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In the last post, I covered the bulk of what’s most important for hobbyists or people on the fence. If you’re serious about making money from this writing gig, then read on.
Thinking of writing as a business
Businesses make money. If you want to make money at writing, you have to treat it as a business. That means investing time in learning the craft and money in professional covers, editing, formatting, editing, marketing, and, oh yeah, editing. (Editing is often the most expensive part, and thus, the most skipped over. Don’t skimp on editing. At the very least hire a copy editor to clean your manuscript up. I don’t care how good of an editor you think you are. There are special rules for editing fiction, and you’re better served having a professional evaluate your work. For my list of recommended editors, click here.)
- Check out Shannon Mayer’s post on treating writing like a business.
- Dean Wesley Smith also has a business workshop (I’ve taken it, and it’s great.)
DBA or not DBA?
DBA = Doing Business As. In other words, you can setup your own publishing company, like I did with Indigo Dreamer Press, and publish all your books under that one company. Some states require you to register a DBA, if I’m correct. (Still learning in this area. Ask local authors to see what they do.) For me, I wanted to setup a DBA/publishing imprint so I would look more legitimate. Looking more legitimate leads to bookstores and libraries being more comfortable with ordering your books. More distribution = more eyeballs on your books = more money.
If you setup a DBA, you need to consider a separate website for your DBA/imprint. (I still need to set mine up. Bad Lola. *slaps hand*) You’ll also need to consider getting a logo designed, like I did below. I went through 99Designs. It was a good experience overall. Just be sure to make it a “closed/blind” contest. Otherwise, the designers will all start copying each other.
The Elephant in the Room – Marketing
Publishing houses expect authors to do most, if not all, of their marketing. (Unless you are offered a substantial advance, substantial meaning seven figures.) Indie authors also do most of their own marketing. So either way, it pays to be informed on this subject.
Many writers loathe marketing. It doesn’t have to be this huge pain in the ass that sucks away your writing time. In fact, it shouldn’t. Longterm writers preach that your best form of marketing is releasing your next book. After all, backlist is king. The more often you release, the more often you’ll appear on new release lists.
Rather than get into exhaustive detail on an already massive subject, I will instead list a few things to consider when putting together your marketing plan. Remember, you cannot control how many books you will sell, but you can control how much marketing you will do.
- Joanna Penn just re-released her marketing book and it’s fabulous.
- The Creative Penn Podcast is Joanna’s weekly show about marketing and the publishing industry
- Even if you don’t write sci-fi/fantasy, The Science Fiction and Fantasy Marketing Podcast is a great marketing resource
- I list additional marketing resources on my For Writers page
Marketing ideas (You don’t have to do all. The key is to experiment. Stick with what gives you good results. Throw out what doesn’t. It’s really that simple.)
- Blog tours
- Cover reveals
- Facebook advertising
- Google AdSense
- Merchandising on Kobo, B&N, and other third party distributors that aren’t Amazon
- Amazon ads
- Guest posts (on your site and on others’)
- Character interviews
- Deleted scenes
- Extra scenes
- Social media posts
- Goodreads ads
- Boxed sets
- Blogging a book
Different types of marketing
- Content marketing
- Cause marketing
- Push/pull marketing
- Social Media marketing
- Paid advertising
The whole goal of marketing is exposure. You want to put your books in front of the right readers. Also, after you’ve written your book and decide you want to make money with it, consider who your target audience is. If you have no clue, do some Google searches about “defining my target audience” and do your research. It’s what I did.
I have had no business or marketing classes (other than Dean’s business for writers workshop, which I suggest you take). I’ve learned everything by experimentation, researching things on my own, and devouring every article, podcast, and book I can about these subjects. I still have a lot to learn. The learning will never stop.
Enjoy the journey, and good luck.