The Art of the Entrepreneuress: Self Publishing for Busy Boss Ladies, Part Two
Earlier this summer, I kicked off The Art of the Entrepreneuress blog series. These posts are specifically tailored to female entrepreneurs who want to curate a beautiful life and business where both aspects feel in sync and inspiring. The first post, Self-Publishing for Busy Boss Ladies, Part One was the most popular post thus far, and I’ve gotten a bevy of emails since with more and more questions from women who want to independently publish their books.
In the past four years, I have been able to turn my books into a full-time business. I have built a library for my readers that span areas of focus that are important to women. They are topics I am passionate about and experienced in, and its a pure joy to be able to empower my audience through my words.
When I talk to potential authors about the business of books, it seems as though people are divided into two camps: those who want to produce a book for a credential, or to have marketing materials to put in front of potential clients, and those who want to establish themselves as authors. There is a very large difference between the two, they require different levels of dedication, and today I want to break down what it all means.
WHAT IS YOUR GOAL?
First things first. What is your goal with your book? Do you want to be known as an author? Or do you want to have a book just to bring in some passive income to add to your business model? Do you want your book to reach massive audiences across the world? Do you want to use it to book speaking engagements? Do you want to write your book because its something on your bucket list? Do you want to be known as a content creator? Or a service provider? Really think about how you want to be seen in your industry, and what you hope to achieve through publishing your work. There is no wrong, or right. You just need to get clear on your ultimate goal, as this will drive everything else.
For me, the goal was being a full-time authoress (doesn’t that word just sound so much more dreamy than “author?”). But really. I dreamed of being able to say “I’m a writer” for my entire life. I wasn’t always sure what that would look like, but as I became more and more obsessed with writing for women, it took shape. I am also a certified master life coach, and I do love working with women because I crave that connection and I love helping women change their lives. But my coaching career is secondary to my writing career. I focus most of my energy on writing because I feel that I can reach a wider audience that way. I want to inspire the masses. I want to touch as many lives as humanly possible. And I want to do it through my content and my books.
Think about your goal. Go grab a note pad or find space in your journal, and write it down. Putting it down on paper helps tremendously.
BOOKS AS A BUSINESS
If you’ve decided you also want to be an authoress, this section will be extremely helpful for you. You’re going to have to start looking at your books as a business. Plan to wear many hats (or, tiaras), unless you can afford to hire a team to do the heavy lifting for you. Because my books are my priority, I have tailored my time to support that goal. I do everything myself, for a few different reasons, but mainly because I truly enjoy all aspects: the content creation, the promotion, the PR, the events, the list goes on. I sometimes do bring in help for certain projects, but I am really running this show myself.
Currently, I have 1 private coaching client, and all my other time is dedicated to the following:
Creating blog/social media content
Working on my next book
Doing interviews/securing press to promote my work
Planning travel/speaking engagements to promote my work
All of those things mentioned above are working toward one main goal: to promote and sell my books. That is because my books are my business. All of the content I create supports them. The reason my books have been successful is because I am able to dedicate 100% of my time toward marketing them.
I know that may seem somewhat obvious, but I really want to stress this factor. Every single thing I do leads people to the same place: my books.
BOOKS AS A SUPPLEMENT
Now, on the other hand, if your goal is not to be a full-time authoress, and you just want to self-publish your book to earn some extra income, you need to understand that the revenue you bring in from those books will most likely be a direct reflection of the time you put into supporting them. If you mention your book once or twice a month, do an event once a year, then your sales will reflect that effort. This is not a bad thing – not everyone wants to focus on their book and the content around it. Again, just know where you stand.
A good exercise is to think about how much of your revenue you’d like to come from your books, and then allot your time accordingly. For example, if you’d like to bring in 20% of your income through books, plan to spend 20% of your time nurturing your “book business” (creating social media posts, blogs, events, etc. all around the support of your books).
Grab your notepad again and write down how much time you plan to focus on your books.
CONSISTENCY IN CONTENT
Here’s another really important thing to understand. In order to sell books, you need to earn the trust of your potential readers. This is done through creating consistent messaging in your content. You can’t just self-publish a book and allow it to sit pretty on Amazon and expect it to sell. You’ve got to work for it, and you’ve got to use your platform to do so. People want to know that you are the authority on whatever topic you’re writing about. This does not mean you need to write about the same topics over and over again on your blog, but the ultimate message should be the same. Your voice should come through in every thing you write, whether it be a Facebook status, an Instagram post, a blog post, or a book.
A great way to do this is to create an editorial calendar. Let’s say you’re a fashion stylist, and you’ve just self-published a book on styling tips for the every day woman. You should plan out how many blogs and social media posts per week you can create to provide valuable content for your readers around that topic.
Write down a list of 10-20 topics or themes per month you can talk about. These topics can come through in something as easy as an inspirational quote for Instagram, or something more in-depth like a blog post. Something very important to remember here though: do not sell your book in each post! People will get sick of it and begin to tune you out. Instead, focus on creating brilliant and informative content, and allow people the space and time to learn about more about you. If they love your work, they will research you, and they will find your book.
I hope these tips were helpful for you guys. Again, just to summarize, here are some questions to ask yourself if you’re planning to self-publish:
What is my goal in publishing my work?
Do I want to be known as a content creator, or service provider in my industry?
If the answer is both, ask yourself which one you’d like to dedicate more time to.
How much revenue do I want to earn from my books?
How much time do I plan to spend promoting my books?
What are the topics or themes I can talk about each month to support my book’s message?
Over the next few weeks, we’ll be digging into the nitty-gritty of self-publishing (navigating Amazon’s Createspace platform, where to begin when it comes to designing a cover, writing an outline, etc.)
Stay tuned for more soon!