Blogger: Mary Keeley
We talk often talk about the craft of writing and aspects of the writing life here on the Books & Such blog. Today, I want to view you as a writing entrepreneur and talk about what that means.
Dictionary.com defines an entrepreneur as “a person who organizes and manages any enterprise, especially a business, usually with considerable initiative and risk.” By that definition authors are in every sense entrepreneurs in today’s publishing world. Have you thought of yourself as an entrepreneur? When I hear that word, the first image that comes to mind is a businessperson who takes a risk to market something new in order to make a nice profit. It’s an exciting thought.
A smart businessperson first gets an education in his chosen field through a college degree and/or on-the-job training plus job experience to give himself the best chance of success in a future venture of his own. When he is confident he has the know-how and big-picture perspective he needs, he’s halfway to being prepared for starting his own business. This is true for authors as well.
There are no shortcuts to gaining necessary knowledge.
Writers committed to a career in publishing need to attend writers conferences to learn about the industry, attend teaching workshops, and invest in a professional critique of their manuscript to identify areas of craft they need to improve. You soak up every book on writing you can find and then practice those techniques draft after draft, manuscript after manuscript. You join a critique group in which authors, hopefully some more advanced than you are, challenge and support each other. Craft sharpening craft until your manuscript is irresistible. And you do it with passion because you can’t not write.
What do Amazon, Apple, Walt Disney, Google, Harley Davidson, Hewlett Packard, and Yankee Candle Company have in common? Each entrepreneur started his multibillion-dollar company in someone’s garage with nothing but knowledge and a willingness to work hard and persevere. But, you might be thinking, what was it about each of these companies that set them apart from the crowd? What vital ingredient caused their companies to succeed beyond anyone’s wildest dreams when others didn’t?
The quality of the product and the public’s need and desire for it.
This is the other half of the preparation. Apply it to writing. What are society’s needs today? The list is long, don’t you agree? Purposefully show a better way through your characters or topics. It doesn’t matter the genre, and it isn’t about crusading for a cause. It’s about demonstrating the truly redemptive way. Personally, I’m not interested in reading a novel that doesn’t have at least one stable character who exemplifies redemptive values. I want to read nonfiction books that inspire me to be better in some way. I don’t think I’m alone in this desire. Society craves it. Certainly not everyone recognizes their need until they stumble upon something they read that touches them deeply. Only the highest quality writing can accomplish that.
Today a lot more is expected of authors, and it can distract you from perfecting your product—your book. Platform building, marketing, promotion, in addition to the writing. All this without any guarantee of short- or long-term publishing and financial reward. But spending the extra time and effort to produce an irresistible book has other rewards. “You are what you eat” translates for the mind as well: “You are what your mind takes in.” Providing a buffet of healthy, God-honoring thought and examples to readers perhaps is the billion-dollar reward for a writing entrepreneur in the publishing world of the future. And by concentrating on ever increasing your knowledge of writing to produce your highest quality books that meet society’s needs, you may have the best chance of reaping financial reward as well.
Does this view of a writing entrepreneur inspire you to be that change agent who influences readers toward true redemption? What is your greatest need in preparation to be this kind of writing entrepreneur?
Do you see yourself as a writing entrepreneur? Here is one agent’s interpretation. Click to Tweet.
An author’s job description is different in the new world of publishing. See how. Click to Tweet.