Don’t Wait For Permission: Why Authors Should Be Entrepreneurs

David Gaughran

EntrepreneurSmallThe self-publishing blogosphere usually focuses on making money from genre fiction, and tends to advise producing as much quality work as you can as quickly as possible, and then marketing it aggressively.

That’s not bad advice at all, but there are many other types of books, several different kinds of authors, and multiple ways you can approach making a living.

Joanna Penn (writing as JF Penn) has hit the New York Times and USA Today bestseller lists with her fiction, but also has an extremely popular blog and podcast aimed at writers, as well as several non-fiction books.

I invited her along today to talk about her latest – Business For Authors: How To Be An Author Entrepreneur – in which Joanna provides excellent advice on ALL the ways that authors can monetize both their work and their knowledge/skills. And it’s especially useful for those who don’t fit exactly into…

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What Makes Good Fantasy?

Modern Fantastic

Taken from Carl Jung's personal diary The Red Book, Liber Novus Taken from Carl Jung’s personal diary The Red Book, Liber Novus

(Ah, Where Fantasy and Psychology meet!)

I talked to a woman yesterday who had an interest in what I did in my free time, while not at work. I told her I wrote fantasy novels, and she instantly smiled a matronly smile and asked what kind of fantasy. Choosing to talk about the latest WiP, I told her it was High Fantasy, where a bunch of people go on a journey. As an afterthought, I added it was similar in style to Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings trilogy, though not so descriptive.

She sighed. “Ah. Do you write anything else? I’m not much of a fan of Tolkien’s work.”

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Organizing Your Bookshelf

Johnny Reads

Bookshelf 2012 019

Photo Credit: Call Me Crazy Reviews

I know there are plenty of people who have books all over the place. The floor, the coffee table, the sofa…just about everywhere. I wouldn’t consider myself one of these people. I have my two shelves right here that are a bit dusty, but nonetheless fairly organized.

I’ve always wondered at how people organize their own shelves. Not really because I care, but because I can’t see myself organizing mine any differently. Before I tell you how I have my books organized, let’s talk about some ways you might organize yours.

Author Last Name

Fair enough. I think every bookstore I’ve ever been in has organized their books by author last name. The books are easy to find and you have all of the author’s books in close proximity to one another.

Genre

For all of you diverse readers, this may be best suited…

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Making Subplots Necessary

This Page Intentionally Left Blank

Subplots are, at best, distractions.

That’s a good thing.  When your main plot is moving slowly, or has to wait for something to happen, a subplot can come in and keep people interested.  Or, when something awful is happening and you don’t want the reader to put down the book because it’s too intense, a subplot can be just the thing to gloss it over and help bring the reader through.  In short, subplots are great when you need to distract.

But subplots can’t just spring from nowhere.  If you only acknowledge the existence of subplots for the few moments when you need to distract from the main plot, it’s going to feel contrived.  The subplots must be there already, available to be used for your purposes… but they’re still distracting.  Subplots aren’t as important as the main plot— that’s why they’re called subplots.

Does that mean you’re allowed…

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Author’s Advice (Part 1)

James Harrington's Blog of Geek and Writing

The best advice I can give to any new authors out there is probably going to surprise everyone:

Completely disregard what your potential audience may want.

Yup, you read that right. I’m giving you permission to be completely selfish with your writing, because it’s just that; YOUR WRITING! The characters you create are yours, the world you set them in are yours, you are God in that world and no one can tell you what to do with it… (Unless they bought the rights and are publishing it for you… then you may have to change a few things, but for the most part, it’s still yours.)

When you write, don’t write for what you think people would like or base what you do with a character on whether or not it’s PC or what is considered ‘right.’ There are no rights and wrongs in writing. You are free to…

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An Entrepreneur Builds a Brand in Eyewear

Late Blooming Entrepreneurs

Julie Allinson was 42 when she started Eyebobs, which offers high-quality, funky reading glasses at reduced prices. Fourteen years later, her company occupies almost all of a 37,000-square foot building near downtown Minneapolis, Minnesota.

Optical shops, clothing stores and even museum gift shops around the world carry Allinson’s eyeglasses.  She has a celebrity following that has included Katie Couric, Andrew Zimmern and the late Joan Rivers.

And what about the company’s name? As explained in this Forbes story written by Deborah L. Jacobs, “Eyebobs” is a play on Southern nicknames for guys — Jim Bob, Joe Bob, etc.  It also works for women who refer to their earrings as “earbobs.”  “I tell every guy named Robert that I named my company after him,” says Allinson.

In Forbes, she talks about the ingredients for starting a company. One is a strong support system that includes people who are risk-tolerant. If your family and closest friends are risk-averse, it’s better to…

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