Becoming an Artist Entrepreneur: How do I get a roadmap? by Beth Barany
How do you get a roadmap as an artist entrepreneur, a colleague asked me recently.
I wanted to say that there’s no roadmap for that because you’re unique and you probably don’t want to do it exactly like anybody else.
Your genre may be different.
Your strengths and weaknesses may be different.
You might not even want to follow other people’s examples because for some reason they don’t resonate with you.
So how do you find your map? We’re all so accustomed to having a map.
It makes sense. If we want to travel from San Francisco to New York, it really helps to have a map.
Of course we could do it without a map. But we might get lost along the way, have tons of detours, waste a lot of time, energy, and resources. That could be really fun.
But if you’re someone who would really prefer to have a map so you can choose a pathway that fits your needs, your budget, your time frame as an author entrepreneur, how do you do find one?
The one thing artist entrepreneurs struggle to do, but absolutely must if they want to get their work on the world’s map is build relationships.
The artist entrepreneur who asked me this question is at the beginning of her entrepreneur journey. She realizes that her skill set is unique and she doesn’t want to limit herself. And she wants to explore.
TWO MAIN WAYS TO DISCOVER YOUR UNIQUE ROADMAP
In the course of our conversation, I realized that there are two main ways I’ve gone about creating my unique pathway as an author entrepreneur building a business helping writers, being a working writer, an award-winning novelist with over 50 reviews on that award-winning book, and finding my market.
When I when I first started I didn’t know who that market was. I don’t know who my best readers were. I didn’t even know really how to talk about my book.
Since we don’t become artists entrepreneurs in a vacuum, I realized it’s all about relationships, and by extension, community.
- Relationships build…
- … Community
I want to make a distinction between building relationships and being “social.”
For example, you don’t need to be an extrovert to build quality relationships. In fact, introverts often excel at creating strong one-on-one relationships.
Relationships are about heart, trust, transference of knowledge, learning, and about gaining richer perspectives that enhance your life and your work.
Building relationships is about mutual respect, connection, and being connected for the long haul – as long as it’s a win-win for all involved. From these relationships, community grows and creates a support network that uplifts everyone involved.
This doesn’t mean you are always at parties, meeting people over coffee or hanging out on social media, though you can, if you want.
Who do we build relationships with?
If you’re an author, you’re writing books for readers. You are in relationship to those readers.
If you are an indie author like I am and like a lot of the authors I help then, you’re may be wondering:
“Oh my gosh, there’s so much that goes into being an indie author. Help!”
It’s because you also need to build relationships with people who can help you.
For example: cover artists, book reviewers, editors, proofreaders, “get out the word team,” and critique partners. These are all important relationships to develop, nurture, and maintain.
How do you build these important relationships?
Start by reaching out to someone who’s done it that you admire and respect. Have a conversation and find out how they’ve done it.
And if you can, go to a community of like-minded individuals, like a writing community.
If you’re writing romance, there’s the Romance Writers of America. If you’re in mystery, there’s Mystery Writers of America or Sisters in Crime.
If you’re in science fiction or fantasy, there’s the Science Fiction and Fantasy writers.
Or if you’re not able to get in because of their requirements, check out Broad Universe. (A more extensive list is here: http://writersfunzone.com/blog/writing-associations/.)
There are other associations for other genres and other kinds of writing communities like National Association of Women Writers, for example.
In California, we have the California Writers Club. Most other states also have community-oriented writers clubs and communities. If not check at your local library. They’re really the best resource.
Next, network. This means actually talking to people: online or in-person.
I have to say, nothing replaces being in the same room with people to learn from — people that you want to be like. Maybe even there’s a few people who are more beginner than you that you suddenly realize you can help.
The Triangle of Support
This is the triangle of support: you, those who can learn from you, and those you can learn from. All three legs of the three-legged stool are so essential in developing any kind of career, including your artist entrepreneur career.
In this way, I’ve learned so much.
I have learned how professional writers handle communicating with agents and editors, and so much about marketing and the writing process — just being by being in the room with my colleagues, other writers.
So find a way to have conversations. If there is no way to be in person, find a way to do phone conversations, Skype, or Zoom. That’s the second best way: hearing someone’s voice, being live with them.
Thirdly online written format communities are wonderful too. You are not alone.
There’s a community out there for you. And if you’re already in a community, I recommend that you continue to take advantage of it, deepen your commitment.
Go with questions. Listen to answers. Then go home and implement on the steps that work for you.
Your roadmap to your artist entrepreneur lies around you and in you. It’s the relationship you have with your art, your audience, your community of peers, and yourself.
“When there isn’t a roadmap, building relationships will help you pave a path one person at a time.” –Jon Low, Writer, Coach, Master NLP Practitioner
ABOUT BETH BARANY
Beth Barany is creativity coach for writers, a teacher, workshop facilitator, and speaker, who helps fiction writers experience clarity, so that they can write and polish their novels, and proudly publish them to the delight of their readers.
Owner of the Barany School of Fiction, an online training hub, Beth takes great interest in how humans learn, create, and grow, and includes all her students’ life experiences, including the ancestors, into the moment.
Want a course to help you prepare to write your novel? Check out the comprehensive Plan Your Novel course here.