
1. They are prolific enough to produce books regularly, so as to keep up with algorithms and reader appetites; and/or
2. They have diversified and book sales are only a portion of their income.
Now, I’m not suggesting you don’t need to think about the business of writing, but at the optimum time. There isn’t any point wasting precious writing time doing stuff you don’t enjoy or that takes you away from the whole point this journey, BEFORE YOU ARE EVEN PUBLISHED.
The very best thing you can do for your author career when you first start out is WRITE BOOKS.
Indulge your creativity, spend time fantacising about plot scenarios and chatting to imaginary characters. Read articles, do courses, attend webinars and talk to likeminded souls. Learn the craft by writing your way into it … all the way to the end of your first novel.
By all means, if you enjoy blogging, do it. If you love interacting on Instagram, go for it. But if you have limited time and/or aren’t totally confident in your writing technique yet, take a step back and focus on what’s really important right now: storytelling.
Get published … THEN spend time developing an author platform, a readship, marketing and business plans.
If you haven’t written a publishable novel, then you are better off focusing your efforts on mastering the craft and creating an unputdownable story. After all, it’s the very foundation of your author career. You need to complete this first step so you have something solid to build a business on.
Where to next?
If you’re ready to stop feeling overwhelmed by the publishing industry and figure out what the next best steps for you are, book a complimentary Storytelling Clarity session with Sandy Vaile.
This article was originally published on the Romance Writers of Australia blog on 18/09/21.
Empowering modern fiction writers