19 Apr Why Authors Can’t Keep Doing It For Themselves!
Being a writer of any kind can be a pretty solitary thing. We spend a lot of time researching, pondering, reading, writing, editing, and other word-related things alone. Whether you’re an introvert or not, it can be a lovely thing to be comfortable with yourself and your own mind without needing others. Yet, it shouldn’t be something you do all the time.
I have a beautiful office space that is large, bright, and filled with rose gold things that I thoroughly enjoyed buying and deciding where to put. The problem was, I was staring at the same four walls all day and struggling with the isolation. The postman began to look a little alarmed when I struck up conversations with him. The squirrel who ran around outside soon found it was getting a lot more treats. And, I was talking to myself which is isn’t unusual for an author but I missed having a real connection during working hours to share, vent, get feedback, and it had been years since I’d been at a work Christmas party.
So last year, I founded a weekly co-working day for women in business and we’ve been meeting, working, having lunch, growing our businesses, and brainstorming together. In the months since launching, we’ve supported each other’s wins and woes, gone to events together, collaborated, celebrated Galentine’s Day and birthdays, had two babies born, and yes we even had a Christmas party! I’ve since repliated the idea and have a monthly author meet up.
It’s important to remember that being an author is a business and being alone all the time isn’t good for your mental health or accountability. This can also be said for the work needed to become an author. There are a lot of things that need to be done and while we are creative, we don’t all have the necessary skills or time to do it all. I used to believe that if there was a free option or a way to save money as a struggling creative, then it was a good idea. However, my opinion has changed a lot over the years as an author and also as a professional in the industry.
There are a whole host of things that I know will look far more professional if I get someone skilled to do them. You could hire people to come up with ideas, design everything for you, write your blogs, post to your social media, answer your calls, reply to your emails and every other box that you think needs to be ticked. If you had the budget, you could sit back, kick up your feet and let your business run probably pretty efficiently. Even if you don’t have the budget, you can hire designers and virtual PA’s on websites like PeoplePerHour, Upwork, and Fiverr. The issue I find with handing over absolutely everything is that your author business will never really have your own stamp on it. It won’t be your brand and how can you be passionate about something you didn’t help create?
Remember as a kid and your parents maybe let you help bake something or something along those lines. It was messy and you didn’t have a clue what you were doing but it was fun and you learned along the way. That’s what building a business is, it’s not going to be clean and tidy and perfect. You know those uber-successful, bestselling authors and the professionals you read about making millions and running multi-national, multi-platform businesses and who look so experienced and perfect? Read their biography if they have one because I can guarantee no truly successful person stepped on to the top of the mountain, they climbed up there, overcoming trials and setbacks. Some are braver and more open than others about their windy road to the top.
Another thing worth researching is the top bestselling books on Amazon all have professional book covers, the descriptions are intriguing and proofread, the stories are thoroughly edited and proofread and they are well marketed. It was no doubt a team effort. You can do a lot of it for free! But if you’re not willing to invest in yourself and your book, why should a reader invest in buying your book. I’m a professional editor and author so I’ve researched every aspect of being an author but I also know I am terrible at formatting and I hate some of the tasks needed doing so I hand them over to people who love doing what they do really well.
You can hire people to do everything nowadays so it’s worth writing down everything you need or want done and splitting it into which ones you can do yourself, those you are willing to learn, and the ones you’re going to need help with, of course, there’s the stuff that might be beyond your skills. I didn’t know where to start with website design when I started out but I found wordpress.org and began learning about coding and design.
I’d recommend starting to save up the moment you decide to write a book so you have some money set aside once you’re ready for an editor and book cover creator. You might also join some author groups and suggest beta reading for one another and find some other creatives to skills swap with. I’ve done this in the past and it can work really well once you find the right people.
No matter what you decide to do, know you are not alone and if you have a question on anything someone out there has the answer and many are willing to share advice and help. Feel free to drop me a message if I can help with something.