Author-Entrepreneur: Writing is a Business

Full Moon Rising by Daryn Cross

Welcome to our bi-weekly posts from guest columnist, Bobbye Terry. This week she offers useful tips for us to treat our writing as a business. We’re curious to hear your tips too! Share your thoughts with us! Thanks! {PS. If you’d like to be a guest columnist at Writer’s Fun Zone, read how to do that here.}

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Last year I spent an afternoon reading up on medical practice management (don’t ask—I know it sound odd, but there was a reason). As I read those areas practice managers must master, I realized the processes weren’t that different from what a professional writer must use to master the business of writing. If you’re writing and publishing, or have the intent of publishing, you’re doing yourself a disservice if you don’t approach the whole venture as a business enterprise. The love you have for your finished work must not take precedence once the work is finished. Then it’s time to become the sharp business person.

Here are the things you need to consider:

1. Your Enterprise Should Operate with Maximum Efficiency, Quality Output and Intent to Increase the Bottom Line

Writers have a “practice” in the sense that they have a business producing a commodity that can be sold to the end-user, the reader. The better the quality controls on the writing, such as critiquing, editing, and testing the market before submission, the better it is likely to sell and produce a profit. Therefore, a writer might want to “invest” in someone to assist in this process, whether it is in time, by having a barter system where a critique partner reviews the work or she pays an external editor to go through it. Either way, I think the writer would still want an impartial beta reader to read through before it either goes on to a publisher or is indie published.

2. You Must Handle Multiple Management Tasks—Financial, Operational, Managed Care and Personnel

A writer’s multiple management tasks consist of: the financial, which encompass most of a writer’s end-put activities; operational, what needs to be done to submit, close the deal track sales, and how to turn a profit after advertising, home office and public appearance expenses; management of publishing discounts and other distribution concerns; personnel issues to include any individuals hired by you to edit, advertise, provide administrative support, etc. All of these could be outsourced to a virtual assistant.

3. Quality Control: Measuring How Well the Enterprise is Doing, Reporting Meaningful and Practical Financial Data to Management

Now we’re back to tracking sales, then submitting ARCs for reviews, checking fan reaction via author pages, blogs, Facebook and other networking sites. Make sure to let the editor know what input you’re receiving. Or if you’re indie publishing, it’s all about tracking what efforts work and learning from that data. Again, these are tasks a virtual assistant might be able to handle.

4. Pre-collections and Post-Collections

Always make sure you keep the publisher honest about sales. If you’re fortunate as I am now, you have good relationships established. With regard to large New York press, an agent really helps. For you as an indie, it’s all about keeping good records to make sure the distributor(s) is/are paying you as they should.

Remember, once your baby is finished, that book becomes a commodity. Then you’re running a business.

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Bobbye Terry (BT) writes contemporary romantic comedy and suspense under her real name and romantic fantasy and science fiction when writing as Daryn Cross (DC). She is also half of the well-known writing duo of Terry Campbell. Her latest works include BURIED IN BRINY BAY (BT) and WITCHY WOMAN OF THE DOWNS (DC) from Turquoise Morning Press and her indie releases, ROSE (BT) and FULL MOON RISING (DC). You can find her at www.BobbyeTerryRomance.com, www.DarynCross.com and more about the series at www.TheCashChroniclesSeries.com.

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