Authorpreneurs are authors who apply a business mindset to their writing career. They approach the publishing process strategically and create a data-informed marketing plan to boost their book sales and build their brand. Authorpreneurs also repurpose their book into different formats such as speeches and online courses to generate extra income from their ideas.
Becoming an authorpreneur is a natural fit for business owners who already have strong entrepreneurial skills. Writing a book can help you position yourself as an authority in your industry, attract new customers, and establish additional revenue streams. Authorpreneurship is also a great second act for retired business owners who are looking for their next challenge.
However, it’s possible for anyone to build a business around their writing by adopting a strategic mindset and developing entrepreneurial skills. Here are some tips to help you start your journey as an authorpreneur.
Identify Your Target Reader
Many authors think that writing for a broad audience will increase their sales. However, it’s usually better to choose a target reader so you can tailor your message to their specific pain points.
It may seem counterintuitive to limit your reader base—after all, you want to reach as many people as possible! But sharing your story in a way that resonates deeply with a smaller audience is more likely to lead to success than attempting to appeal to everyone. This can directly lead to not only more sales, but establishing your brand as an author.
In order to identify your target reader, you’ll have to do some soul-searching. Ask yourself the following questions to figure out the purpose of your book and determine who you want to help, both now and in the future.
- Why do I feel inspired to write this book?
- What do I want to empower readers to achieve?
- What is the core message I want to share?
- How can my wisdom and expertise help others?
- Who will benefit the most from my knowledge?
Getting clear on your mission before you even start writing will enable you to identify your target audience and create a more impactful book and author brand.
Maximize Your Productivity
A common mistake many authors make is waiting to write until inspiration strikes. If you only work on your manuscript when you’re feeling motivated, you won’t make much progress. To become a successful authorpreneur, you have to sit down and write even on days when you’re not looking forward to it.
Just like other business owners, authorpreneurs also need to focus on improving their workflow and maximizing their output. You probably don’t have a lot of room in your busy schedule for writing sessions, so you have to make the most of that limited time. Eliminating distractions and using productivity tools like dictation software and the Pomodoro technique, which breaks work down into timed intervals, can help improve your efficiency so you can publish more content.
Invest in Your Book
Crafting a high-quality book not only takes time, but also a significant amount of money. On average, it costs between $6,000 and $15,000 to produce and publish a book. Many writers view their book as a hobby and are hesitant to invest in it, so they try to handle the entire publishing process themselves. However, this usually results in a subpar product.
Authorpreneurs understand that they have to spend money to make money. They know that their book won’t sell unless it’s top-notch, so they’re willing to pay for services that will make their work shine, such as professional editing and cover design. If they can’t afford to cover these expenses out-of-pocket, authorpreneurs aren’t afraid to seek out alternative funding options, such as launching a Kickstarter campaign or securing a traditional publishing contract.
Build Your Brand
Before you can work on building your marketing strategy, you have to create an author brand that your ideal readers will relate to. Defining your author brand involves choosing a visual design style and an authentic brand voice to represent you as an author. Your brand is unique to you and should reflect your distinct personality to help draw in your target audience.
Picking a specific color palette and aesthetic for your marketing collateral will give your website, logo, and social media graphics a consistent appearance. This will help increase your brand recognition across multiple platforms and allow your followers to easily identify your content.
Nailing down your brand voice is often more challenging than choosing a design style. It can be hard to figure out how you want to present yourself and your work to the world. If you’re struggling, it may be helpful to pick a few adjectives that embody your desired tone, such as fun and trustworthy.
This exercise will give you a starting point for creating your brand style guide, which is a document that outlines your language preferences and standards. It provides guidelines on word usage, grammar, tone, and point of view so any freelancers you hire can replicate your brand voice. Reviewing your style guide periodically will also help you stay true to your brand as you execute your marketing tasks.
Hone Your Marketing Strategy
Once you’ve finished your manuscript and fine-tuned your brand, the next step is to build a marketing plan to guide your book promotion efforts. It’s important to develop a marketing strategy so you know where to focus your limited energy to achieve the best results. Gathering data on your target audience can help you determine which marketing methods will be most effective.
Research where your ideal reader likes to spend time online and what kind of content they usually consume. Trusted consulting firms like McKinsey & Company often publish whitepapers that can help you gain key insights about your target demographic and their online behavior. The more effort you put into this research, the more effective your marketing campaigns will be.
After gathering data, you can decide where to focus your efforts and create a list of key marketing tasks you plan to complete on a regular basis, such as posting on Instagram twice a day and updating your blog once a week. Be realistic about what you can achieve in the amount of time you have available. It’s better to post consistently on two social media platforms than update five irregularly.
Stay Organized with a Content Calendar
It’s also a good idea to create a marketing content calendar to plan your posts in advance and get organized. That way you won’t have to scramble to come up with content ideas at the last minute.
