Why the 21st Century Author is an Internet Entrepreneur

Twenty-six year-old Amanda Hocking doesn’t fit existing stereotypes of Internet entrepreneurs.

Described by the New York Times as a “hipster schoolgirl,” Amanda favors Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles t-shirts, jeans, and prefers to go sans shoes.

Well, perhaps her fashion sense meets with some entrepreneurial stereotypes.

The similarities seemingly end there when you consider that Amanda is an author of fiction. Specifically, she writes paranormal-romance fiction involving vampires, trolls, and zombies.

Amanda’s been profiled in the Times and many other places because she’s sold around $2,000,000 in ebooks — without a publisher. She was one of the early success stories to come out of the Kindle Store, joining James Patterson and Stieg Larsson as one of the bestselling digital authors on Amazon.

Now, things have changed.

Amanda has a deal with St. Martin’s that pays $2 million upfront for her next four books. Her “Trylle” series of books has been optioned by Hollywood, with the screenplays penned by one of the scribes of the film District 9.

It’s certainly an amazing story. But does she qualify as an entrepreneur, much less an Internet entrepreneur?

Is Amanda Hocking an Internet Entrepreneur?

First, let’s be clear on what an entrepreneur is.

Here is the classic 12-word definition of an entrepreneur from Harvard Business School professor Howard Stevenson:

Entrepreneurship is the pursuit of opportunity without regard to resources currently controlled.

So, let’s take a look at what Amanda did to generate that $2,000,000 in revenue.

She’d completed her first novel at age 17, which was rejected by over 50 publishers. Years later, Amanda took a decidedly different approach:

  1. In 2009, Amanda started treating writing as a job, not a hobby (it’s a business venture).
  2. She began combing bookstores and doing industry research to see what was getting published and selling, as well as reading a lot in her genre (market research).
  3. She continued to submit her manuscripts to New York, and continued to be denied. Her last form rejection letter arrived in February of 2010 (no access to or control of traditional resources).
  4. In April of 2010, Amanda digitized her book “My Blood Approves” into the new .mobi format for the Kindle reader (adoption of a new technology standard) and uploaded it to the Amazon’s Kindle Store (exploitation of an emerging online marketplace).
  5. She offered her books for $.99 to $2.99 (industry pricing disruption).
  6. Profit?

On the first day, Amanda sold 5 books. The next day provided similar results.

A couple of months later, things got out of hand:

  • June 2010, she sold 6,000 books
  • July 2010, 10,000 books
  • January 2011, over 100,000 books
  • Summer of 2011, 9,000 books each day

Sounds Like an Internet Entrepreneur to Me

It seems like a magical story, but Amanda was very deliberate. She treated her book as a startup.

Then lightening struck, which is what would-be authors inspired by her meteoric rise tend to focus on. Most often, that won’t be the case.

Amanda was in the right place, at the right time, with the exact right product. It’s the way markets are supposed to operate if you eliminate all the noise. And make no mistake — a great book that people want to read is still the core requirement.

The opportunities for the authors of great digital books, whether fiction or nonfiction, are still in the infancy stage. But you’re going to have to add one exceptionally important element to Amanda’s deliberate approach.

You can’t depend on the marketplace to notice the book on its own until you’ve sparked enough initial sales. But how do you make sales otherwise?

It’s a classic chicken and egg situation, until you tilt things in your favor.

One way or another, you need to build an audience. And the smart entrepreneurial approach for authors involves creating free online content to build that audience before you try to sell a book (or anything else).

In other words, become an Internet publishing entrepreneur. Your first book is simply your first product, no matter the level of artistry you put into it, and your biggest asset is your audience.

Luckily, this entrepreneurial process can be much more lucrative than the indentured old school approach. Ironically, it’s the traditional publishing industry that gets credit for kindling this entrepreneurial fire among authors.

Big Publishing Drops the Audience Ball

Trey Ratcliff is a photographer who built a blog to showcase his work. The audience that platform attracted resulted in three prospective publishing deals.

Trey went with Peachpit Press, due to their size and reputation in the photography niche. Out to a fancy dinner with some of Peachpit’s top executives, Ratcliff realized the true nature of his publishing deal.

In his own words:

I’m sitting there in a nice restaurant in San Francisco with all these executives of a major publishing house. It’s one of these power dinners of lore. We’re there to discuss the upcoming launch of the book, and I’ll never forget what happened. They asked me, “OK, Trey, what are you going to do to market this book?”

It’s the dirty little secret no one tells you about the modern book deal: it’s up to the author to drum up interest, publicity, and sales for the book, despite the fact that publishers are ostensibly still in the “distribution” business.

It didn’t have to be this way.

To this day, Internet pundits plead with publishers to build “huge, vertical-specific communities, prime them with regular non-book value and establish direct relationships.” But the publishers rejected that very advice over a decade ago, a decision that forced authors to become online marketers, even within the context of the traditional book deal.

Author and entrepreneur Seth Godin saw it happen, upfront and personal.

A former book packager, Seth shifted to the Internet early, founding the email marketing firm Yoyodyne in 1995 and selling it to Yahoo! in 1998 for $30 million.

Godin’s first bestseller, 1999’s Permission Marketing, explained the online marketing practices he developed that allowed direct and profitable relationships with prospects. Moreover, the book itself achieved outsized sales using the very strategies and tactics Seth preached, via an opt-in email list that grew rapidly as Godin gave away a third of the book for free in exchange for an email address.

Seeing first hand the power of establishing a direct relationship with prospective book buyers, Seth tried to help the publishing industry see the power of building an audience for themselves and on behalf of authors.

How could an industry that exists to distribute books not want incredibly cost-effective direct distribution?

Strangely, Seth’s ideas were ignored, and sometimes rejected with the type of venom that accompanies an abject fear of change. Instead, the collective choice among book publishing companies was to throw authors under the bus and see who survived.

“By 2002, it was clear the publishers were not going to build an online audience,” Godin told me for this article. “The authors had to do it themselves.”

Got Audience, Why Stop at Books?

Meanwhile, Trey Ratcliff did some math.

The excited new author went to work, drumming up pre-sales support from his audience with a limited-edition print, along with a signed copy of the book. He promoted relentlessly via his blog and on Twitter. He even arranged and paid for his own book tour.

The book was a roaring success, selling out on Amazon in the US, UK, Canada and Australia. At that point, after all that hard work, Trey realized just how tiny his 15% royalty rate really was. Peachpit kept 85%, which in turn went to printing, physical distribution, big New York offices, staff, lawyers, bookstores, etc.

