“Business for Authors” is for Authors Who Mean Business


"Business for Authors: How To Be An Author Entrepreneur" offers insightful business advice for skilled authors, to take them to the next step -- beyond being an author, to actually running a business as an author.

business for authors

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Joanna Penn’s book “Business for Authors” is a book whose time has come. The numbers of self-published authors are growing, it seems almost everyday. However, only a sliver of those authors will ever make over $500.

What makes the difference between those authors who make it financially, and those who don’t? Besides quality of writing, Joanna Penn argues that successful authors have one more advantage over others authors. They mean business.

With Penn’s book, authors can make the leap from writing into the world of entrepreneurship, by becoming author-entrepreneurs. 

What’s In the Book

Joanna Penn’s book Business for Authors  is a highly insightful and comprehensive guide to the world of the authors creating a business, not just being a one-book wonder.

Her aim, Penn says, “… is to take the result of your creativity into the realm of actually paying the bills. To take you from being an author to running a business as an author.”

Her book covers many aspects that are covered in most “how to market your book” books.  She covers planning, marketing, promotion and strategy. The difference is the insight and realism that Penn uses to share this information. Like other book marketing experts, Joanna Penn, provides information on how to market your book to get sales. Her book takes it one step further. “Business for Authors” provides information on how to extend an author’s sale beyond his or her usual strategy and in different formats. 

She also covers topics such as hiring editors, translators and audiobook narrators, and working with a virtual assistant.  She covers financial bookkeeping, contracts, copyrights and tools for authors.

The book doesn’t just focus on business issues, however.

Penn goes into the “author” aspect of the “author-entrepreneur” equation as well. She details almost everything that a budding author turned entrepreneur might ask. Readers will find recommendations on questions such as “How do you spend your time managing everything as an author?” to “Should I become a full-time author?”.  Each chapter is filled with recommendations that demonstrate the author’s expertise gained from years as a self-published author.

Lastly, “Business for Authors” offers hope and inspiration. Penn uses enthusiastic and engaging language to keep readers involved in the book from beginning to end. The book builds a bridge between the typical “how to sell your book” advice and “how to be a successful entrepreneur” advice.  After reading this book, readers should be able to identify at least three, four or more ways that they can make money as an author-entrepreneur and then make the first steps toward that dream.

What Business for Authors Doesn’t Cover

“Business for Authors” does not cover writing. Penn assumes that those reading this book already know how to write, and have taken the time to craft a quality book.

Her goal is to help writers who have a good book but don’t have an idea of how to get to the next level of financial success.

Readers of this book, therefore, will not find grammar tips, editing insights, or tips on cover design.

In short, you should know what a good book is and be able to write one. Otherwise, every tip in this book will be useless.

Another issue not covered in a lot of detail is formatting a book. Readers won’t find “Ten Tips to Boost Your Amazon Ranking 400%” types of pointers here. Technical topics such as choosing Amazon categories are briefly mentioned and resources are provided, but that is it.

The bulk of the book is dedicated to what you should do after you have the book formatted and ready to go. That being said, the book does offer great recommendations for authors, no matter where they are in the author cycle.  I received a review copy of the book, and really enjoyed the author insights.

Who Should Get This Book

There are two types of people who will benefit the most from this book:

  • Authors who have already achieved some sales and are looking for ways to grow sales even further — and run a business as an author.
  • Entrepreneurs who are considering become writers, but not sure if they can make it a profitable source of income.

This book, though, can be appreciated by any author (or potential author) who wants to go beyond the over-hyped “how to market your book fast” books that are out there. Joanna Penn has created a well-thought out book that mixes personal experience, insight, resources, and research together.

If only authors would take heed, we would have more author-entrepreneurs out there. 

About the Author

Joanna Penn is an author who left the corporate world to write her own books. She has published best-selling books in fiction and non-fiction and has expertise in self-publishing and book marketing. Information about her books and self-published advice can be found on  TheCreativePenn.com and Twitter @thecreativepenn.

Business for Authors: How to be an Author-Entrepreneur is available on Amazon and other sites.

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Charles Franklin Charles Franklin is a Book Reviewer for Small Business Trends. He has a background as a professional reviewer, and is also a content provider and customer relations professional.