This is my first foray into the lovely Indie Life blog hop. I’ve been reading for months and have just screwed up my courage to jump in myself. Hosted every 2nd Wednesday of the month by the Indelibles, a group of bloggers post about indie life, find each other, offer support, share news, and talk about life as an indie author. See the full linky list of participating authors here. Read some of the posts and think about joining in.
As authors, we like to talk about ourselves as creative beings following our unique personal muse, which we are to a certain extent, but as indie authors we are also small business owners. We don’t produce books out of thin air. We need to work with editors, cover designers, printers, distribution companies, and marketing outlets in order to get a book into readers hands.
As indie authors, we wear several different hats at the same time. When we are writing, we create with abandon. We need to think of the piece as an artistic expression separate from market forces or profit. Once the manuscript is done though, we have to take off our artist hats and put on our small business owner hats to think about things like placement in the market, overhead expenses, and taxes. In short, we need to think about money.
Before I started writing seriously, I had a small custom drapery business. I started that business on a whim, enjoyed the creative challenges involved with building a valance that repeated the same fabric motif in the center of the three differently sized parts of a bay window, then closed it when it ceased to be fun. I took that business from making fancy cornices for a few friends, to the point where I needed to hire subcontractors to fill all my orders and had to spend one whole day a week managing invoices. It got to the point where my distaste for dealing with grouchy sub-contractors and fussy clients outweighed my love of creating beautiful things from lengths of fabric. I decided to push my industrial sewing machine into the corner and refocus my time on writing. I love writing far more than I ever liked sewing. It was something I was good at, not something that woke me up in the middle of the night and drew me to the page.
Writing is a passion that authors share. Business management is not. Not every author wants to be a small business owner. I’ve noticed that many of my writer friends stop listening when conversations about marketing and distribution pop up during critique group meetings. They have no desire to know anything about what it takes to get a book from concept to product. Any mention of money seems to shut them down. And, that’s okay. It is perfectly fine to write for the sake of writing. As long as they love what they are doing, the work itself can be enough for many people. I, on the other hand, want my books to get in people’s hands. I want to think of my writing career as a career, rather than a hobby. I am willing to roll up my sleeves and get my hands dirty.