Top Three Business Mistakes Writers Make

“Writers” “Business” “Mistakes”.  Many writers have never considered their scribbling or frantic typing at the wee hours to be anything other than a passionate dream for the far off future.  The first mistake could be not recognizing your passion is the seed of a business in a worldwide industry. And all other mistakes stem from that omission of fact.

People are practicing.  Whatever we do, whatever level we do it at, everyone, everywhere is in some state of practice.  So with that understanding, let’s examine the three biggest mistakes writers make in regards to growing their writing careers aka their business.

If I’m a better writer, more people will buy my stuff.

So many writers make this logic error and thus squander their efforts remaining in obscurity forever.  They wonderful skill invisible to the world as a whole.  Concluding that writing better equals more sales, is the same as saying an athlete working on the basics of their sport will commute to the game faster.  Writing and Sales are unique events with the same tenuous cause and effect relationship as Cardiovascular Improvements and Traffic Patterns.

If you want to look hard enough to find a relationships, a tenuous one can be found.  Maybe the athlete having practiced for hours is anxious to display their skills to an audience, so they rearranged their day to get to the venue a bit earlier to warm up before the game and chat with fans.  Practicing didn’t cause the distance between home and the venue to shorten, or traffic on those roads to disappear.  The athlete had to learn how to traverse the distance and learned how long it would take in different conditions.  One might conclude practicing got the athlete to the venue faster, but looking at the actual actives, one did not cause the other.

Just as a writer having picked up a new technique at a class, may write a new short story using this new method.  Then excited by the results, had the courage to submit it to an anthology and was accepted.  Then they were so excited about the story, they told everyone, make sure the book store had copies, the amazon page was stable, and thus managed to have their best sales yet.

People like to look for differences in order to recreate events they liked.  “I many sold more copies this time. What was different?”  The easiest conclusion is to venture back to the very beginning and say, “I took that class.  I must be a better writer now!  That’s what did it!” But really, that wasn’t the only difference.  You thought you wrote better, so you took different actions this time.  This perception of better writing inspired you to tell more people about it.  You marketed the book more, and iron out the distribution hiccups, and they planned to attend events, chatting about their book – infusing others with their excitement, excitement others wanted to re-experience and thus bought the book to read their story.

Still the myth of writing better equals sells better persists.  Best Selling and Best Written are not synonymous.  The two take different skill sets, and the skills for the best-selling title are easier and quicker to come by than the best written title.

Making money doing what I love, is selling out.  I’m not a sellout.

Everyone has something special, some unique talent the world has been waiting for to move the world along.  It’s called passion.  Baker uses flour to create pastries to express their passion.  A teacher uses classrooms to express their passion.  A welder uses metals to express their passion.  Each of these people were drawn to their profession as a mean to express their passion.  And if any of these people were to get paid for their skills, not one would shame them as “selling out”.

Writers have passion too, and for some inexplicable reason have chosen to write their passions across screens and pages around the world.  Words are the medium we use to express our passions. But writers shame themselves and others for utilizing their skills to fill a need people are willing to pay for.

It is socially acceptable and socially responsible to get paid for expressing your passion for words.  That passion has motivated to you learn a difficult skill, and given you an ability others need to enjoy and inspire their lives.  To get paid for your writing, you need to hire yourself out as a writer to a large company, or create your own company and learn the skills to get your work in front of readers.  Just as teachers had to learn child development to become more effective teachers.  Bakers have to learn the science behind the food to make more complete tastes, and welders have to learn structural requirements for public installations, writers need to learn the skills to get their work to readers.

Selling your work can make you a sellout.  But only if you foist your work on people who don’t want it.  Just as a teacher can’t teach someone who does not want to learn, a baker can’t force feed someone to make them enjoy the concoction, and a welder can’t install a structure in the middle of the road and demand people appreciate the work. Writers can’t spam the web with self-absorbed promotions expecting the world to be inspired to read anymore their work.

Making money from doing what you love take a skill – called business skill, and any quick look around the web displays all the well-meaning writers who have yet to master the skills needed for the writing business.

My book comes out next month!  Time to start the next one.

This one hurts.  All too many writers come through the arduous task of writing the novel, getting it accepted by a publisher or editor, and then think their part in the process is done.  Having a launch date or a drop date for your book is the time when many writers throw themselves a part then hunker down to write the next book.  Thinking this is the “getting back to work” they need.  WRONG!!!!!!

Having more products to sell to your adoring fans is important, but not at the cost of limiting the number of adoring fans you sell to.

That old adage is true: A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush.  You have one novel ready for readers to enjoy with two, three six more in your head.  Those novels in the ether of your brain will not have the opportunity to reach those adoring readers, if your current book fails to sell through its entire run. Your publisher will not take another risk on you if you cost them more money than you made them, and your friends and family won’t loan you money to print and ship books to readers yourself if there are still stacks of your current book cluttering up the living space.

Instead of hiding behind your keyboard when you get a drop date, you need to get out there and start inspiring the world to read your book.  A book launch is a series of events before, during and after your drop date which excite readers and inspire them to buy your book.  Think of it as a dance starting with the “happy dance” when you get accepted to print and ending when your book has been on book shelves for about three months.  This long process is called a book launch, and like any learnable skill, the more you do it the better you get… aka you sell more and have more opportunity to sell the next book.

Throw your friends and family a party after the whirl wind of the launch is over… if you did it right, they deserve it.

You might not have considered you scribbling or frantic typing at the wee hours to be the start of a fulfilling career.  The most effective way to make a career of writing at whatever level of success you imagine is to increase your business skills.  Writing the book is only the beginning.  Your book will live much longer in the world than it took to write it.  The better you plan for that long life, the better you will be compensated for all those quite, lonely hours of creating it.

If you would like more information on this topic, please visit us our website at  And check out our courses list for classes that cover the specific business topics writers need to become successful authors.


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