Ten Best Author Investments

You may have heard that becoming an author is like running your own business. I think that is exactly how all authors should view their career. And keep in mind, a startup business takes seven to ten years before making any kind of profit. (There are ways to speed up the process…See Below.) 

Many people that start their own business invest their money on the wrong things, putting the cart before the horse. For example, they may purchase office space before their product or service has been introduced to the market. They would end up with an unknown company, attempting to sell an unproven product, while paying rent on office space and purchasing office equipment/furniture. 

It is common for authors to publish a book well before the author has any kind of audience, proven writing skills, or experience in self-marketing. The author is understandably excited, so he/she writes a book and invests money into their career, only to discover that they are seven to ten years away from making a profit. 

Losing money each year as an author can be heartbreaking. My advice is to invest wisely. 

Here are your top ten priorities, in order

~ Writing Supplies 

These days, a laptop or computer is necessary. You should also consider a voice recorder for when those inspirational moments pop into your head, along with anything else you personally need to write those books. 

Next, invest in… 

~ Books 

I honestly believe reading is more important than writing for an author. While 99% of the authors out there disagree with me, I am standing my ground. Reading will develop your skills as a writer and give you the inspiration to produce entertaining and marketable books. I also believe it is good for an author to miss a day of writing once in awhile, but it is unacceptable to miss a day of reading. 

You could argue that the purpose of an author is to write stories. I believe the purpose of an author is to write great stories, which begins with reading great stories. 

Next, invest in a… 

~ Content Editor 

I’m guessing that you skipped this investment. If you do not want to wait seven to ten years to have a career as an author, then invest in a content editor, who will advise you on everything that you are doing correctly, along with everything you need to work on. 

There are two parts to every manuscript: Storytelling and Mechanics. A content editor is a trusted advisor that knows how a book should read. Most authors go through years of rejection while trying to figure out what the heck they are doing wrong. A content editor will tell you exactly what you need to do. 

Probably the best content editors are experienced authors. A fair price to pay is two cents a word. If your manuscript is 80,000 words, then you would pay the content editor $1,600. However, my advice is to pay the content editor for only an initial review of your first couple of chapters, because the same mistakes you are making in the beginning of your book, you will make during your entire book. 

Remember that content editors fix storytelling problems, while grammatical editors fix mechanical problems. 

Next, invest in a… 

~ Grammatical Editor 

The content editor will catch most of your mistakes, but a grammatical editor will do the final polishing. 

Next, invest in a… 

~ Website 

Start simple, with one or two pages, then update each year as you grow. Do not make the mistake of investing unnecessary money on “bells and whistles” for your website. Keep it simple and professional. 

I did my own website to get started, but eventually, I needed a company to develop a website that would look professional and increase my web traffic. Check out Brand Eleven Eleven: www.brand1111.com 

Next, invest in… 

~ Networking  

This includes writing conferences, local business networks, and author groups. It also includes target audience networking. For example, if you wrote a cookbook, then you should attend cooking events, or cooking tradeshows. Wherever your local audience might be hanging out, you should be there shaking hands. Building relationships will build your career. 

Next, invest in… 

~ Branding 

Why do non-fiction books sell easier than fiction books? Because non-fiction authors have already built their brand and their fan base. Many authors believe that they cannot build a fan base without spending time and money on publishing. But if you think like a non-fiction author, then you will open new doors of opportunity. 

Examples: If you write children’s books, then develop a program for children. If you write romance novels, then start an advice blog. If you write horror novels, then write reviews on horror films. 

Once you are an expert in your genre, then you will build a fan base the same way as a non-fiction author. 

Next, invest your time and money in… 

~ Publishing  

Most authors jump to this investment. The new author is excited and wants their book to be sold. But without the correct writing and reading tools, along with a content editor, grammar editor, professional website, relationship building using networking, and a flourishing brand, the author has no chance of success. 

NOTE: Traditional publishing and self-publishing are simply ways to package a product

Next, invest in… 

~ Marketing  

Now you need bookmarks, flyers, posters, and other ancillary products to promote you and your work. Many times, you can use a promotional item as another way to earn money. For example, you could sell posters or T-Shirts that coincide with your books. 

Also, you can invest in book trailers, eNewsletter, and improving your chances of being noticed by others. In order to do all this, I once again suggest paying for a professional branding agency that will Create your brand, Convey your brand to others, and Connect your brand to readers, taking your Internet Marketing Campaign to another level. 

Next, invest in… 

~ Events  

This includes book signings, public speaking, or setting up a table at an event. Think like a politician on a campaign trail. You will need new clothes, travel expenses, and improved marketing strategies. 

Meanwhile, shake lots of hands, smile, and enjoy your life as an author. 

Ron Knight 

Author of Untraditional Publishing. Over a thousand tips for improving your writing, marketing, and book sales! $.99 cents on Smashwords. (Read the first 20 pages for free and get started on building your confidence as an author!) 

Launch your career to the next level by entering the UP Authors Promotion Contest! www.upauthors.com/events

Ron Knight

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  1. Loved your point about reading more than writing. I didn’t get into writing until as an adult and was an avid reader all through my teens, twenties, and thirties. I feel like that laid a much better foundation for my writing style.