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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.

Design
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. 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 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 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.

Bookkeeping
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 has neat features like automatic mileage tracking, expense and income tracking, and quarterly tax calculations. The basic plan starts at $10/month. 

Insurance
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 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.

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

About Grace Wynter

Grace Wynter is a blogger, writer of romantic fiction, and a huge fan of shenanigans. Her blog posts (and a few of her shenanigans) have been featured on CNN.com, the Huffington Post, and More.com.

Grace has an MBA in marketing from Georgia State University and an editing certificate from the University of Chicago.

When she’s not alternating between the Marvel and DC universes, she resides in Atlanta, Georgia. Her debut novel, Free Falling, is a 2016 Georgia Romance Writer Maggie Award finalist.

You can connect with Grace on her blog, The Writer’s Station, and on her author website, ggwynter.com.


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About Mary Ellen Bellusci

Mary Ellen Bellusci is a longtime resident of Baltimore, Maryland... A foodie, traveler, writer, and pursuer of happiness.