The Point of No Return
As writers, many times we think of ourselves as authors when we become published, whether self-published or via traditional publishing. I have read of indie authors expressing the desire of being recognized by traditional publishers by obtaining a contract. Traditional publishing is still a goal or dream for some indie authors. I guess it is a personal issue, and how an author feels “fulfilled in the craft.” To each their own – everyone must follow their own journey. However, there is another area that seems to be of less concern to some writers/authors, and this is what I want to write about in this post: At what point does an author/writer cross the point of no return to become an entrepreneur/business owner?
I thought about it many times (as I am in the journey), and I think that the answer is different for everyone. It is more of a process, one that requires growth, acceptance (from yourself), and a mind shift. It takes the writer from a position of “I write because I love to write” or “I want to be published”, to a mind frame that sounds more like this – “I am in the business of writing; it is what I love to do, and how I make a living (or plan to)” or “I am an author; I write stories and this is my business …”
We all start as writers. Many cross to become authors (defined traditionally), but many of us neglect or do not cross into the entrepreneurial/business side of the deal. We do not see ourselves as business owners, and we prefer to stick to “the writing side,” forgetting to nourish the other side of our craft. I have heard many times that no matter if you self-publish or publish traditionally, you are still responsible for promoting and marketing your novels/books. No matter how you enter the publishing world, it stops where you are – the responsibility is ultimately yours. Granted, you have tons of help via the traditional way; however, you are the “entity” behind and in front of your work, and it is up to you to take it to the next level.
How do you know when, or if, you have crossed the point of no return? It is a matter of how you see yourself and your craft. For the purpose of this post, let’s call the writer who has not crossed to the entrepreneurial side Author, and the other, Author Entrepreneur (Author-E). Both, Author and Author-E have passion, purpose, and love what they do. Both love to write and they have fun doing it. They love to socialize and interact with readers, whether in person or via social media. Both may have built a platform, and may have published one or more novels/books. The number of books is not important here. You can have an Author with many novels published and an Author-E with one or two novels published so far; however, Author-E probably has more books in the making, as Author-E sees and focuses on the business part.
For Author-E, consistency is important. Author might not have developed that part yet. Author-E tries to achieve consistency by building a brand (across the websites/blogs/book covers …). Author might be struggling with building a platform or blog, and does not quite have figured out the branding part yet, or is just in the process of doing it. Author-E has created a persona and transferred it into a business structure by taking the steps of legalizing this brand, and growing/developing a physical image of it (logos, business cards, business ID registration, business entity …). For Author-E, mostly every step he/she takes is oriented to business growth, promotion, and marketing. For Author, this area is still new, in the development stage, or simply not one of his/her goals. Author-E continues to work on it every single day knowing that this will take time and tons of effort, and recognizes it as a lifestyle, since the business persona that he/she has created is real. Steady growth is more important to Author-E than quantity or buzz, since success is tied to not only profits, but also lifestyle. Author may want to see profits fast and becomes discouraged if the sales don’t happen, while Author-E knows that many times it will take working “for free” before he/she sees any profits, and is less likely to become discouraged because he/she is aware of the journey. Author may want to achieve the same balance, but he/she still needs to find a balance between these components, as well as decide how to put the pieces together, implement, and even consider if he/she wants to step up to the process.
Author and Author-E may start the same in the writing/publishing journey, but eventually the road will split and each must decide on following their own path (what is right for you). This is why it is so important to gauge your own process, and discover “the persona” throughout the journey, because at one point, you may reach the point of no return.
Maria Antonia Diaz is the author of Moonlit Valley and The Dinorah Chronicles – Ramblings of the Spirit, Book 1 in the trilogy. She is a freelance writer, blogger, and artist. She is the founder of The Owl, Book & Candle. She resides in New Jersey with her husband, Eddie, and six felines. She describes herself as a student of this Universe, and a Master of none.
Unrelated media of the day:
The following delightful examples of Engrish came from here: http://imgur.com/a/CuH8k