Let me repeat: It’s a Business

Writing is a business word cloud

Writing is a business not just art. Success hinges on more than your well-written words. Unless we view it as a business and dig in to learn how to run it, then our words will always be a hobby and few people will see them. That was the theme of many of the classes and workshops I attended at a recent writer’s conference.

Don’t stuff your ears

It’s been the trumpet call for years and yet writers resist the call. We stuff cotton in our ears and say I just want to write. My words have value. Let’s not sully them with marketing and social media forays.

I’ve been struggling to do what I can to build a platform. Every time platform was mention groans of frustrated echoed in the room.

man in blue and brown plaid dress shirt touching his hair

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Groan worthy moment

I just discovered the reason I couldn’t post on Instagram on my laptop. Instagram is a mobile app only. That means I can read and follow on my PC, but it limits posting to my cell phone. (Sigh!!!) I’ve still got a lot to learn.

 

Cross-pollination

The key tidbit I took away from the conference was cross-pollination. Writers need to add speaking, coaching and teaching to their toolbox. I’ve been writing for years and speaking on occasion. Expanding my speaking platform makes sense. I’ve made a list of how I need to go about making that happen.

animal bee bloom blooming

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Another part of cross-pollination is writing articles from the content of your books. Write on the same theme in a variety of venues. My heart is to help others. This blog and articles I publish are how-to and helping pieces about writing, and a few other topics near to my heart. My novels have characters who need help to find healing and open their hearts to love.

person holding black pen

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Dreaded paperwork

Another piece of the business of writing is having a tax advisor who knows what you need to sell books at venues in your state. Some authors feel awkward charging customers sales tax. You are selling a product. If you don’t charge it, then it comes out of your pocket. The IRS will not be happy if you don’t pay taxes. You must understand what paperwork they require for your income tax at years end too. What can you claim as a deduction and where to send your sales tax?

Hire help

You can hire accountants, tax advisors or marketing gurus to do these things. My marketing gal does most of my social media, creates memes and tracks results. I choose to do some of it myself too. Numbers and I have never been friends. My tax guy is outstanding, and my hubby keeps the books for free.

Ask others

I wasn’t shy about asking other authors what resources they used to run a successful business. I’ve a lot of work still ahead as I navigate building my writing career. Longing for the days when publishers built careers won’t sell books or grow my income. It’s up to me to make it happen. And that is a tough steak to chew. But chew it I will.

How do you run your writing business? What new things have you taken on to make it a success? Comment below so we can encourage one another.

 

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Don’t Leave Money On the Book Table

bank-2029480_640Today I’m going to share a simple marketing tip. It’s sort of a no-brainer. Yet, many writers struggle with it. Last week when I had my book launch I’d read a discussion on Facebook which brought the topic to mind. And as a former MLM sales person I remembered the phrase. “Don’t leave any money on the table.”

My fellow authors were discussing the use of the Square vs the PayPal App on their phones to take debit and credit cards. The idea can be a bit scary if you’ve never done any banking on your phone. You younger writer probably do it without a thought. But for those of us who prefer to see the check deposited at the bank, this is a definite step out of our comfort zone.

The nice thing about the Square or PayPal there is no monthly fee. It’s pay as you go. You use the app and there is a small fee. I have a PayPal account. But I didn’t want to add it to my phone. Why? No idea. I purchased a square. Which is actually free. You get you $10 back after the first use. The phone store I purchased it from explained they had to have a price on it for inventory purposes.

 

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Why did I choose the square? My hair stylist uses it along with a few authors I respect. The recommendations of others is everything.

It is easy to install and easy to use. Be sure to get the Wi-Fi password of the location you’re at before you begin selling books. Or have a hotspot app on your phone for the same thing. This would be true using PayPal app as well.

These apps hold your money and transfer it to your bank after a few days. So, no one can steal any info or your funds.

Keep in mind you’re not only an author but a business owner. Don’t leave money on the table. Once a potential buyer has your book in their hands they need to purchase it. If you don’t take cards and they leave your table, even with a bookmark reminder, they may not ever buy your book.

The reason I recommend either the Square or PayPal is the no monthly fees. Some of you may have found another way. Back in the day when I had a mail-order book business and went to homeschool conventions to sell books I had one of those manual credit card machines. A big hassle. And the automated ones you see in stores and some vendors at craft shows use them have larger fees than these two simple phone apps.

You may be more comfortable with the older technology or the manual method. Either way be sure you give your perspective reader every option to purchase your book.

And I’d like to address one final argument for those of you who refuse to take cards because you don’t want to pay fees. Would you rather sell five books at full price or 20 and pay a small fee?

What device do you use when you have book signings and other events?