In other words, no one was making any money.

It was Trey, however, who was in the unique position to do something smarter. After all, he had the audience that attracted the publishers in the first place.

So, he became the publisher by founding Flatbooks. His fledgling ebook business hit 6 figures in revenue almost immediately, and now boasts 80% profit margins.

The secret to the quick success of FlatBooks? According to Ratcliff, it’s the audience-enabled author:

The best way to successfully market something is to have true believers with big followings talk about it on the Internet. Since we have many authors who are socially popular, a multiplier effect begins to take place.

Notice he said “successfully market something,” which is specifically not limited to ebook publishing. Once you have an audience, the door opens to consulting, paid speaking, software, innovative new platform launches, and more.

You’re really only limited by the needs and desires of your audience.

Three Key Takeaways:

  1. If your goal is to write books and make a living from them, build your audience before you need it. Start today.
  2. Don’t think self-published. Think publisher. Better yet, digital media producer.
  3. Accelerate. Once the audience is on your side, books are only the beginning. Be more like Jay-Z than James Patterson.

Not every author will do this, unfortunately. Many will grasp dearly to the Amanda Hocking story, depending on Apple and Amazon to become the new intermediaries that “magically” make them rich.

But Apple and Amazon don’t make money from caring about you. They’ll aggregate the hopes and dreams of millions along the long tail, letting just enough new stars shine to keep the dream alive.

At least the traditional publishers pretended to care.

Regardless, it’s up to you … now more than ever. Go make an audience happen.

Brian Clark is Editor-in-Chief of Entreproducer, a multimedia email publication exploring the business of independent digital media. Get more related content on Twitter.

Here’s what Entreproducer covers:

  • The business, revenue, staffing, and legal models that move you from content start-up to success.
  • Audio and video profiles of the entrepreneurs and companies that are pushing digital content innovation.
  • Tips, tools, and tactics for getting online content to work for you, no matter how you make money.

Get the Entreproducer multimedia email newsletter delivered weekly … no charge.


  1. I have nothing worthwhile to add. I’m just happy to be the first commenter on the first post on entreproducer 😉

  2. Thanks for using your first post on books Brian!

    I think what’s interesting is how your points are already established wisdom amongst indie authors and have been for a number of years now. It seems like traditional media is just catching on though, and finally the stigma of self-publishing is being destroyed by indies who believe in delivering quality to an audience we care about.

    Indie (independent) authors are those of us who consider ‘author-entrepreneur’ to be the best position to be in. We take our businesses seriously as authors and our books as products. We have launches, marketing campaigns, we have our own lists, we write articles, we have P&L statements for our books. So the information you guys at Copyblogger have been sharing for years is the staple of internet marketing for books and authors, as much as any other products.

    On your takeaways, it is a little different selling fiction than it is selling non-fiction. You certainly need an audience before you need it with non-fiction but I have found (as someone doing both) that fiction sells in much bigger numbers to people surfing the categories on Amazon. So rankings and reviews count for more than your platform elsewhere. Unlike non-fiction where big bloggers can sell to their existing audience. A standout anomaly in this field is John Green, YA author who uses video blogging to crush the book sales.

    This is also interesting to me: “Be more like Jay-Z than James Patterson.”
    Patterson is one of the most highly paid authors in the world, with a stable of co-writers producing a book a month and making $67million last year. Whether you like his books or not, he is definitely an author -entrepreneur and started life in marketing. He’s actually one of my business idols (although I’m not so keen on his writing!) So stopping at books can actually be quite lucrative for the author-entrepreneur.

    I’m looking forward to hearing what else is coming on this project. Presumably you’re not going the traditional route for your book?

    • Brian Clark says:

      Thanks for the detailed comment, Joanna. Yep, I know that you and others like you have “gotten it” for years. My hope for the article is to smash the last indication that “traditional publishing” is somehow more worthy. I see it as less worthy, so I won’t be taking a book deal myself.

      On the audience-building for fiction writers, I agree it can be tough. But that doesn’t mean people shouldn’t get creative (love the video example). Even a small loyal following for fiction writers can spur enough initial sales to get the reviews, and the placement, in Amazon.

      As for Patterson, I meant no disrespect to him. What I mean is, he’s primary sticking to books. Jay-Z built an audience with music, and then leveraged that to go into multiple other lines of business (notably clothing and ownership in music labels). I’m not sure who is making more money (and that’s not always the right metric), but I know Jay-Z could never make another song and still maintain a net worth estimated at between $500 million and $1 billion. That came from diversification built from the music, not the music itself.

      • Thanks Brian, you’re right about Patterson – although there are a few fiction authors who have embraced courses teaching other authors (myself included). For example, how to write a fight scene, or how to write a novel, character or world building. One of the issues with fiction authors selling to other writers is it is a traditionally ‘poor’ market i.e. most writing courses are cheap, so margins are smaller than other niches. There’s more love than money in a lot of fiction 🙂 but passion in entrepreneurship is also important, right!

    • I meant to comment on this earlier — I LOVE that you referenced Jay-Z here, Brian (Joanna + friends).

      Jay-Z is one of my key, #1 role models. What he’s spun his creative talent into is amazing. It’s also something i intend to blow out of the water 🙂

      Some call it ambitious, I call it the natural progression of things 🙂

      I wrote a 9 part series on how Jay-Z is a spiritual guru on my old site, maybe I’ll resurrect it 🙂

      Keep Entreproducing 😀

  3. Great overview of the case studies presented Brian 🙂
    I look forward to reading this book when it comes out, but until then, you’ve got my attention.
    And, yes, I think there is TREMENDOUS opportunity for anyone who has a book in them to build an audience in this digital culture that has developed over the last 10 years.

  4. Great start Brian and an exciting first post for Entreproducer!

    I guess we know by now that it’s all about creating awesome content, but this is a really interesting shift in emphasis from the business of producing regular, short form content to more occasional ‘monolithic’ content such as a full length book.

    The idea of author as entrepreneur is a powerful one and I think it will finally unlock something in the minds of many people with big ideas who are struggling to get them ‘out there’. And it gives a place at the table for those authors whose content is about entertaining rather than teaching their audiences.

    Excited to see what Entreproducer will be bringing us over the next weeks and months!

  5. Your 3 takeways are super important. I’ve long been a fan of approaching anything you care about with methodical, obsessive, focus and this article reinforces the value of this approach. I have a good start on Takeaway #1, now it’s time to add #2 and #3 to the mix.

