BusinessForAuthors_JoannaPennOver the past year or so it’s become clear that I want to make a real go at this writing thing. I love writing stories and getting them in front of people. It’s also an absolute blast to hear from someone who loves what I write. Among my goals for 2015 is to bring the writing to the next level, not only creatively but from the business side as well.

I’ve learned quite a bit form Joanna Penn over the past year on writing and the business of it by listening to her podcast and listening to her guest on other people’s podcast. When she was on the Rocking Self Publishing Podcast a few weeks ago talking about her new Business for Authors: How To Be An Author Entrepreneur book, I knew I had to get it right away.

It was an excellent purchase!  I listened to the audio book this week while I drove to San Francisco and back on a trip related to my day job. It was six hours packed with solid, actionable information. When I got to SF after the drive, I texted Will that he needed to read this book right away, too, since we ultimately want to form a business together. We even had a business meeting when I got home mid-week so that we can start behaving like a business in 2015, even if there’s not an official business yet.

Penn opens the book with a look at how to go from author to author entrepreneur and that was exactly what I needed to hear to help focus my brain on the business side of things. It also helped me see if I needed an actual company, which I don’t think I do… yet. The other parts of the book that were super helpful were financials, strategy and planning along with the next steps. Financials brought some focus to the different streams of income that are out there, as well as how to manage costs and even funding the business in the beginning. Strategy and planning gave me more than I expected. As a project manager by day, I know a lot about planning, but Penn brought some clarity into what I need to think about as the author entrepreneur to make mange my time and business well.

While the above three sections had the most bang, the rest of the book was full of much needed info. Products and services seemed like a pretty simple idea, but there were still things I wasn’t thinking about in terms of my offerings and how to maximize them. As I look at expanding my platform next year the sales and distribution chapter was very helpful in pointing out some things in self publishing I hadn’t considered yet. Marketing, too, was a much needed chapter and convinced me I need to read Penn’s marketing book (which is in my Kindle) sooner rather than later. I get better at marketing with each release, but there’s far more I could be doing and likely be doing it more efficiently. I’m a long way from having employees and contractors, but I did get some good information for when that time comes.

I definitely recommend this book to all of my author friends who are in the same spot I’m in–written a few things and looking how to grow it–or to those who are already in business and looking to get some additional insights from a pro.

Meanwhile, I’m going to be working with this book some more. There are downloads to get online with worksheets to fill out that I need to do since I was driving as I read. I expect I’ll be referencing this book a lot in the coming year.