Guest Post by Susan Violante
Most of us don’t start seeing our writing as a business until after we’ve published our first book. The truth of the matter is that it is a business and it requires an investment whether publishing through the traditional publishers or independently. But the investment of time, money, and skill to write, publish and market your book will not be maximized if you do not harvest business relationships out of your investment.
So, how do we establish these relationships? Below are some tips:
• Networking Locally. Many of us have joined writing groups from the beginning to get critiques on our work. We have also attended writing workshops to work on our craft. As business owners we should join business associations and attend workshops on marketing, publicity, and business management in order to better our business skills as we work on monetizing our title. But improving our skills to manage our book business is not the only reason to get involved. These business groups and workshops are joined and attended by people involved in different kind business. Within the attendants you might find the perfect graphic artist for your next cover, the printer that can print your bookmarks, T-shirts, and any other promotional item for your signings, you might even meet a real estate broker who purchases a few of your books and invites you to an event to sign and give away your books! To meet other local business whose services and products can be useful to you and establish a relationship with them for your next title can go a long way when it comes to fees, reliability and quality of service.
• Finding What You Need on the Web. I must admit that as authors who spend most of our time in front of the computer screen it makes sense to use the internet as our primary source for everything we need. From doing our research, finding a publisher or agent, to publicizing our title and events, the internet is our tool of choice. But in many cases we are sacrificing the one-on-one treatment when contracting big companies to publish or market online. In other cases we are being scammed. When choosing a person or company to handle our precious title, we must do our homework. This is when networking locally can be helpful, as we cross reference with other writers, publishers, associations which we know face to face about the online services we find on the web. We check the company out by reading reviews…etc., and finally we choose one to do business with.
Whether you do business locally or online, establishing a relationship with your vendors can be as important as having customers. The quotes that you get for their services, the quality of service or product you receive will affect the success of your business. So what is your attitude towards your vendors, contractors or consultants? Are you being only professional, or are you also being courteous and even friendly? Your attitude believe it or not can make a difference when it comes to negotiating fees and receiving a personalized attention. It always amazes me how many authors display attitude on their emails when contacting some of our websites for services for the first time. It is so bad, that I have found myself sometimes deciding whether or not it is worth the trouble to deal with their attitude, and often wonder if they are able to establish a lasting business relationship with anyone. I believe that all business’ ultimate goal is to be profitable, but some of us do have a mission and wish to keep enjoying what we spend so many hours of our life doing.
So, if there is a point to this article, it is to always remember to be courteous as well as professional when you contact a new business, especially if you are an independent author who depends on others to get your title out there, because building lasting relationships with the media, publicists, publishers, and any other who will render a service to you can make a huge difference on your title’s success.
Susan Violante is the author of Innocent War: Behind an Immigrant's Past, speaker, Blogger, Host of her online radio show I Have Something to Say Live, and Managing Editor for Reader Views and First Chapter Plus. For more information about Susan visit www.susanviolante.com