  6. Nicholas Tozier says:

    Really glad you made the distinction between “be self-published” and “be a publisher, yourself.” it’s tempting to think we can let the dog eat our homework and focus on the writing itself… But a blogger is really an editor-in-chief, and an author now is her own publishing house (hopefully less stubborn and more adaptable than several of the large houses).

  7. I’ve had quite a few books published by conventional publishers. I’ve also published my own books. I love the control that creating my own product and managing its distribution myself gives me. I’m also happy to have more than a small percentage of the revenue flowing into my bank account.

    You say:
    “If your goal is to write books and make a living from them, build your audience before you need it. Start today.” ………. It’s the words “and make a living from them” that are so important. Most authors accept that they won’t make much from their books so they don’t do this.

    Thanks for stressing the importance of building your audience. It reall is the key to success.

  8. This post comes at a good time for me. I’m busy with my first serious writing project, and like Amanda, I’m doing it as a business move rather than a hobby right now. Dare I say I’m trying to follow Steven Pressfield’s advice and go pro?

    Thing is, I have a bit of a list starting to grow. At this stage I find it challenging to grow my list, keep them enchanted and happy and do serious writing in between all that. But I guess that’s what author-entrepreneurs need to learn to do. And that’s what will bring the results eventually…

    I would love to hear the stories of some entrepreneurs who had more realistic success. Is there someone whose story we can hear who’s making $5,000 from their first book? Or something similar? I’m not against thinking big, but I guess that it’s easier to believe in stories that seem more realistic and attainable in a crowded marketplace.

    Thanks for the great article Brian.

    • Hi Dries, I think I might be someone more realistic! I have sold just over 25,000 copies of my first thriller, Pentecost and the 2nd in the series, Prophecy has just come out. I have made around $10,000 from the book so far – more than the average advance from a trad publisher for a first time novelist.
      I’m also an author-entrepreneur selling non-fiction products to authors. I started my business 4 years ago part-time and then moved into it full-time last October.
      So it is realistic and it is attainable. I hope that helps?
      Thanks, Joanna

      • Brian Clark says:

        I think I see a profile of Joanna in the future of Entreproducer (I hope). 😉

        • Hi Brian,

          I agree with you 🙂

          Joanna seems like the “real deal.” (Good on ya Joanna)

          I also want to echo Dries comments. I’m also writing / launching my first serious non-fiction book project (venture).

          Right now, I’m committing to writing and publishing a Minimum Viable Book via a blog in order to gather initial feed back (using Genesis of course).

          The good news is…the book is not about social media or internet marketing 🙂

          In all seriousness, the launch of Entreproducer comes at a very crucial point in my life (and others, I’m sure).

          I only follow 10-15 people regularly – online – who I see as my “virtual mentors.”

          Brian, you’re one of them.

          Good luck with your new (ad)venture.



          • Brian Clark says:

            Thanks Mitch! I hope you (and others) will keep us updated on your progress. One goal of this project is to help reveal and showcase the entreproducers who are doing great work.

        • You know I’d love to help with this Brian 🙂 It’s my passionate work these days – who needs balance?!

    • Dries – I am also a self-publisher, former dead-tree author (8 books on gardening) who has gone the full e-route. My tactical decision was to build a channel first with content (7 websites now delivering comfortable over 1 million readers a month at the height of the gardening season) and a variety of products. Had my own ebook sales on site and just started moving them to the big e-retailers this past November. I’m seeing good numbers and income in these first 3 months but not yet into the 5-figure range. Sigh…. 🙂 I’m still running pricing, marketing tests etc to determine the appropriate price points for my genre. Big fan of Brian’s (original member of Membership Sells etc) and Joanna (who writes some great stuff) I only add my .02 here to point out it’s possible to succeed with this with any genre or niche – it’s not just a fiction-thing. I may never sell a bajillion gardening ebooks (hope however springs eternal) but I have a comfortable lifestyle. Looking forward to this content myself in a big way – now back to our normally scheduled lurking.

    • I make about 2K/month from my 4 non-fiction books. Steady – with no list, blog, or marketing at all – all because I chose topics people are always searching for, and I picked my titles carefully to rank well in the search engines.

  9. Mr. Clark, as always, provides a wonderfully useful and thought provoking article.
    Favourite line: “Don’t think self-published. Think publisher. Better yet, digital media producer.”
    That’s what we really are. And I love it.
    Very cool to be on the ground floor with Entreproducer. Can’t wait to see what’s coming.

  10. Excellent points, Brian – thank you.

    And a quick story on “traditional” publishing:

    A few years ago we sold an eBook through various channels. Nothing incredible… but it pulled in $300 – $500 a month in profit.

    Then a publisher offered to print our book.

    We agreed, and since that day we now average, um, well… let me check the change under the couch.

    It goes to show digital products – with their insanely high profit margins and ease of distribution – are really a great way to go.

    Not the only way, of course, but great nonetheless.

    And I think building an online audience is key to success – in many ways, it replaces the traditional publishing role (distribution) and lets you sell one, two, five different books to the same audience with zero added production cost.

    But here’s the thing: building an online audience, writing a book (or whatever other product) and effectively marketing it takes a lot of time.

    Which is an unexpected snakebite for most would-be entreproducers.

    Therefore, I’d love to see you discuss the business side of online publishing – e.g. hiring writers, joint ventures, cross-promotions, etc. – on this blog. I think that’s where you’re going with it, but hey, I’ve been wrong before.

    What does everyone else think? How do you manage to scale your publishing business?

    • Brian Clark says:

      Adam, yep. It’s not just about being a writer. It’s being a writer-producer, like the new breed of film producers / TV showrunners like J.J. Abrams and Damon Lindelof. They have huge creative input into what happens, but they sure don’t do everything themselves. The same applies to those of us creating different forms of digital content. There are also opportunities for pure producers (business and marketing types) to help manage the overall creative process of running new media projects.

      • Joanna Penn (who has commented here profusely I see 🙂 ) just ran a How to write and publish a non-fiction book for us yesterday (and recommended this site to us) and has some really strong opinions on this. As Jo shared with us, the real issue with a publisher printing your book is that you lose the rights to the content. As an entrepreneur this is an absolute anathema to me. The publishing industry is going to need to find a way to make the finances work better for authors if they want to keep and retain them.

  11. I really love that your first post here on your new blog is about self-publishing, no, being a digital media producer. Your absolutely right, of course. It’s much better to build a readership before writing a book. It saves you the time and effort.

  12. The longer I’m in this blog^H^H^H^H publishing thing, the more I realize how a traditional education and, for that matter, a traditional upbringing hinder success.

