For months I’ve been working on two things: finding a new job and building my career as an author. I look at want ads every day. I make applications every week. Occasionally, I get an interview.
And I fill the remaining hours writing stories, blogging, tweeting, researching, and generally trying to sell my book.
This dual life was moving along at a comfortable pace until a few days ago, when I suddenly realized something. When I set out to publish State of Grace and launch a career as an author, I was starting a business.
Maybe everyone else knew this, but somehow I missed it. After all, it wasn’t like when I founded Event Horizon Productions back in 1996. I didn’t write up a set of bylaws my partners and I could agree to. I didn’t file an application with Kansas’s Secretary of State to incorporate. I didn’t do all those things one normally associates with starting a business.
But that doesn’t mean I didn’t found one when I wrote the first blog entry about my decision to e-publish. The Girlfriend put it best when she corrected one of the kids: “John has a job; it’s to be an author.”
That made me feel good, but it still took until this past weekend for the thought to really sink in. I want this to be my career. Even if the money from it doesn’t allow me to stop looking for other work, this is what I want my primary job to be.
And if I want that it means this is a business.
Late last year I wrote a business plan. I’ve strayed from it. Oh, I’m still trying to accomplish everything on the list, but I am way behind on my timeline. The schedule was ambitious, to be sure, but I shouldn’t be this far behind. I’ve been a little lazy.
That ends today. Today, I am the CEO of John R. Phythyon, Jr., Author, and this boss expects his workers to get something done while they’re on the clock. Since I’m also the main flunkie around here, I’ve got to get my butt in gear.
My business is suffering because I’m not working hard enough. I need to put more into my promotional efforts and ramp up the speed of my production.
All of that is details, though. The real issue is my approach to things. I’ve been enjoying being an author, and I’ve been taking it seriously. But I haven’t been thinking about it as a business.
I believe that is one of the most important keys to success as an indie author. Yes, you have to have a good book, with a great cover, and some sharp marketing, and a little (a lot?) luck. But you also need the attitude that this is your business. This is what you do for a living, even if you are working a 9-to-5 to pay the bills and drum up some investment capital for your writing venture.
Because if you’re not writing for business, you’re treating it as a hobby. That’s just fine if being an author isn’t your ultimate goal. You can be a hobbyist, and some people might even find and read your work.
But I am in this to be an author. I am convinced it is my destiny, my raison d’etre. That makes me a businessman. Time to act like it.