I’m a Writer, Do I Also Have to be an Entrepreneur?

Angela Kaufman
7 min readDec 24, 2020

Maybe you just want to write out of a love of the craft. Maybe you take great joy in story-telling. Maybe you want to tell your unique story.

“But I’m a writer, I’m not into all that marketing.”

If you’ve said the above before, there are some harsh truths about the world of writing and publishing that you need to understand. Are you sitting down?

Planning to write for the joy of it is fine if writing is your hobby. If you write as therapy and catharsis, or even if you want to someday leave stories to your children, but don’t otherwise care who reads your words, then relax. You truly don’t need to give any f**ks about marketing.

If you plan on having wide distribution, if you want to become a bestseller (for real, not the Amazon variety) or if you want your work to have a broad impact, then I hate to be the bearer of bad news.

But.

You will have to dabble in marketing and business. Even just a little.

I know it’s unfair. I know you put all your heart and effort into the fun parts of writing, the research, craft, story structure, plot, characters. I know you’ve spent a fortune on various editors and book designers. But it’s not enough.

The days when a writer could simply show up with a polished manuscript and expect a publisher to do the rest came and went before I was born. That ship has sailed, and in it’s place, is the expectation that writers be responsible for our own fact checking, much of our own editing, our own marketing plans and business model.

But how much time do you need to devote to marketing? And how much of the business of publishing do you need to understand?

That largely depends on your goals.

If you want to get published, even by a smaller publishing house, you will need to think like a business person. Whether your book is fiction or nonfiction, a prospective publisher wants to see that you’ve given careful thought and consideration to how your book will reach audiences and how you’ll convince people with a million distractions in their lives that they should invest money, and time, in your book.

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Angela Kaufman

Angela Kaufman is the author of Queen Up! Reclaim Your Crown When Life Knocks You Down. Her new novel Quiet Man, is available now through Trash Panda Press.