    Even more interesting (to me as a software developer) is watching the new breed of developers who are starting to gain influence. Unlike the traditional “ponytails,” many younger developers understand the role of marketing and business development with respect to their paycheck.

    Treating it like a job works. Replacing passion with “get ‘er done” (heresy!) is allowing me to take a much more analytical look at just what, exactly, works, and what doesn’t. Too much passion seems to cloud this up.

    @joanna, having a P&L for each book seems really smart. I’ve started doing something similar with small projects, mainly tracking time, expenses, and tasking, which gets chunked down to sub-hour length items.

    • I do think indie authors have to use the trad publishers as a business model. They have a P&L per book in order to make a business decision as to whether to invest in it. We have to do the same thing. There is always a risk though 🙂 and that’s part of the fun! The costs for a great ebook are low – although I believe professional editing and cover design is crucial so we deliver a quality experience for the reader.

  13. Great article to get the new website going. Can’t wait to read more!

  14. Hi Brian –
    I can’t believe you wrote this today! Over the weekend I was trying to explain to someone what I was doing and it flew over her head. I think I sounded like a raving nut to be honest. I have started a blog with a small business idea, but it’s all set up so I can adapt and change and see where it goes.. And yes, it will take time. I also know I”m just another fan you don’t know, but I am 100% with you in the willingness to stretch, imagine the possibilities and put in the work. As you say, treat it as a business. And that was the part I was so excited about. Not instant success. I was slow in getting started, but I kept thinking the entire time, this has real potential for anyone who does the work and I can feed off it to publish my book one day. Why don’t people see it? Can’t they see what’s out their now? I know you’ve been at it awhile, but for someone like me, it looks like wide open field. After leaving politics and big business, I desperately wanted independence and it’s there. It really is there. Thank you for starting this blog.

  15. Hey Brian,
    I did a presentation in front of a group of over 50 publishers in the year 2008, telling them that books were dead and they needed to move on. You should have seen their faces. 🙂

    At that point, we’d sold over $500,000 worth of The Brain Audit. And that’s not counting how much that single book led clients to buy other products, services and workshops.

    The book has been dead for a long, long time. And it’s been time for the e-book since 2002, almost. Well, some things just take time.

    • Sean,

      I hope you are profiled by Brian here on Entreproducer. I’ve only watched from a distance, but the way you use “The Brain Audit” ebook as the backbone of your business fascinates me.

  16. Its actually amazingly easy to figure out the Kindle format. They give more than one option for upload, the easiest being a default formatted Word doc. The first time I did it, I had it figured out and uploaded within 2 hours.

    I just have no idea why MORE people aren’t doing it. (oh wait- possible because actually writing the book is hard. 😉 )

    • It’s also really easy to format your .mobi files yourself in Scrivener software which is only US$49 – it’s amazing software that helps you write and organize your book as well as publish in .mobi and .epub and other formats.

      • Or for free using the mobipocket creator. The other way is to create an epub file that can used elsewhere and not just amazon. Sign up for a free amazon direct publishing account and upload the epub file, amazon will then do all the conversion for you and you can then offer the epub files for the one or two users out there who don’t subscribe to the amazon monopoly, a smaller market but a market non the less.

  17. As digital publishing and producing catches on and goes more mainstream, it’s inevitable there will be more flotsam to wade through from would-be writers and authors, just as there is with blogging now. Treating writing as a job and as a business offends those who want to only pursue their passion and expect the world to take notice.

    Thanks, Brian, for drawing the new map on how to combine smart strategy with creative passion in this unknown digital landscape. I’m getting my (writer’s) passport renewed. 🙂

  18. Good stuff! I’ve heard it before but it definitely bears repeating for those who haven’t seen the connection between what authors do and what entrepreneurs do. If you create a great product but never promote it, doesn’t matter how good it is, there’s an excellent chance that no one will buy it.

  19. Brian, Congrats on 1st post here.

    Publishing is changing and it is changing faster than big name publishers expect it to.
    I like when authors like Don Miller share their content – to build their platform and engage users. Or when someone like Jeff Goins lands a book deal utilizing the power of the web and a platform.

    Entreproducers need to understand the importance of a platform – whether it is their own or something that already exists like Amazon (in case of books). Great if they can build both.

    It is also very important to work at improving one’s art. Like every era there are believers and non-believers. Big wins come mostly towards people who start believing in disruptive ideas before they become trends. Hopefully Entreproducer.com will become a place where such people will hang out.

    I was also wondering that you will get Jason C to talk for the post here – based on your email teaser. Anyways I am looking forward to future updates here.

    Wish you success and joy as you build this!

  20. I just want to chime in and say that one major change for ebooks is that they can include moving pictures and sound and still be “books”.

    I’m not saying video should be in all books, but there is a place for it, just as we have video in digital newspapers now. I dont know of any great examples yet, but there’s got to be some.

    Brian, I look forward to hearing your perspective on this on Entreproducer. I know CopyBlogger is not huge on video, as y’all take text very seriously. But to leave it out of the ebook book discussion would be missing a very cool boat.

    Congrats on the first post!


  21. Brian,

    How cool to see you articulating so well the “author as entrepreneur” concept. I’ve also been talking about it – and also getting some blank stares. But there are a surprising number of budding authors out there who *do* get it. One of the things my new publishing company, Voxie Media, is doing is to help these “Beta Authors” get a short nonfiction book written and published on Kindle – in 8 weeks. Can’t wait to hear more of your thoughts on the topic. Bravo!!

  22. Great 1st post.

    It is encouraging to know that as writers, we don’t have to depend on the whims and wishes of traditional publishing to get our work in front of the public. With digital media the possibilities are endless for what we can do.

  23. I just quite by accident caught your post to this article in my LinkedIn stream on my hootsuite dashboard. I can’t even start to tell you how excited I am! I’ve been playing in the internet marketing sandbox for a decade now and just recently turned my sights on publishing based on my longstanding love of reading and writing. As a long time fan of your work, I can’t wait to see what you do with the topic. Rock on, Brian!

  24. Wow, so many familiar faces and an excellent first post.

    This absolutely resonates with me because I just finished writing my first eBook, and while blogging and writing over the years, I learned the importance of free, insightful content, the power of relationships and building an audience — mostly through you and copyblogger. My eBook is launching soon and I get to see all this preparing and building go into action.

