Sunday, November 12, 2023

The Writing Business

How do you measure “business success”? How “successful” have you been in terms of “business” this year?

Brenda here.

I suppose I measure business success by sales and a growing audience. As most authors in this business know, it takes a lot of time and energy to build a readership because word of mouth is one of the best ways to have someone pick up your book. I can't count how many times I've heard or read in a review, "I have no idea how I never heard of you before."

It's easy enough to be overlooked in this business with thousands of new books out each year (or is it day?) A lot anyway. It's amazing, therefore, to have someone decide to give your book a read.

With this as the yardstick, I've had a good year. I threw a book launch in April at a pub that was well attended, many of the people new readers, some friends who brought friends. It was a great boost to my spirits :-)

This last half of the year, I've been invited to seven book clubs (mainly strangers), and the ones I've attended thus far, have been enthusiastic and engaged with my stories and characters. This feels like a marvellous break through. These readers also reinvigorate me.

Discussing When Last Seen at recent book clubs

The number of emails and messages I've received through my social media sites has also risen this year, another indicator of the books' growing reach. I believe a writing career is a long game, built reader by reader, book by book.                                       

The majority of my books are published traditionally, but I'm self-publishing the Hunter and Tate series, and this opens an entirely new level of business awareness. Sales numbers and renumeration are more top of mind. In this regard, I'm seeing a steady increase from one book to the next as booksellers and libraries find the books. My traditionally published books continue to do well, the Stonechild and Rouleau series recently reissued with the last five books released as audiobooks.

That said, this is a difficult business. We have some best-selling authors, but these are the minority by far. Most authors who keep producing new work are mid-listers who develop a loyal following. It may be a cliche, but I believe that the journey is more important and satisfying than the destination. While I keep an eye on the business side of writing, I'm happy where I am, celebrating every interaction with readers, enjoying good reviews, and jumping back into the world of my characters. I couldn't imagine a better way to spend my time.


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Dietrich Kalteis said...

Congratulations on a successful year, Brenda. I agree, the journey is more important and satisfying than the destination – in fact, for me, it has to be in order to keep going.

Susan C Shea said...

I am right now assessing that journey! Looks like you've done a great job at it, Brenda!

Brenda Chapman said...

Thanks Dietrich and Susan - So glad we're on this writing journey together :-)