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Taking Care of Business: The Writer’s Edition

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Authorpreneur is a term often used to identify authors who embrace the business side of writing. And though the term doesn’t quite roll off the tongue, it does capture the essence of what writers who hope to make a living from their writing have to be—author entrepreneurs. Even authors with traditional contracts will tell you there’s much more to a successful writing career than daily word counts.

From designing graphics for use on social media, to preparing for a rainy day, the savvy authorpreneur should have a virtual toolbox on hand to help them with the business side of a writing career. Fortunately, there are dozens of affordable apps and online tools available to help. Here are five I’ve researched and either currently use or plan on using in the near future.

Consistent design across your author platform helps establish your brand. Yes, you have a brand. At its simplest, your author brand is how you present yourself to your audience. It includes things like your book covers, website, blog posts, and messaging. The good news is that when it comes to social media and web content imaging, you don’t need a design degree or Photoshop to bring cohesiveness to your messaging. Enter Canva [1]. Canva allows even the most design-challenged writer to create visually appealing social media graphics and presentations, including Twitter and Facebook headers and posts, image quotes, and business cards. Canva has both free and paid options.

Email Marketing
You’ll want to share your wonderful new designs on social media, but you’ll also want to send them to your email list. You have an email list, right? No worries if the answer is no, because it’s never too late to start one. There are many good options out there for email marketing, but I’ve found Mailerlite to be one of the easiest, most affordable ways for authors to create and manage email lists. Mailerlite [2] has a drag-and-drop newsletter builder, email automation, easy landing-page builder, and a WordPress plugin that allows for quick email sign up integration on WordPress sites. Their basic plan starts at $10/month.

Sales Analysis
Your designs were a hit, your email campaigns boosted sales, and now you want to analyze the numbers. If you’re an indie or hybrid author who sells your books on Amazon, you’ve seen the nightmare that is Amazon’s sales reporting. Book Report [3] offers a simple, streamlined way to view your up-to-the-minute Amazon sales data across several territories. And the easy-to-add browser extension will have you up and running in minutes. Book Report is free if your monthly sales are under $1,000 and increase to $19/month when monthly sales pass that threshold.

That beautiful ringing in your ear is the sound of your cash register drawer opening and sales flowing in. Now it’s time to track your sales and expenses and, of course, pay Uncle Sam. Everyone’s heard the name, but maybe you weren’t aware that Quickbooks had a product for self-employed individuals. Quickbooks Self Employed [4] has neat features like automatic mileage tracking, expense and income tracking, and quarterly tax calculations. The basic plan starts at $10/month. 

One of our biggest fears as self-employed writers centers around accident or illness that would prevent us from writing and earning an income. Trupo [5] is short-term disability insurance for freelancers and the self-employed.  It allows you to decide how much of your average income you want to insure and charges a monthly premium based on that figure. Then, if an illness or injury keeps you from working for more than a week, Trupo will send you up to 50% of your normal income for up to three months. Think of Trupo as Aflac for the self-employed. Trupo is currently in pre-launch mode, but there is a waiting list sign-up you can access here [5].

Over to you. Do you consider yourself an authorpreneur? If so, what are the most helpful tools in your business toolbox?

About Grace Wynter [6]

Grace Wynter (she/her) is a writer, freelance editor, and a huge fan of shenanigans. Her blogs (and a few of her shenanigans) have been featured on CNN.com and the Huffington Post. She is a freelance editor for the Atlanta Writers Club’s biannual conference and has edited for FIYAH and Macmillan/Tor. Her debut novel, Free Falling, was a Georgia Romance Writers’ Maggie Award finalist. When she’s not alternating between the Marvel and DC universes, Grace resides in Atlanta, Georgia. You can connect with her at The Writer’s Station The Writer’s Station [7], and on her author website, GGWynter ggwynter.com [8].