    Traditional media is just catching onto this, and as a writer, there is a bright future for bloggers and self-publishers. If you want to check out the recent article on USA Today, here is the link (thanks to Marsha I saw this), http://www.usatoday.com/tech/columnist/talkingtech/story/2012-02-14/ebook-self-publishing/53097762/1

  25. I really enjoyed reading this post, had it open most of the day, tabbing back and forth between pages and reading it over and over.

    Build your audience is the way to do it, it doesn’t even have to big a massive audience like Trey and Amanda, just an audience who listen and like what you present. 5 books in one day to where Amanda is now, and all it takes is getting the audience.

  26. Authors are a funny bunch – I admire people who want to write books and publish them. One, it takes a lot of heart to stick with a large project. Two, it’s a damned lot of work. Three, it can be a thankless experience… if done wrong.

    You’ve pegged it here: Once the book is written, there’s a LOT of marketing to do. That’s where authors seem to either get their rubber meeting the road or fall off the wagon. The dedicated ones move forward and leverage websites, blogs, newsletters and social media. They build fans and followings. They extend their reach.

    The others? They sit around stunned after realizing that publishers and agents won’t do that for them.

  27. Great first article Brian. Amanda’s story reminds me of the early days of StudioPress (which was actually preceded by the Revolution theme.) I definitely had an audience built up when I launched – which was a result of 1000’s of people using free themes that I created and distributed on my site and other places.

    I love the reference of “things got out of hand”, as that is what resonated with me the most from her story. I was moonlighting this premium WordPress theme business while maintaining my day job, but quickly knew I had to act fast as sales went from $10,000 to $20,000 to $40,000 in the first three months.

    Now if only I could have inked a deal which paid me $2 million upfront for each theme.

    • Would you have inked the deal knowing they owned the copyright to your code to do as they wished? And worse, you would not be allowed to write any others for yourself, because you’d be competing?

      Having been inside big publishing, seeing the intellectual property grabs and the pittance doled out to the authors & photographers for their blood, sweat and tears, we’ll see if Amanda does another “big publisher” deal anytime soon. Yes, her books are now in Walmart, a stated dream. Unfortunately, the realities of her “big publishing visibility” fantasy may bite her where it hurts. -Steve

      • It’s hard to say what I would have done had some company come along to buy out my rights for millions.

        Oh wait, that actually happened.

        But like I said in that post, I’m darn glad it didn’t – or I wouldn’t have the pleasure of working alongside Brian and 3 other smart and savvy entrepreneurs. 😉

      • I’m also wondering about this SL. One of Amanda’s reasons for signing with trad pub was so she could write more and market less. But then they sent her on a book tour… and she’s still blogging as much. I wonder if the gloss will wear off.
        On the rights issue, I have been learning about contracts and there are clauses that can be used in terms of “out of print” specifics which mean that authors can get their rights back reasonably fast. A lot of authors are getting these rights back and republishing digitally themselves these days.

        • The new draconian contracts authors are signing means they might want to move to California, where “non-compete” clauses fail in the courts. See David’s blog (IP Lawyer) for his posts on how nasty contract details can be: http://www.thepassivevoice.com/

          JA Konrath, Blake Crouch, Barry Eisler, and on and on – how many traditionally published authors RAVE about their fabulous experiences?
          LOL, -Steve

  28. I got here from Twitter and, thinking you were just tweeting an article you hadn’t written but wanted to share, thought, “Damn, this article sounds a lot like Brian Clark. I wish he’d write more stuff like this!” Wish granted, hahaha.

    As a digital content producer myself, this article — and the email list — is super timely. I have a project in the works that does exactly what you said about creating free content for my audience. I’m super excited about it because it’s different from anything that’s ever been done before.

    I do think the traditional publishing industry has its cons, but so does the self-publishing industry. I prefer to keep one foot in each door; my goal is get my stories out there and read, no matter what the method.

  29. So many authors are, along with publishers, stuck in the older, no-longer-functioning, paradigm. I’ve been telling my book-coaching students and clients for a couple of years: Your book is primarily a way for your to organize your expertise in ways that enable you to create products for your market. And the best part of it–it’s so much easier, and so much more under the author’s control, than any previous “published author” model. Time to seize the day!

  30. Totally looking forward to your interview of Jason C.
    I’ve always known Copyblogger to be the real deal. So, naturally, I am interested in the concepts I can learn by subscribing to Entreproducer.com.
    And seeing Jason lined up for the first video definitely locks in my attention.
    Rock on yo!!

  31. Brian,

    What a great way to start Entreproducer. It’s almost as if you wrote this article specifically for me because you hit on so many things I am trying to do. In July 2010, I started my company, the Financial Bin.

    After modifying my mission a few times, it took a meeting with a VC almost a year later for me to realize what I needed to be — a MEDIA company. We want to help education Gen Y about personal finance and entrepreneurship. To begin doing so, we released our first book, ‘Entrepreneur Intervention.’

    I really can appreciate how write about building an audience beforehand. That was something I attempted to do and am still in processing of trying. It’s certainly not easy. But, continuing to reach out via social media and email is definitely helping. It’s allowed me to set up 7 interviews for myself — and even allowed me to put together 16 podcasts for my site. It’s just a matter of time and a willingness to put yourself out there.

    Good luck with Entreproducer. I’m really looking forward to seeing what you do with it!

  32. Thank you for sharing your knowledge and starting this blog. I’m a wanna-be author and I’m still in the wanna-be stage because writing takes a lot of time, and so far I don’t want it bad enough.

    Some questions I have about e-books: I have a Kindle and get an email from Pixel of Ink daily that gives me links to free kindle books. Questions:
    1. Is this a good way to develop an audience?
    2. Would you suggest having more than one book before giving one away for free for a limited time?
    3.If you give away a book for free, does your audience then expect further books for free?


    • Hi Julie,
      I did PixelofInk paid promo last month for my novel, as well as a period with KDP Select free promotion – I have actually written a blog post giving all the numbers and financial results – hopefully Brian won’t mind the direct link here
      Basically, to maximize success on promos:
      * Have more than 1 book
      * On the book you do advertise, make sure you have good pricing, a great cover and at least 10 4 star reviews which will give you the social proof you need for Kindle readers to buy.
      * Free has worked very well for many authors – Scott Nicholson & Joe Konrath give a lot away for free but they have 15+ books. So it will help sales of other books, not so much for one book alone.
      I hope that helps.

  33. Brian, indeed we can hear the snapping of the dry bones of the old publishing model. For the entrepreneurs behind novel-length works, the primary difficulty is time, for both the writing and the seeding into the audience of that writing. For some, that’s compounded by needing daily-bread income from other sources, while one builds an audience. And learning how to re-image yourself as a publisher.

