The Urban Dictionary defines an authorpreneur as being “an author who creates a written product, participates in creating their own brand, and actively promotes that brand through a variety of outlets.”

There has never been a better time to be an authorpreneur. Digitization has changed the publishing industry immensely. With change comes opportunity. Social media offers excellent platforms for promotion and self-promotion.  But more opportunity means greater competition so before embarking on this exciting authorpreneurial journey, hone your skills, learn to be savvy, and embrace social media. Experts are out there to help and guide you through the process if you need them. Take full advantage of that. It is likely to pay dividends.

The first thing that you need to be aware of, and continue to be cognizant of, is that every book you write is a business in its own right.  Unless you are a philanthropist, most authors will rely on writing to earn a living or at least supplement their income. So running your business successfully is paramount.

Like any start-up, your business will face challenges.  The more prepared you are the better.  Do your research, learn from others and invest in yourself.  Remember you are building a brand – your brand – and you need to be open and proactive to anything that will advance that. Here are some fundamentals to keep in mind:

Know your business and your audience. Research your target market and cater to them.  Think of it as customer service and commit to it. Use diverse media to promote, support and explain your work and to educate and enlighten your audience.

Creativity is your biggest talent so make it work for you – whether it’s a book cover design or video or creative new ways to get you and your work noticed.

Connect with your target audience in any way you can – traditional print, digital, blogs, audio books, videos, webinars etc.  You have to be able to communicate your professional experience, views and advice to others who want to learn from it and share in it. Know what your readers/listeners are thinking about, what they are concerned about, what they want to hear more of and how you can rise to that.

Adaptability. Although it’s important to stick to what you know, don’t be afraid to try something new if you feel your current strategy is lacking.  Recognizing opportunities and seizing them can create a great market niche.  Your target audience is also changing. You need to change with them.

Networking not only provides an opportunity for learning but also for tapping into and sharing resources, maximizing referrals, recommendations etc.

Like any investment, being an authorpreneur takes hard work, self-discipline and effort but once you make the decision to embark on this venture then dedicate yourself to its success.

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Mary Vaux-ClarkMary Vaux-Clark is a freelance editor, proof-reader and writer. Her areas of interest include current affairs, travel, history and sport. She has travelled widely and worked in Hong Kong as an editor and ESL teacher for over ten years.