Mapping out your posts ahead of time will also help you tailor your marketing content to suit different phases of your book launch. For example, in the months leading up to your release date, your main focus will be creating buzz around your book. To that end, you might plan to share a few teaser passages from the book, encourage your followers to preorder their copy, and host a cover reveal livestream to get fans excited.
When your book officially launches, you might share reviews you’ve received, host an online launch party, and make paid ads a bigger part of your marketing strategy to boost sales. In the post-launch stage, many authorpreneurs repurpose their book’s content into different formats such as a podcast or online course to establish multiple revenue streams. Each of these phases requires a different marketing approach and message, so remember to think strategically when planning out your content calendar.
Build Your Network
Networking is just as important for authorpreneurs as it is for other business owners. Authorpreneurs should not only engage with readers, but also other writers and professionals in the publishing industry.
Try to make an effort to respond to comments from readers and be active in the spaces they frequent, whether that’s Goodreads or their favorite social media sites. Interacting with your readers will help you form a lasting connection with them and turn them into repeat customers. To connect with fellow authorpreneurs, consider attending events at your local chamber of commerce, participating in a local writer’s group, and networking on LinkedIn.
Repurpose Your Book
Authorpreneurs are rarely able to make a living from just one book. They usually have additional sources of income, such as:
- Podcast sponsorships
- Social media brand deals
- Revenue from online courses
- Consulting or freelancing income
- Speaking fees
- Ad revenue from a blog or YouTube channel
- Patreon subscriptions
Building multiple streams of income can be time-consuming, but repurposing content from your book can help make the process easier. Instead of creating an online course totally from scratch, you can expand upon the concepts introduced in your book by adding extra examples, strategies, and exercises.
Join our July workshop to learn how to repurpose your book content and create additional revenue.
You can also pair impactful quotes from your book with interesting photos or infographics and post them on Instagram. If you had to cut an anecdote or idea from your book because there wasn’t enough room, consider turning it into a blog post or speech. There are nearly endless ways to repurpose your book, allowing you to earn additional revenue from your existing ideas and content.
Take Risks and Recover from Failure
Part of becoming an entrepreneur is getting comfortable with taking risks. Publishing and promoting a book requires you to put yourself out there, which can be scary. Even if you pour your heart and soul into your writing, there’s always a chance you’ll receive some negative feedback or won’t sell as many books as you hoped. But entrepreneurs don’t let these bumps in the road derail them.
If their marketing campaign isn’t getting results or their product isn’t selling, they pivot and adjust their strategy. Entrepreneurs know that they may have to try and fail a few times before they succeed. Even well-known entrepreneurs like Jeff Bezos and Walt Disney had several failed ideas before launching the company that made them famous.
When things don’t go your way, try not to get discouraged. Keep showing up and putting your ideas out there, because you never know what might happen in the future! Even if your first book underperforms a bit, a successful course or podcast could come out of it. Or your next book project will catch fire and launch your career to new heights.
Become a Lifelong Learner
Many high-profile entrepreneurs including Warren Buffett view lifelong learning as one of the keys to business success. In order to run a thriving company, you have to stay on top of trends in your industry and gain new skills that will help you achieve your long-term goals.
Authorpreneurs can benefit from both writing workshops to hone their craft and entrepreneurship classes to gain crucial business knowledge. Colleges, community writing centers, and libraries in your area may offer in-person creative writing courses to boost your storytelling ability. You can also sign up for online writing classes on learning platforms like Teachable, Gotham Writers, and MasterClass.
Your local chamber of commerce can be a good resource for continuing business education. Many universities around the country also offer entrepreneurship certificate programs. However, if you can’t afford tuition right now, HubSpot and Google offer free online courses that cover marketing and business principles.
Finally, it’s important for authorpreneurs to make time for strategic planning and goal-setting. Thinking seriously about where you see yourself and your business in the next five years can help you chart the right course. Your strategic plan should include your vision for your business as well as a plan of action to help you get there. Work backwards and break down your long-term goals into achievable, concrete steps.
For example, if you want to improve your name recognition, you might start by answering questions from journalists on a PR website like Help a Reporter Out. If you provide helpful, compelling responses, you may be quoted in news articles, which will help get your name out there.
Setting long-range goals will enable you to be proactive instead of reactive when planning the future of your business. Instead of getting mired in day-to-day operations, you’ll be able to stay focused on the bigger picture and work towards achieving your dreams.
Need a Mentor?
Most successful entrepreneurs had one or more mentors to guide them during their business journey. Although it’s possible to master the book writing and publishing process on your own, it often takes years of trial and error. If you want to put yourself on the fast track to authorpreneurship success, consider enrolling in one of The Book Professor’s proven coaching programs. Contact us today to learn how we can help you achieve your publishing dreams.