    So, perhaps other posts can look into effective (and non-spamdorky) use of social media for budding publishers, how many hourly cups of coffee it takes, how not to slump toward the TV after your regular workday is done, and how you can still occasionally relax and have fun and not always have to say, “I’m a PUBLISHER dammit, I don’t have time to look at the photos of your cat dressed as Lady Gaga.”

    Great start to the site. Thank you.

  34. This is the first article I have read from “cover to cover” in a long time. Can’t wait to see what else goes on around here.


  35. I’m very excited about Entreproducer, Brian, based on this terrific first post. I’m associated with a couple of sorta-traditional publishing ventures and am lobbying for us to get into the e-book business. One is a small literary magazine that was initially digital-only (in that the pieces were uploaded to a website) and now is exclusively a print publication with selected pieces available on the web. I’d love to see us offer an e-book version and think that could be a significant revenue stream, particularly since we do have a very loyal “fan base” along with our print subscribers.

    The other venture is a self-publishing co-op of sorts, in that we read one another’s stuff and help put everything together for CreateSpace (Amazon’s self-publishing arm.) We are still figuring out how to scale our business model beyond “hey, we’re six friends who help each other publish books.” We’ve talked about offering a suite of services to authors in our particular niche who would like to self-publish but could benefit from an editor, cover art, handholding through the CreateSpace process, etc. and have also floated the idea of helping writers and artists put together proposals for Kickstarter.

    Rambling comment – really just meant to say that there are some really exciting possibilities for “entreproducers” in both digital media and digital marketing of traditional media. Looking forward to your continued reflections on these topics.

  36. Looking forward to maybe finding out whether procrastination is just that… or is it maybe letting mental inputs ferment until they burst out with something surprising?

  37. Thanks for this post. It really cemented my long-held belief that writers should publish themselves and grow their own audience and earn the majority of the income from sales. I know so many people who refuse to self publish because they dream of holding a printed copy of their book in-hand someday by working through a big NYC publisher.

    That used to be my dream too, until I smartened up, did some research and realized I’d be doing 90% of the work and earning 10% of the money, while the publishing house takes the rest from me with very little risk on their part. Sorry, but that’s not how my dream’s gonna go down! If I’m working my ass off, I want to be earning the profit from it or what’s the point? I can still hold a printed copy of my book in my hands if I want one, I’ll just be publishing it myself.

    Thanks to this article, I know that becoming my own publisher and publishing my own stuff is the way to go for me. Appreciate the solid advice!

  38. Awesome debut post, Brian.

    More and more people are becoming aware of this, but this post is a great touchstone to refer people to. Consider it bookmarked 🙂

    I think you touched on something that goes back quite a ways:

    We live in a relational world,
    & relationships are the main tools of success…in anything!

    This includes relationships with audiences, with your work, with business partners, spouses, etc.

    Thanks for the insight!

  39. Great article. I will be sharing with several clients.

  40. oh…and will you have a fb page?

  41. Nice first post, Brian. Keep up the great work.

    I have been beating the “every company is a media company” drum, where they have an audience to build, engage and convert into customers. It’s the new way for many, some will just realize it later than others. Your effort here will help accelerate their awareness and adoption, and create viable businesses for those that say the course in audience development.

  42. I absolutely love this post, so thank you for writing it. I’ve been writing short stories since grade school, but it’s taken me many years to start composing the novel I’ve dreamed about forever. Slowly but surely over the past few months, I’ve been formulating my masterpiece…it’s a huge step for me and I’ve been a bundle of nerves ever since. But I’m hoping it’ll be worth it.

    I am so incredibly intrigued by Amanda Hocking’s story. Would you mind if I asked a stupid follow-up question? You mentioned the importance of building an audience before releasing a book into the wild — do you have any audience-building tips for a complete newbie? I’ve never had to market my personal writing before, so I’m rather intimidated about where to start! I feel like I should be able to figure this out since my day job directly relates to marketing, but somehow it’s an entirely different beast when it’s regarding my personal efforts.

    Thanks so much, Brian, and congratulations on Entreproducer. I’ll be back to read more, without a doubt! 🙂

    • Brian Clark says:

      Jill, I would recommend (in addition to staying tuned here) to follow Joanna’s Creative Penn blog. She talks specifically about that stuff, and practices what she preaches.

      • Thanks so much for the recommendation, Brian.

        Jill, for newbie fiction writers who want to start building an audience of readers, here are a few tips:
        * start networking on Goodreads in your genre as this will prove very useful when you want readers and reviews later
        * start following other writers in your genre & look at modelling what they do in terms of marketing success e.g. what do they blog about? how do they use social media?
        * if you start a blog, write about what the things that might interest people about your book e.g. research aspects, places and other things readers might want to know. Also, have a list so people can sign up if they are interested in your book. I gave away some chapters for this originally. But fiction blogging is quite different:) It’s easy to end up writing about writing, but readers aren’t necessarily interested in that. However, networking with other writers is also awesome and a good reason to blog about writing. Amanda Hocking’s ZombiePalooza involved a load of zombie authors guesting on each others blogs about zombie books and they all sold lots from that – which only comes from long term relationships.

        You can do this stuff while you write & edit your book & then there are lots of marketing things once the novel is written – but a little long for a blog post!
        All the best with your novel.

        • Joanna, I signed up on your blog the day Brian recommended it, and I had time to look through some of your posts last night. I have a feeling you’ll be seeing a lot of me from now on — your blog has SO much to offer for wannabe authors like me! I couldn’t stop reading and bookmarking. Thank you so much for taking the time to reply to my comment so thoroughly and for offering these awesome tips! You have no idea how much that means to me! I’m going to take your advice to heart and see what I can do with marketing myself. 🙂

      • Thanks so much, Brian! 🙂

  43. Thanks for the great post. The main highlights were

    1. Start producing great content in your chosen passion.
    2. Attract passionate fans
    3. Find what the fans need and give(market) it to them.

    I have been thinking in the reverse for so long.
    1. Figure out what to sell.
    2. How do I promote what I am selling.

    A few days back, I wrote a failure-to-success story about Amanda Hocking (http://goo.gl/vXhxY). Happy to see Brian took her as one of the example.

  44. Around 10 years ago, my dad made the observation that it’s traditional New York publishing that’s the real “vanity press” now — since there’s no longer any reason other than vanity to go with them. They don’t market any more, they don’t have a monopoly on distribution any more, they don’t even edit any more.

    It’s sad in one way, but what’s coming out of it has the potential to be that much more exciting (and rewarding for writers, which is the part I care about).

