Friday, December 7, 2012

Authors - Run your business like a business - Business post #1

If you are writing for money, earn a royalty check, get paid by Amazon Digital Services, Smashwords, or Pubit, then this subject is for you. I took two posts I wrote on FB and placed them here. Please send your author friends who are new to the business to look. Read over it, ask questions. This is your business folks, don't be afraid to run it as such.

Post #1
I know this isn't a popular subject or maybe it is right now depending on where you are sitting. If you are a full time author you need to diversify. You can not depend on any one publisher to be your meal ticket. And you actually shouldn't depend on any one genre to be your meal ticket.

I know it's not a popular choice for MM writers to write in MF too. Many authors see that as a slam against the genre, talking bad and spreading rumors about the authors who diversify, claiming that they are just trying to grab a piece of the pie, or that they are hacks and trying to take advantage of the genre. I can't say that there aren't authors who do this, only write MM because they want money, not because they care about the very real future of gays, lesbians and transgenders. Really, no one knows the real reason someone writes in a particular genre, and before you start throwing stones, you should ask.

But back to my original point. If you are an author, your future payments aren't guaranteed from the publisher. Publishers fail. Mystic failed this week. Trisklion failed a few years ago. Dorchester shut it's doors and many authors lost a lot. If you are self published, many of the storefronts have fiscal lack that they might pass on to you and defer payments to you by a month.

Then there is the IRS and how much of your money are you setting aside for taxes? You need to think like a small business person. Build up a 6 month money for a nest egg. Yes, that's difficult, but if this is your primary source of income then please, help yourself and put yourself in a position where you can cover one or two months if a publisher has difficulties.

Should the publisher pay you on time? YES! Should you find a good attorney to help you if your publisher doesn't? Most likely.

I know all new authors are excited when they get their first contract, then you move on to your second and soon you think you can quit your job and write full time. It's a difficult path and it will come with pain. Find a way to take care of yourself. You may love your publisher and the people you work with there, but at the end of the day any publisher, no matter how great they are, isn't on your side. They are a business and they will not take care of you. If they fail, they will not make sure you have enough money to survive. Remember, you need to put yourself first, not your publisher. If you are an established author, when you submit to a publisher, you are doing them a favor, not the other way around. Submit based on what will further your career, not because you feel indebted to the publisher because they took your first book or because you like them.

You are a business, find some resources and use them. Learn how to run a business. Best of luck."

Post #2
Attention all authors. If you are not looking at your royalty statement and checking for errors every month/quarter you need to. Personally, I transfer all of my numbers to a spreadsheet and calculate which titles are the most profitable. It takes me one morning a month to enter all the data.

This is a business folks and you need to make sure you are running your business properly. If a publisher over pays you, they have the right to ask for that money back. If they are underpaying you, you need to ask for your money. If you don't feel confident with numbers, then get your SO/spouse/partner or a trusted relative to help you out. If you have any questions, please send me a PM. Numbers are not something to be afraid of.

No comments: