Balticon 47 Wrap up – Part 15, The Business of Being an Author

by Doc Coleman on September 9, 2013 · 6 comments

in Balticon

If it is Monday, then it must be time for another episode of the Balticon 47 Wrap up, courtesy of Balticon and Swimming Cat Studios. Today’s episode covers one of the most important subjects for any writer who wants to make the transition and become a professional Author: How do you set up your business. Most authors are sole proprietorships, and  without a little business savvy, they can find themselves becoming victims in the marketplace. As an author you make your living selling rights to your stories. While you can have someone else run that part of the business for you, you need to have enough business knowledge to know when they are doing a good job, and when you need to get someone else. As a new author, you usually can’t afford to hire someone to do the business end, so you have to hire yourself.

Helping us navigate the dungeons of the business world, we have some experienced authors who have been there and learned how the game of publishing works. Or doesn’t. Moderating the panel is Colin Earl, and filling out the panel are A. L. Davroe, Hildy Silverman, Allison Gamblin, and P.C. Haring. The business of writing has many facets that each need to be considered, from the financial realities, to branding your product, planning for growth, covering the legal aspects, and making sure that the money flows towards the author.

There are many different ways to structure your business, and this panel doesn’t have time to consider all of them, but it does address the advantages of incorporating for legal protection, usually as a LLC, and some of the requirements some states require to create a LLC. Laws vary from state to state, so be sure to check the applicable law in the state you wish to incorporate in or do business in. There are costs involved in setting up and maintaining a LLC, so be sure to investigate the applicable costs in your state and budget accordingly to cover these expenses. One doesn’t have to set up a LLC in the state that you live in, but you do have to have an agent in the state you choose to incorporate, and remote agents can represent additional costs.

Branding helps you promote your business, so you need to consider how you want to brand. If you brand yourself as an author, that will carry over to all of your products, but if you just brand the properties you’re marketing, you’ll have to start over for each new property.

In fact, there is so much good information in this episode, you’ll probably want to listen to it over and over again. Each time I try to listen to it for these show notes, I keep getting swept away by all the good information.

This was an excellent panel, and I hope it will spawn future panels on the business side of writing.

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