Friday, September 05, 2008

Authors Use Books as a Career Opportunity

Business entrepreneurs find the business aspect of being an author just as important as writing the book. Four authors/businesspersons share their road to writing, business, and book marketing success on September’s Writers in the Sky (WITS) Podcast.

Being an author these days is as much about being a businessperson as it is about writing a bestseller. With so many authors taking the publish-on-demand (POD) route to bring their books to market, authors have the responsibility for promoting their own work. The publicity a book requires to be successful could become a career in itself.

Gone are the days when an unknown author can expect to be picked up by a conventional publishing house and get a free ride with upfront advances. In fact, authors are paying thousands of dollars to have their books published on demand. Authors must be able to convince a publisher that they can sell their books. And, publishers are not usually willing to invest a lot of time and money on a book that has meager potential.

Podcast host Barbara Milbourn is an editor on the WITS team who works with authors to prepare their books for publishing. “If a book is not well-written or has grammatical and mechanical errors, it will struggle to find success on the market, says Milbourn. “If it happens to be a super book and the author gets it out there, it may endure mixed reviews like this: ‘I love this book. Had it not been so jammed with great info, I would have been more turned off by the typos and somewhat disjointed nature of the read.’ This is an actual review posted on Amazon for the first edition of a book that was not carefully edited and proofread. I’m happy to say the author and I are working together on his second edition. It is important for a book be edited and proofread before the querying process begins.”

And once a book hits the market, the author’s work is not over. Books must compete for sales in a shaky economy. They need to be of top-notch literary quality in order to turn enough profit to make the publishing process worthwhile. “Writing a book and bringing it to market is the beginning of the author’s job. Promoting a book can easily become a full-time business in itself,” says Yvonne Perry, podcast host and owner of Writers in the Sky Creative Writing Services. “If an author understands the book publishing industry and how to market a book online, he or she has a better chance of becoming a successful author.” Perry is the author of five books including an eBook titled Book Marketing in a Digital Age Online Promotion Made Easy that she plans to release in October.

September 5
Tamera Lawrence, author of The Pond is interviewed by podcast host, Barbara Milbourn. The Pond is a twisty little mystery/thriller partially based on a true event as told to the author by her mother. Twenty-five years have passed since eight-year-old Carl Weber drowned in Gray’s Pond and now his best friend has returned to the area with his wife and daughter to reside at his parent’s estate.

Strange things begin to happen. Tension builds with each odd occurrence, and the reader gets closer to the edge of their seat as the mystery unfurls. As a young girl Tamera loved to read and aspired to become a writer. Somewhere between raising six children and helping her husband run his business, she accomplished her first work and is on to the second. In the interview Barbara and Tamera will discuss the book’s content as well as how Tamera became a businesswoman as a result of her book and the writing process.

September 12

Barbara Milbourn served as copy editor and proofreader for Linda Ballou’s book Wai-nani: High Chiefess of Hawai’i. Barbara and Linda will discuss the writing process of the book, its content, and briefly how an author works with an editor. Wai-nani is an historical novel couched in magical realism set in pre-contact Hawai’i. Wai-nani’s character is inspired by the favorite wife of Kamehameha the Great, who was responsible for ending the 2,000-year-old Polynesian kapu system. Linda Ballou is an author and businesswoman who did it right. Careful and diligent at every turn, she began by living there—experiencing it first-hand—and went on to years of careful and voluminous research of the period and place, people and language, plants and land and sea. Then she willed her poetic travel writing talent to pull it together and bring it back to life. In her thinking place, she sat with it and when she was ready to bring it out of her drawer she went on the hunt for the right editor, the right publisher, the right illustrator. That team in place, and the work nearly complete, and knowing the job wasn’t done yet, the ultimate businesswoman went to work on marketing. The book was released in June, and the business of it goes on.

September 19
Yvonne Perry’s interview with Lillian Brummet on the business aspect of freelance writing. Lillian is a radio talk show host, environmentalist, successful author, and businesswoman. Yvonne is an author, experienced freelance writer and editor, who operates a writing and editing business, publishes a newsletter, manages a blog, and provides a podcast for authors.

September 26
Sarah Moore will interview Dennis Snow about his book, Lessons from the Mouse. Dennis is a writer, consultant, and public speaker who uses his twenty years of experience with the Walt Disney World Company to share how organizations can create “walk through fire” customer loyalty. Using Disney as the premier example of service excellence, each chapter develops a specific lesson with relevant examples from diverse industries and discussion questions to generate strategies for creating outstanding customer service.

Can a book be a cornerstone for a business? Can a business be promoted by launching a book? Yes, and yes. If a quality book on a hot topic is marketed well, it can create a business opportunity for its author. A businessperson such as Dennis Snow, who has already carved his niche as a speaker and consultant, can use his book to extend the reach toward his target market.

Sarah Moore is the author’s assistant and podcast coordinator on the WITS team. She helps authors with the development of marketing text for books, which she has often edited or proofread. Sarah worked with Dennis to create a media kit to help him garner more speaking engagements Learn more about the business and craft of writing through the Writers in the Sky Podcast at

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