Perspective and Your Writing Career

Mary Keeley

Blogger: Mary Keeley

It was inevitable that the word author would evolve to authorpreneur as your publishing responsibilities have doubled in this industry. You can view this development as either a cross to bear or an opportunity for added control of your chance to be published. And then published again. Your perspective plays a major role in managing your writing career.

Several years ago author Kris Tualla defined an “Authorpreneur” as an author who creates a written product, participates in creating their own brand, and actively promotes that brand through a variety of outlets.” I think the term was coined with self- or indie-pub authors in mind, but it’s just as true for today’s traditionally published authors.

That’s why we Books & Such agents consider it part of our job to help clients keep up with the variety of outlets and trends. But so many projections on topics from e-book usage, subscription services, direct-to-consumer sales, brand building, new marketing ideas, and so on, can send my brain to overload. I thought how overwhelmed authors must feel as you try to manage the business side while also writing your next marketable book. It can feel burdensome.

This is when your positive perspective makes all the difference.

The writing journey takes endurance, but there are things you can do to lighten your load, which helps a positive mindset.

Use the Internet and Social Media Efficiently.

These tools of your generation offer you the means to manage your own career. What would you do without the Internet for doing research and for housing your globally available website where readers can find you? I know, social media can become a time suck—cross to bear?—unless you discipline yourself with a daily time limit and use timesaving tools.

Fortunately, technology entrepreneurs saw an opportunity to cash in on a business need. Thanks to them you have a variety of social media management tools to help you save time and organize your activity. Hootsuite is the best known, but there also are newer tools such as SocialPilot, Sprout24, and Agorapulse. Google them to learn more about each one.

It’s tempting to complain about all that authors are responsible for in today’s publishing world. After all, authors in the previous generation didn’t have to handle the business side of publishing. All they had to do was write. Have you heard this from authors? Felt it yourself?

Look at it this way, however. A generation ago the success of an author’s marketing and promotion lay solely in the hands of the publisher’s efforts or shortcomings. The tools of this generation enable you to market and promote your brand and books from your desk or smartphone. You have more power and capability to manage the marketing and promotion of your books and your relationship with your readers.

Develop and Use Good Business Skills Consistently.

Like it or not, authors must develop business skills in order to market and promote your books effectively. You need these skills to promote yourself to agents and editors, because they have to know you can function well in business settings and in front of book buyers. Read business books for authors such as:

  • The Better Business Book, by Authors Unite and Tyler Wagner
  • How Successful People Think, by John Maxwell
  • 5-Minute Marketing for Authors, by Barb Asselin
  • The Business of Writing for Children, by Aaron Shepard
  • Book Marketing Is Dead, by Derek Murphy

The time is well spent because the skills you learn will enable your can-do perspective.

If you have followed the Books & Such blog for long, you already know most of this. The focus today is on guarding your positive perspective as you navigate your authorpreneur life. Because it just might become the tipping point in your career someday.

When you receive bad news, go ahead and have a day of private disappointment and grieving, whatever that entails. You’re human and it’s healthy to get it out of your system. But wake up the next day reminding yourself of your blessings and provisions, determined to begin afresh. That’s the winning perspective.

How do you see yourself as an authorpreneur? Does your perspective bounce around depending on the bad news or good news you receive? Can you recommend additional tools that help to make your work more efficient?

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32 Responses

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  1. Carol Ashby says:

    I’d say the little X that lets you close a tab in your browser is one of the most effective tools for increasing productivity. Facebook is a necessary tool and a lot of fun, but it can be a real time sink if you look at it right after every ping and get lured into scrolling down to look at everything new. I close Facebook except during my planned Facebook time.
    *God called me into writing fiction, and that means He’s called me to embrace whatever it takes to share the message. Discouraging news doesn’t change that. Just because something is hard, that’s no excuse for not tackling it. I never wanted to run a small business, but I now have a “suitable for framing” business license for Cerrillo Press. Much of what I have to think about in terms of platform and marketing are the same things I’d have to think about if I had a traditionally published book. Discoverability is everything if a book is going to sell, and that means pouring energy into my history website, blog, and social media.
    *I’ve learned so much here at B&S that has helped me think about writing as a business. Thanks and kudos to y’all for that!

    • “God called me into writing fiction, and that means He’s called me to embrace whatever it takes to share the message” – absolutely, Carol.
      * There are times (not just related to writing) when I try to tell God, “I’ll do this part of your project, but not that part.” But obedience is an all-or-nothing deal. When I take that first step outside my comfort zone, God comes through with the help I need. My step of faith, his power for the journey.

    • Mary Keeley says:

      I love your self-discipline, Carol!

