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Art or Commerce? Natalie Buske Thomas on The Double Life of the Indie Author

Self publishers need art and commerceAn author is an artist — and artists tend to be sensitive creatures, full of drama and impatience (yes, moi included). But an indie author also publishes, which is a business — and the world of business requires a cool head, loads of confidence, perseverance and patience.

Whenever I feel myself going off the rails, I stop and ask myself if I’m responding as an artist or a business professional. I think we all know which has the better chance of bringing in some money!

Situation #1: When sales numbers or reviews are disappointing

Artist Response:

A. I don’t need them – my book is brilliant and if they can’t see that, it’s their problem!

B. Why doesn’t anybody want my book? Maybe I can figure it out and try harder.

C. Why doesn’t anybody like me? Maybe I can figure it out and improve myself.

D. This is hopeless. I’ll never make it.

Entrepreneur Response:

A. My product is quality. I need patience.

B. My product may have some issues. I need to re-examine for quality control.

C. I’m not resonating with customers. I need to work on branding.

D. I may need to pull this product off the market. I need to develop a better product.

Tapping into the strengths of an Artist and an Entrepreneur:
A. I believe in myself and I have patience.
B. I feel disappointed, but I’ll channel that emotion into creating better books.
C. It hurts when I’m rejected, but I’ll channel that emotion into branding and improving my image.
D. I’m crushed when my projects fail, but I will not quit; I have long-term career goals.

Situation #2: When sales numbers or reviews are fabulous

    Artist Response:

    A. WOOT! I knew I was a star! I’ll keep doing whatever I want to do!

    B. WOOT! The hard work paid off! I can slow down now.

    C. WOOT! My book must be awesome!

    D. WOOT! Now that I know what works, I can expect all my books to do well.

Entrepreneur Response:

    A. The reason for the spike in sales may have nothing to do with talent.

    B. I need to work harder to make the most of this window of visibility.

    C. The reason for the spike in sales may have nothing to do with my book.

    D. What worked this time might not work again in the future.

Tapping into the strengths of an Artist and an Entrepreneur:

A. WOOT! I’ll apply this new confidence to my work ethic.
B. WOOT! I’ll approach the next stage of my career with renewed energy.
C. WOOT! I’ll write another book.
D. WOOT! My future is wide open, with new books and new plans to sell them!

Be the artist when you’re writing. Be the entrepreneur for everything else. When you feel that you can’t stand the wait, the peaks and valleys, and all the other frustrations, create something new.

Tap into the strengths of both your artist and your entrepreneur side.

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