Introducing Authorpreneurship

November 29, 2012 | By | 8 Replies More

The business of creativity is changing, not just in the formats in which ideas are presented internationally but also how authors perceive themselves.

Today, a creator needs to be an ‘authorpreneur’.

What is Authorpreneurship?

Author = originator

Entrepreneur = seller who initiates

These are Chinese Translations of Hazel Edwards’ books! (Photo by Mary Broome)

Apart from crafting words or images for specific audiences, ‘authorpreneurship’ means learning the marketing, publicity, and technological, legal and entrepreneurial skills to establish and maintain creative self-employment in the business of ideas.

Some feel uncomfortable with the idea of considering creativity a business. And they feel overwhelmed with the digital skills needed.

As a format-challenged author, I was a perfect case study. But I also had a number of rights-reverted books which had been ‘orphaned’ when major publishers merged or take-overs occurred. I was still getting requests for them and I didn’t have print copies. I wanted to give these titles a second chance as e-pubbed books, concentrated on my own site. Other well-published and new authors were in the same situation. They wanted to concentrate their own works on their own branded author site.

‘Authorpreneurship’ is a hard-to-spell, but apt title.

I’d used it for a number of years for my talks and workshops. I slowly accumulated answers to the most common questions creators were asking. It became a manual and then I decided to publish it as an e-book from my website. But, before I did, the Australian Society of Authors’ Keesing Press, which specializes in useful books for authors, asked if they could print and e-pub the book for their audience, allowing that I could still offer it as an e-book from my website. A perfect solution.

Even those who find the concept of linking creativity and business a philosophical challenge will find common sense approaches in the book. Beginners, mid-career and established creators alike will find strategies to use tomorrow in ‘Authorpreneurship’.

An Authorpreneur’s Brain by Sheila Hollingworth

In the book, ‘author’ includes any self-employed creators in the core business of ideas, whether illustrator, designer, writer or multi-skilled innovator in various mediums.

Many ‘authors’ are very small businesses or sole traders in ideas but unless they operate in a business-like manner, they will not survive.

IP (Intellectual Property) is the core business while time, energy and idea management is part of the process. Great ideas will not reach audiences unless the creators can stay in business and survive financially.

Constant innovation and the need to keep up can be overwhelming, especially when you are the only person to do it all. Authorpreneurship is about sharing strategies which enable you to work effectively at what you most enjoy doing, but also provide ways for you to streamline the process, so you can sell your ideas for longer, in varied new formats and to larger audiences.

Authorpreneurship is about investing in your creativity, without becoming exhausted or overwhelmed. Here is a selection of the chapter headings.

The Pro (Professional) section has chapters like:

  • Strategic Decisions
  • Asking for Payment and Costing Your Time
  • So You Want to Get Published
  • Using Author PR Photos
  • A Gentle Reminder for Conference Organisers
  • From Local to International

But it is the 20 part Hints section which contains shared advice from workshop participants which is most valuable for the general writer.

  1. Proposals Rather than Gambles
  2. Pitching for Business
  3. Finances, Agents & Legal Stuff
  4. Time &Travel & Energy Management
  5. Confidence, Success & Reputation
  6. Speaking Circuits
  7. Structuring Public Speaking With Fewer Hassles
  8. Speed Dating: Titles for Stories or Projects
  9. Collaboration
  10. Streamlining Research From Varied Sources
  11. Improving Workstyle , Space & Image
  12. Mentoring
  13. Niche Market: Mentoring  Picture Books
  14. Fans, Reviews, Critics and Privacy
  15. Talkback Radio from an Author’s Perspective
  16. TV Interviews from an Author’s Perspective
  17. The Etiquette of Literary Events, Launches etc
  18. Adaptations, Translations & Judging
  19. Surviving Rejection
  20. Health Warnings

I also include several case studies:

  • Charitable Educational Projects, Innovations & Contracting Payment
  • Long-Life Best Seller & Censorship: Cake-Eating Rooftop Hippo
  • Controversial YA Novel & Social Media Usage

Interestingly,  ‘Therapy Writing’, the non-commercial section which I added at the last minute for those writing ‘close to the heart’ on ‘passionate but maybe tragic subjects, has evoked the biggest response.

Cathartic writing as therapy is valid too, and the Hazelnuts group whom I mentor, are finishing their novels and non fiction, many of which are memoirs of challenging situations such as cancer or loss of a child.

The notion of ‘crafting’ with the audience as a priority, not just the writer’s needs is a valid therapy and produces more effective writing, without the tone overwhelming the reader.

Authorpreneurship;The Business of Creativity’ published by Keesing Press is her most recent book. E-pub version available from her online bookstore

Follow Australian author Hazel Edwards on Twitter @muirmoir

Visit Hazel Edwards’ website

A previous contributor to Women Writers, Women Books, visit her author page:  Hazel Edwards.

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Category: Australian Women Writers, Contemporary Women Writers

Comments (8)

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  1. Jess Mahler says:

    I’ve always seen myself as an author and an entrepreneur–Awesome to see the two combined into one.
    Definitely a book I have to pick up!

  2. Coral Tulloch says:

    Well done Hazel! You put so much work into this and it will help so many…as you have always helped so many!

  3. Jeni Mawter says:

    If anyone in this universe can guide writers through the turmoil of publication and a cultural revolution with writing, it’s Hazel!

    A MUST for writers new and jaded 🙂

  4. Thanks to all who commented. ‘Authorpreneurship’ has been participant-observation research as I learn the new ways too, and am still challenged by fomatting my comments! Maybe the audio version will be the next challenge? Or smellovision?

  5. Sam Sochacka says:

    I am an aspiring children’s author, and I think that every aspiring author should have at least one copy of this book by their side at all times. I might add, that once I become an established author, my copy of “Authorpreneurship – the business of creativity” will still be by my side.

    I am hard-pressed to nominate my favourite feature of this book. I am however, most appreciative of the very concept of an “Authorpreneur”. It is very encouraging to have what I spend so much of my time doing recognised as a business, and not just a creative pursuit. I now have a structured and informed process for going about my business of selling ideas, or Intellectual Property. And given the time of year, I am also well-armed with knowledge and examples to defend my career choice at the the Christmas Lunch Table.

    Thank you to Hazel Edwards for paving the way for the next generation of Australian authors.

  6. Pauline says:

    In most cases, the resources a publisher can or is willing to allocate to publicising your book is limited. Whether we like it it not, nowadays most writers need to work at promoting their books. Edwards’ book Authorpreneurship is the ultimate writer’s handbook – offering invaluable advice on subjects ranging from time management to marketing and remaining sane!

  7. ‘Authorpreneurship: The Business of Creativity’ has helped me enormously this last year in the editing, publishing and selling of my book ‘The Hidden Diffability: Discovering Aspergers’, in both e- and p- versions. To have Hazel’s wealth of knowledge and business acumen wrapped up into one package is truly convenient. Highly recommended.

  8. Carolyn Hirsh says:

    A brilliant book. A must for any aspiring author. What seems overwhelming becomes possible using Hazel’s book.

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