    • That’s funny Sonia, and true for many. Why do people want a book on their local bookstore shelf if not for vanity reasons? If they want money, there are better ways. If they want readers, publish ebooks and give them away for free (I’m thinking The Flinch by Julien Smith here or other Seth Godin publishing experiments)

      I also wrote a guest post recently on how print books are the new vanity for indie authors, because as above, ebooks create more income and also can reach more readers.

      However, there’s nothing wrong with vanity I suppose 🙂

  45. Fantastic article Brian – I loved it! (especially as I’m currently writing!)

    My only criticism of the article is that you seem to be promoting the ‘building a list/audience’ by traditional (online) methods, when it’s would seem by your first example that Amanda Hocking successfully built her list by becoming a published author first?

    I think there’s a great example in the format of ‘the 4 hour body’ where Tim integrates his writing with direct links to other content on his website, such as video. When I was reading the book he spoke about a particular product and when I clicked the link to Amazon, I was amazed at how the other promoted items within the book showed us as ‘other people that bought this also bought….’

    Now that’s powerful. And it does exactly as you say, goes beyond just writing, but gives you leverage into other monitisation methods.

    • Brian Clark says:

      Hi Steve. I lead with Amanda because she’s got an exceptional story, and because she took a deliberate approach beyond what most would-be authors do. She also got very lucky, just like Twitter and other high-profile start-ups that people love to focus on.

      That’s when I segue into that likely not being the case for most people (even if they take her first 5 deliberate steps), and the importance of having an audience. Hopefully people get that they should be more like Trey Ratcliff than Amanda.

      • Cheers Brian – I re-read Trey’s experience and totally agree. It’s sound advice to drum up your own publicity, and giving away bites of info also build curiosity.

        You know what I’d love to read from you next Brian – How to drum up your own publicity in 20 steps 🙂

  46. A stunningly awesome piece of content. Riveting from the get go.

  47. It is amazing what you can do once you start thinking outside of the box. I’m sure that Amanda’s story will be inspirational to many writers.

    I came across Rosalind Roberts a couple of weeks ago. She is an author. She couldn’t get a book deal so she self published. She took a slightly different marketing route in that she sells her books door to door! She sold 12,000 copies of her first one and is up to 12,500 of her second one.

    Talk about tenacious, that is what entrepreneurial spirit is all about.

  48. Nice and fairly balanced post – it’s funny that it reminds me of suggesting an idea to a big non-book publisher for a project I thought could work. They dismissed it in a 5 minute chat, and after launching it about 24 months ago, it reached 100K uniques per month towards the end of 2011…

    Now I’m kicking myself into gear to get my plans for eBooks and Apps done – I’m still at the building anticipation stage, but can’t wait to get them out the door!

  49. Absolutely fantastic article. As a newly-published book I know all too well how difficult it is to get the word out about a new book. I can’t wait to see what is in store on your new site. Thanks for posting!

  50. The term “treat your book as a startup” is an excellent way to put it, Brian. I guess i’ve subconsciously been approaching things that way, but now that I see the term in writing, it makes it all the more clear and connects a lot of pieces.

    Excellent post and thanks.

  51. Great start to a new enterprise, Brian!

    I think building an audience is definitely the way to go. The benefits are to the writer as well . . . you get the chance to polish your craft and create your own niche. I’m ready to become a Renaissance woman!

  52. Trey had it. Jay-Z had it. Some call it celebrity status, you called it audience, I like to call it ‘community’.

    A lot of social elements like trust, respect and giving-a-damn are involved when you have a community. You don’t necessary own the community, but you influence it.

    That’s artistic. And that’s profitable while being transparent.

    The internet has changed everything… and those who see it like that, are *WINNING* 😛

  53. This couldn’t have happened at a better time for me – I launched my first e-book with Kindle this week and am working on marketing my writing. It’s a guidebook, but with more digital publishing experience, I may soon be taking my novels that way as well rather than the traditional publisher route I’ve gone so far. So thank you for timely inspiration – and the kick in the pants to get working harder at it. I look forward to more great Entreproducer posts!

  54. Building an audience is also the best way to have long term success in your career, especially if you work in television, music, and film.

    I wrote about it here: Why Networking is Useless in the Modern Entertainment Industry – http://careergreenlight.com/networking-is-useless

    Despite audience building being the most important concept I’ve written about, when I talk to my blog readers, I see it is still misunderstood.

    Why is that? Is it because we think having an audience is only for “special” people? or do we not see the huge benefits of building a community around your work?

  55. Brian, Do you know anyone who might be a good coach to help us with the strategy and implementation in this new frontier?

  56. It feels like I’m betraying Copyblogger by falling for Entreproducer at first sight, but I’m a sucker for books. The Amanda Hocking story is amazing, but if all authors try to do is reproduce her success, they’re cheating themselves out of amazing opportunities. The possibilities for authors are more vast than ever, but success in publishing (and business) is still going to depend on hard work and community building.

  57. @Brian: I knew I’d enjoy the content.

    However, what I enjoy more is trying to guess the next four to five moves you already have planned for this site. 😉

    P.S. Producers should have a team:
    Cover artist

    • Brian Clark says:

      Thanks Shane. Well, I do have many more concrete ideas with Entreproducer than I did at the beginning of Copyblogger, given where Copyblogger Media is at. But it’s always smart to keep your mind, eyes, and ears open when on a new path, because often you find something you weren’t expecting.

  58. I know someone who has just started into dive into self-publishing their own book, but they are doing it the “traditional” way, and paying significant money to make it happen. So wrong. I keep trying to convince them to go the digital media route, and now I have your fabulous post to forward along to back me up. If they won’t listen to me, maybe I can get them to listen you!

  59. I first heard the term Entreproducer way back when you first launched Teaching Sells. I remember bolting out of my chair and screaming “YES!” (And scaring my cat, too!) That’s it! I knew it was not only a brilliant and cutting edge philosophy but something that truly fit me, my abilities and my personality. At the time I was too busy trying to make a living to make a life but I never forgot it. And I kept learning and thinking. I’m happy to say that I’m making that life now. Thank you Brian for Entreproducer!

  60. I was in traditional publishing for 20 years with over 40 titles. Hit all the bestseller lists. Made a living. In Jan 2011 I went indie because I was looking ahead to where publishing was going. Not good.
    That month I sold 347 eBooks. By the end of 2011 I sold 400,000 and made my company into one earning seven figures. I make a Publishers Lunch “very nice deal” every month in checks paid out. I much prefer the new way of doing things.