  2. One of the best decisions I made to manage social media effectively was to delete social media apps from my phone. I still access social media to connect with readers each day, but the time is more focused and using HootSuite to manage posting forced me to look at the process with a business perspective. Now, I’m present wherever I am without scrolling news feeds on my phone. That means I’m spending quality time with my family and friends in be moment, and its forced me to value the time I schedule for social media each day to use for business. I love connecting with readers — and do, every day — but my time is valued other places too. Putting this balance in place for work and for family/friends/church has been a lifesaver for me. 🙂

  3. If my day has started out like it means to go on, I’m in a bit of trouble here, but here’s a very quick thought on perspective.
    * Writing is important, but it’s not life and death, and you’re not guaranteed a tomorrow…and neither are those you love.
    * The only moment you have is now. It’s not a seed to be planted for later flowering, it’s a grace unto itself, a gift from Heaven that contains miracles beyond measure courtesy a God whose love for us can never be fully understood but only joyously embraced.
    * You can’t hoard a single moment, you can’t send it into the future for to enjoy at your leisure for it cannot breathe tomorrow’s rarefied air. Do what you must, but do it with a full heart for such and NOW is the Kingdom of Heaven.

  4. How can now be anything but the best time to be a writer?
    * We write to communicate to our own past and future, to reach out to the person we once were, and to the person we hope to become. And every comment, every ‘Like’, every thumbs-up is a message back from those once and future selves, lensed through the hearts of others who may claim kinship with our dreams.

  5. Ahhh, this: “When you receive bad news, go ahead and have a day of private disappointment and grieving, whatever that entails.”
    The key word is ‘private’.

    There is an enormous difference between sharing heart-wrenching information with one’s public, such as an illness or death in the family, job loss, etc, and “oh my word, I cannot stand my editor!”
    I guess it’s the dirty-laundry equivalent of hanging the tablecloth, and hanging your son’s athletic garments.

    As for my authorpreneurial bent, that’s a learning curve that I’m still on. One of my biggest things was how do I behave when I’ve done something worthy of a heap of attention? Because if you’ve met me, you know I might enjoy a wee bit of the limelight. Or, you know…all of it.
    But that’s not always a good professional mind-set.
    So, one observes those higher on the success ladder and takes notes.
    I have a friend here who’s a bit of a business tycoon (they use MRI technology to find oil reserves all over the world) and yet she is the NICEST woman! A fabulous hockey mom, an easy going person, and yet, she deals with the Big Wigs in places like Africa and the Middle East. So, instead of just sitting next to her at hockey, I decided to really study how she treats people. And even as CEO of one of the most innovative companies in Canada, when she’s on social media, she’s just Jill. No flash, no me-me-me. She stays steady amidst a tonne of attention, and only uses her klout when she has to. On a social level, there is only grace and class, and lots of humour. But I imagine that on a business level, there is that, plus a heap of brains, and lots of steel.
    Do I want to be her? Certainly not. But I am taking what I’ve learned and I’ll be ready to apply it to my professional arsenal. Basically, be a lady, but don’t let them underestimate me, and don’t back down.

  6. CJ Myerly says:

    Thank you for sharing those book titles. This is one area I’m really working on. I found myself sucked into social media with not as much return for the time I put in so I’m taking a step back. Still staying active, but limiting my time each day.

    As for perspective, I can see how good or bad news would change your perspective. I recently received good news and it spurred me forward. I would hope that bad news wouldn’t set me back. I like that you said to take a day off if needed to cope with the bad news. I can see how that would be beneficial to gaining new perspective.

  7. Mary, that positive perspective makes the difference in many aspects of life. I see it in my parenting as we’re entering the throes of the teenage years. I’m learning the necessity of keeping a positive perspective with our boys.
    *I’ve definitely seen it in my writing life and journey as well. There are days when I question why I’m doing this. Then I remember that God has given this writing journey to me as a gift. He’s teaching me and challenging me to draw closer to Him in the process. The way I perceive the disappointments and the joys along the way will determine how well I continue walking. Most of the time, my perspective is positive.
    *One other book I would recommend for learning the business side of writing is called, Authorpreneurship, by Sharon Jenkins.

  8. Social Media is absolutely a time-suck if it is viewed and used for anything other than promoting one’s brand. The differentiation may be subtle, but it is ever so important. When I engage in ANY social media (even this blog) I must discipline myself to keep in mind that I am representing my brand. The fact that the necessity of social media frustrates me or discourages me is irrelevant. I attack it like a soldier. Does the soldier relish the battle or the condition within which he fights? No. But his job is to take the hill and whatever he has to do to take the hill is what he has to do to take the hill. As authors, to accomplish our goals, we have to take the hill.
    Soldier on my friends!!

  9. Peggy Booher says:

    Mary,
    Thanks for reminding us of the positive viewpoint. So often I just see the negative. The positive side just doesn’t occur to me.

  10. I love how we can “star” close family and friends on Facebook … that way we never miss their news. It’s impossible to keep up with everyone. Just not enough time for that.

  11. I love this perspective, Mary! When I graduated with a business degree, it felt like a complete 180 when I switched to a writing career. But I’ve found that I use my degree now more than I ever did in Corporate America, and it’s investing in something I’m passionate about. Win-win!

    I’m also married to an entrepreneur and have learned so much from watching my husband start successful businesses. He always says entrepreneurship isn’t for the faint of heart. It involves a lot of risk and hard work, but the rewards far outweigh the challenges. I agree with him wholeheartedly.