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You're Not An Author, You're A Business
Richard Hoy

About a year and a half ago I was talking on the phone to Lorretta, Angela's literary agent. Lorretta was the person who negotiated the deal for Angela and M.J.'s book How to Publish and Promote Online with St.Martin's Press.
I was trying to pick Lorretta brain for insights on how Booklocker.com might work with traditional publishers. (Lorretta is a former VP of Marketing for Harper Collins.) She gave me the soup-to-nuts view of how a book goes from concept to bookstore.

It was during that conversation that I began to realize ePublishing and traditional publishing have business models with irreconcilable differences. There are several such differences but, for the purpose of this article, I'll focus on how the role of author differs between the two models.

In the traditional publishing model, the author is a cog in the gears of a bigger process. They have a job, and that job is to submit a manuscript. Traditional publishers would rather the author didn't talk to them anymore after that.

In the epublishing model (or, at least, the Booklocker.com version of the epublishing model), the author is at the center of the process. We guide and advise them, but in the end, the authors decide how to bring their books to market. The author is essential to the process from start to finish.

Or to put it another way, in traditional publishing it is as if authors are employees, while with epublishing it is as if the authors are working for themselves.

Which model do you think can yield the most reward? Answer the question from your own experience. After all, how many people get rich working for someone else?

Doing it yourself scares the heck out of some authors. It means making decisions. It means taking risks. It means the possibility of failing. It means getting your hands dirty in the business side of publishing.

I can't kid you, being scared of those things is a valid reaction. But there are ways to make educated decisions. Ways to mitigate your risks. Ways to bounce back quickly from failure. And because the economics of ePublishing are so much in favor of the authors, even a moderate success can equal, or surpass, what you would get from traditional publishing.

The catch, of course, is the author has to get his or her hands dirty with the business side of things.

But being a guy who founded his own business, I don't see that as a catch at all. I see it as the biggest benefit. It means you're in control of your success.

Over the next several weeks I'm going to be writing columns that will teach you how to think of your books as products and the selling of those books as a business. We'll learn about things like defining your market, developing the product, setting prices, finding sales channels and measuring return on investment. In the process, I hope you come to realize as I did that traditional publishing is not a writer's only option. And that it is, in fact, the least desirable option when you consider how much money it actually puts in your pocket.

So I'll end this column with your first lesson in running a business.

Stop thinking of yourself as an author. You're a business person who is selling products that happen to be books you wrote.

Repeat until you believe it.

Type at you next week.

Richard Hoy is the co-owner of Booklocker.com, the most author-friendly epublisher online offering up to 70% royalties on eBooks, 35% royalties on print on demand books (the highest in the industry), and non-exclusive contracts. Booklocker.com strives to help authors make money by combining ePublishing with Internet marketing. See guidelines at: http://www.writersweekly.com/getpublished/published.html

To subscribe to WritersWeekly.com (it's FREE!), surf to: http://www.writersweekly.com

This articled be may be reprinted/redistributed freely as long as the entire article and byline are included.

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