  61. Wonderful information. Thanks so much for sharing with us. I have been following you for quite a while now and am learning so much. I’m currently editing a book and have been rather intimidated about the publishing part of it. But, this information is a great help. I’m looking forward to more Entreproducer newsletters!

  62. Would love to see some suggestions for fiction authors on how to build an audience before the book is published. Most authors I see are blogging about writing and publishing. They are attracting other writers, but they are not the audience for their books. What “free content” do you share for potential readers of your fiction??

    • Don’t you have a short pieces that showcase your style? Use them as blog posts or emails to your subscribers.
      And, give away your best stuff – they’ll then be anxious to buy more!

    • Hi Dan,
      on free for fiction writers, you can give away chapters of your book, but most people are using content for readers on sites like Amazon Kindle rather than their own blogs. Let’s face it – no one has a platform like Amazon!
      So, you can use KDP Select to give away books for free for a period which rockets you up the charts. This usually works for people with multiple books so the sales of other books also spike while people are interested. Or you can give away a novella and have full length books available to buy at different prices.

      On a smaller scale, I used 3 free chapters on Facebook to drive people to in order to get a list for my launch. I got a few hundred with my first novel – as you say, fiction is difficult – but I used those people as reviewers. I gave them free books in exchange for reviews (if they liked the book of course, no pressure!) This is critical as the Amazon algorithms are partially based on reviews – so that helped sales too.
      Then I put at the back of that book “If you enjoyed Pentecost, sign up for Prophecy here” and so people would come back to my site and sign up. I have done the same at the back of Prophecy. So essentially, the first one is the hardest and then your list starts to grow.
      I have 2 blogs – TheCreativePenn.com for writers and JoannaPenn.com for my readers – as you say, they are different audiences.

      I hope that helps. Joanna

  63. Perfect!

    Five plus years ago, when I decided a writer’s life was what I wanted, I checked it out and figured out that copywriting was the most viable way to make it work. All the other writers I met were either complaining about not having a publisher or complaining that their publisher didn’t do any marketing and they weren’t making any money…

    That lead me to Copyblogger, 3rd Tribe, and a good foundation for marketing my own stuff.

    However, I’m much more passionate about writing and educating on topics related to my personal interests than for clients.

    I’ve already designated 2012 the MoneyDiva year and have a series of ebooks in production as well as the site (beta version is live) and the outline for the opt-in list (live in March).

    This is exactly what I need – insider info, comrades and mentors (i.e. Brian).
    I’ve already found a wealth of useful info in these comments and the Lean Publishing link looks promising.

    Thanks to Brian and all the subscribers – looking forward to an exciting year –

  64. Congratulations on the new site.
    As an author of 5 published books, I’m moving into the field of digital publishing, so I’m keen to learn from our experience

  65. Um, this is awesome. That is all.

  66. Brian proves that you have never ‘missed the boat’ because you are always at the beginning of something.

    Right now it is the smooshing together of the digital world. The boundaries between mobile phones, smart phones, handhelds, pads, laptops, PC’s and now even television are getting increasingly blurred as they work their way into a single device way in the future.

    Hence the original name for all of this ‘IT’, the clue is in the name…Information Technology. Information (read content) is everything, and those who produce and control it will eventually rule. ‘Established’ institutions have to adapt and adopt the new breed of author or they’ll soon be following Kodak……….

  67. Great article because this is exactly how I’ve been thinking about producing my first book venture but it doesn’t talk at all about HOW to build up the social following that will help sell books. Creating a business is easy, it’s selling your product or service that’s hard.

  68. Wow. This is the type of story which sent goose bumps up my spine. I’ve tried to finish my first book over these last 6 months plus I’ve got two clients I’m doing the same for. One has an eBook which is now 2000 pages long! (I told him to stop at 200 pages max but it’s in the Anti-Aging field so sort of covers a lot of areas). He’s averse to publishing the way you describe above so what to do? You can lead a horse to water but you can’t make him drink’. Anyway I just dig your tools, company and insights Brian because you help me work smarter not harder. Cheers bra. Simon

  69. I love this post, but of course I *would* love this post since I came to the same conclusion in 2005 or 2006.

    I’d been traditionally published in the past, but I realized that my agent was pretty much useless. I had books I wanted to write, and she was less than encouraging.

    So I learned everything I could about self-publishing. In the process, I discovered the technological changes that have made publishing possible for the “little guy” and have published 12 books (so far). All from the middle-of-nowhere Idaho.

    I haven’t had the amazing success that Amanda Hocking has, but I’ve written a LOT about how people can leverage their content to make money. We also organize and put on the first online conference dedicated to self-publishers. (Our fourth annual event is coming up in May.)

    We are THAT passionate about educating people that you don’t have to settle for rejection and 10% royalties, or get suckered into signing with some scam vanity press.

    Along the way, I have learned that not everyone has quite the entrepreneurial spirit or technological savvy that I do when it comes to book publishing. So my company is also launching a new project this year that avoids the downsides of both vanity presses and traditional publishers.

    We have 9 authors so far and will be releasing our first titles in the second half of the year, so it was great to read about Trey’s success. Book/ebook publishing is SO not dead 😉

  70. Jason Wynja says:

    For anyone thinking about what kind of audience they should be building, the following line from Seth Godin comes to mind:

    “I’ve been betting on the intelligence of my readers for almost a decade, and that bet keeps paying off.”

    Makes a lot of sense to me. Write with a certain audience in mind, and you “get what you deserve”, for better or worse. Especially important if business partnerships come from your fan base.

  71. Ibrahim Kamrul Shafin says:

    Yes. I consider it as a serious business. But you’ll do much better if you consider it to be your passion. Writing a successful book not only writing but also proofreading, marketing, and getting it sold.

    I agree. Writers or Novelists are no more only writer; in fact, they are entrepreneurs.


  72. What a great post. I have been working on my blog for 3 years now. Although it was not done intentionally, in a way I have been working on building my audience. I have also now been considering relasing my eBook. Although it is just an idea at this stage, I can see how building an audience first will be crucial to my launch, when it does come about.

  73. Great article Brian and thanks for the great imput from everyone,

    Ironically today I also stumbled on a case study over at moz.com about a fiction writer who was also grappling with the problem of audience.
    Being into SEO he committed himself to a evergreen content program to see if he could ‘attract’ an audience over a period of time, in his spare time.
    Whilst his blog audience is not purely attracted to his fiction work, he has established himself as an authority which he can pivot from.

    And his book sales have gone up.

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