At the pre-writing stage, you gather your material. That process can take you a couple years, depending on the kind of book you’re writing. If you are writing a non-fiction work about a subject of which you are familiar, yet you must do further research, it may take you several months to several years to pull that research together if you want to produce a book renowned for the depth of its insights and the accuracy of its findings, and if you wish to be acknowledged as an authority.
At the pre-writing stage, you’re not conducting research in a methodical manner. You’re being intuitive. You’re scanning books and articles in a cursory manner, you’re extracting material from where ever you can find it, and you’re storing your material where you can easily organize it, such as electronic tools like Microsoft One Note or Evernote, or in your good old-school notebook. You’re looking through books on the lookout for relevant themes, and for the kind of sources you need to build your argument or exposition. For non-fiction work, you would need to do this kind of research as well. During this pre-writing stage, you’re probably consumed with your work even though you haven’t written very much yet. You’re thinking through your discoveries, jotting lots of notes, and using up many stickeys.
One pre-writing process is creating a vision for your book. It’s a good idea to create a vision statement for your book project, just as you would if you were creating a business. Remember, in the age of independent publishing, writing and publishing a book is a business venture.
Publishing a book involves creating the product, that is, writing the book. It also involves selling the book, that is, marketing and distributing the book. For self-published authors, it means that the responsibility for getting your book to your audience and getting the word out about your book falls one hundred percent on you. But even authors who publish with ‘traditional’ publishing houses need to engage in marketing their books as well, since publishing houses do not actually go out of their way to promote new authors the way they used to within the old publishing paradigm.
Try to envision your writing project from the point at which you conceive the idea you wish to share with your readers, to the point at which your book is hot off the press, as they say, to the point at which you’re a highly acclaimed, best-selling author. Spend some time doing tis, then create your vision statement.
What is a vision statement? A vision statement captures the big picture of the storyteller’s strategy for her complete works as far into the future as she can see, and situates the strategy within the overarching philosophy which frames her work. Create Your Vision Statement.
Crafting your vision statement provides you with the insights you need to create your mission statement.
Start up your business. There are three good reasons to start up a business when you decide to become an author entrepreneur. The first reason is to have a framework for converting your story or narrative into a commercial product which you sell and make money, because selling books is not your only revenue stream. Selling books is not even your primary revenue stream. Apart from book sales, many writers engage in several types of commercial activity which create multiple revenue streams for them.
For example, many authors offer authorial services to other storytellers, or work one-on-one with them to help them navigate the independent publishing process. Some use the information in their books to establish themselves as authorities in their fields of endeavour, to set up profitable online courses, or to embark on lucrative speaking engagements. Others create various products from their books, such as games, and benefit from the creation of feature films, docudramas and documentaries.
Another reason to set up a business is to have an imprint name when you upload your manuscripts to IngramSpark or the publisher of your choice, and when you purchase your International Standard Book Number (ISBN). A third reason is that is just makes good sense to do so if you will be creating revenue for yourself.
If your vision is to operate as a solo author entrepreneur, it might be a good idea to register your business as a sole proprietorship, which is a one-person business in which the business and its owner are treated as a single entity. It’s the simplest and least expensive structure to establish. If you live in the USA, the income you make from your book sales and related activities are reported on your own federal tax return, Form 1040, Schedule C. Tax rates for a sole proprietorship are the lowest of the business structures. It’s a good idea at this stage to do an online search to discover how to set up a sole proprietorship in your jurisdiction.
If you wish to operate your storytelling business under a name different from your own, file a trade name or a DBA (doing business as) name. Whatever name you choose, it should be an original name, and not one claimed by any other business.
If you wish to create a product from your book, such as a training course or a program that adds value to digital storytelling community, and you need to work with like-minded storytellers in partnerships or teams, it may make better sense to register your business as a partnership. If you wish to become a full time writer and earn a significant income from your craft, you might want to register as an LLC. If there’s an activist component to your book, that is, if you’ve espoused a cause, it might be wise to register as a non-profit. In Barbados, information for setting up a business with the structures identified above, as well as information about copyright and intellectual property can be found at the Corporate Affairs and Intellectual Property Office.
Important pre-writing activities include:
Setting Financial Goals: Estimating your start-up costs and creating a business model
Sourcing Funding: Raising capital for a publishing business through collective financial empowerment strategies such as isusu, collective investing or crowdfunding, or applying for a writing grant
Research: Researching your genre, researching your niche, and researching and creating an audience profile (demographics and psychographics)
This is also a good time to craft a competitive personal profile, and research what every storyteller needs to know about copyright.